Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Almond 5 Spice Snickerdoodles

There's something about fall and spices that just fits together right.  Spices are like a warming blanket, making your food soul-soothing and deliciously multi-faceted.  Whenever the temps outside start to drop, I start subconsciously moving towards foods with spice.  And it's not just me.  Think about what starts selling in fall: pumpkin SPICE, SPICED apple cider...we're just craving that warm feeling!

One spice blend that I adore is a good Chinese 5 Spice.  You can get it pre-mixed, or find several recipes for making your own throughout the internet.  I suggest getting it from a good quality spice company, for the most complex flavor.  Chinese 5 Spice is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, and fennel. It's typically used in savory dishes, but I have found that I'm addicted to it in sweets. 5 Spice caramels?  Fageddaboutit.  Simply amazing.

So, once again, my culinary brain gets a bit twisted.  The kids and I made snickerdoodles the other week, and as we were rolling them in cinnamon and sugar, that inner kitchen alchemist in me whispered, "Chinese 5 Spice..."

And that was it.  Well, not quite.  I decided to play around a little more and add almonds into the equation, reminiscent of those bright gold cookies that you get with your take-out Chinese food, but a million times better, because SPICES!

This recipe is quick, easy, and makes about 4 dozen cookies.  Probably more than that, but I kept eating dough.  Yes, I know it's not good for me.  No, I'm not really concerned.  Yes, I'm not the best role model.  Be better than me.

Grab 2 sticks (1 cup) or butter out and let them soften.

Preheat the over to 400 and get a couple of cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the softened butter with a cup and a half of sugar and 2 eggs, until they are fully combined.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, mix together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup almond meal, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice powder.

Mix the dry into the wet until you have a smooth dough.

In a small bowl or dish, mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice powder.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll each ball in the sugar/spice mixture, and place it on the parchment-covered baking sheet.  Space them out far apart; thanks to all that butter, they will spread!  I think 8 cookies to a sheet is the max I would venture to try.

Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown.

Let cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes before sliding them off with a spatula to another surface to cool.

Enjoy warm from the oven, or keep in a container for as long as they last once everyone discovers how delicious they are.  Or a couple of weeks, whichever comes first.

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