Chinese Five Spice Gingerbread Cookies

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all! 2017 is coming to a close–I can barely believe it! I’m in the mood to bake spicy cookies and drown my stress in hot chocolate, how about you?

Needless to say, grad school life has kept me quite occupied this year. I actually got sick twice this semester (currently still recovering)–which is absolutely insane to me, because I hardly ever get sick. This semester seriously took a toll on me. I have another year left–my thesis looms ahead! Cue the tears and hot chocolate…and Chinese five spice gingerbread cookies.

gingerbread scene final-B

Chinese five spice, ngũ vị hương in Vietnamese, is one of my favorite things to reach for in the kitchen. It has a complex balance of flavors: sweet, savory, sour, and bitter. Around this time last year, I shared a savory recipe featuring it–Fusion Jackfruit Bao Bites. This year, I’m showing you how I decided to throw it into some cookies…it turned out to be a success at a vegan Christmas cookie swap I went to, so I decided to refine the recipe to share with you!

Finishing Process2

Chilling the dough before and after rolling keeps cookie shapes intact–but I also like the cute mistakes that occur when I forget to chill the second time, like this little dancing cutie!

As you’ve probably guessed, these are gingerbread cookies, with a Southeast Asian twist. They have quite an aromatic kick from the Chinese five spice, as well as the traditional ground ginger and cinnamon that goes in gingerbread. I also added some cayenne powder, which makes them slightly spicy–divine! I hope you love these as much as I do–please let me know what you think if you make them!

Chinese Five Spice Gingerbread Cookies
makes 2 dozen, give or take, depending on cookie cutter size

You can purchase Chinese five spice at any Asian supermarket, or you can DIY.
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1.5 hours
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T + 1 t Chinese five spice
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne (optional)
  • 6 T coconut oil, softened (not totally melted)
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2-3 T almond milk
  1. Sift and whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer), beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, flax egg, molasses, and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until smoothly incorporated. During this process, add 2-3 tablespoons of almond milk, as needed.
  4. Divide the dough in half.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, form each half of the dough into a disc, about 1 1/2 inches in height. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take one of the discs out of the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place the cookies 1” apart on a baking tray (wiped with coconut oil).
  7. Place the baking tray into the fridge for 5-10 minutes, for the dough to firm up again (optional: this helps keep the cookie shapes intact).
  8. Repeat the process for the second disc of dough.
  9. Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes. I baked mine for 7 because I like softer cookies.
  10. Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to wire cooling racks.
  11. Enjoy as is, or decorate them with some vegan royal icing! Or some Chai latte nice cream

final scene

Merry Christmas, to everyone celebrating! I hope you have a beautiful holiday season with your loved ones. I’m so excited to share more recipes with you in 2018!

5 thoughts on “Chinese Five Spice Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Vincelee Stevens says:

    Beautiful photos!

    “There is no such things as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” Arundhati Roy

    Vincelee Stevens | 214.642.3112


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