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.