Dispatches From Whitcomb Street

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five spice snickerdoodles

I like simple cookies—gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin, shortbread, kid’s cookies like those. Snickerdoodles are, like, the Platonic ideal of a cookie for me—simple flavors highlighted with just a little spice, interesting crisp-going-soft texture, good with tea or coffee, plain.

Even I get bored, though. So here are snickerdoodles made with five spice powder instead of cinnamon. They’re just interesting enough.

Five spice snickerdoodles

These are pretty fun. They look like innocent cinnamon-dusted sugar cookies, but their flavor is unexpected and surprising—the sweet, mellow warmth of Chinese five spice (mine has star anise, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and Sichuan pepper) paired with mild butter and sugar. The cookie portion is only lightly laced with spice; most of it goes into the sugar coating. They smell amazing as they bake.

Note: Old-fashioned snickerdoodles are leavened with cream of tartar and baking soda. Baking powder basically replicates this chemical combination (basic baking soda and acidic cream of tartar) but you can totally try using 2t of cream of tartar and 1t of baking soda if you’d like.


  • 1 cup of sweet butter
  • 1.5 cups of white sugar

together until light and fluffy. Beat in:

  • 2 large eggs

until incorporated. Whisk together:

  • 2.75 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice

and stir them slowly into the wet ingredients until just combined. 

Roll the dough into one inch balls, roll in equal parts sugar and five spice (3T of each should do it), combined, and put on lined or greased baking sheets at least two inches apart. Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes, until they are just lightly browned and puffy (they will flatten as they cool). 

  1. whitcombstreet posted this

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