Depending on the region or simply the preference of who is mixing up the five-spice powder, there are dozens of variations. Most common is some proportion of bajiao (star anise), cloves, cinnamon, pepper and ground fennel seeds or ginger. Once you get a feel for the spice and what flavors you like most, it's pretty darn simple to mix up your own.
While it's often used to season chicken, duck, and stir-fried vegetables we love the idea of amping up your favorite desserts with a pinch and a dash. More and more bakers and pastry chefs are using it in place of nutmeg because it still lends a nice warmth but with more complexity. So next time you're breaking out your favorite apple, pear, or chocolate recipe, get a little crazy. Break out the Chinese Five-Spice Powder. And if you need a little inspiration or a new recipe, we've got you covered.
Get the Recipe:
• Asian Five-Spice Chocolate Cake from Epicurious
• Chinese Five-Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic
• Chinese Five-Spice Almond Cookies from Whole Foods Market
• Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Five-Spice Peanut Brittle from Dessert First
(Image: Laura Letinsky for Bon Appetit)