All the rich, fudgy flavor of a brownie, but with the convenience of an easy-to-handle cookie. And since we already were tinkering, we also added five-spice powder, a Chinese seasoning made from you guessed it a blend of five spices: fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns.
The result of that blend of which star anise tends to dominate is a peppery bite that works so well with the deep chocolate of the cookie.
CHINESE 5-SPICE BROWNIE COOKIES
Start to finish: 2 hours 45 minutes (45 minutes active); makes 4 dozen.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Two 10-ounce packages dark chocolate bits
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the butter and oil, heating until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until completely melted. If necessary, return the pan to low heat, stirring constantly, to ensure all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and five-spice powder until smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working in batches, scoop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared pans, leaving 2 inches between. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until puffed and crackly on top. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition per cookie: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 2 g protein; 40 mg sodium.
The classic combination of chocolate and macadamia nuts gets a holiday overhaul with the addition of cardamom, one of the most overlooked and underappreciated of the holiday spices.
In the second recipe, weve given the classic crumb bar a holiday-worthy makeover with the addition of ground cloves.
CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA COOKIES
Start to finish: 30 minutes; makes 40 cookies.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2ﬂ cups all-purpose flour
10-ounce package mini chocolate chips
2 cups chopped toasted macadamia nuts
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, oil, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.
Stir in the flour, then the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Scoop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges.
Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition per cookie: 190 calories; 110 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 2 g protein; 45 mg sodium.
APRICOT CLOVE CRUMB BARS
Start to finish: 45 minutes; makes 24 bars.
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cups packed brown sugar
teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
12-ounce jar apricot preserves
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, cloves and pecans. Stir in the melted butter until well moistened.
Spread two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down evenly. Spread the apricot preserves over the mixture, then crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the pan, then cut into 24 squares. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition per bar: 230 calories; 100 calories from fat (43 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 20 g sugar; 2 g protein; 75 mg sodium.