Chinese Five-Spice Molasses Cookies

By Mieke

Hello! I’m back with a brand new updated website and a new recipe for five-spice molasses cookies.

There may be some issues still with some links in the website, but I’m working on that. I’m just happy my website looks like it’s not from the dark ages now. As you can see I’ve added a bunch of stuff to the menu to help you browse my recipes more easily. Of course note that what I think is appropriate for a particular season may be something you love to eat (ingredient availability permitting) in another season. And that a lot of vegetarian recipes may be made vegan with the use of more widely available vegan cheeses and butters.

Have a browse around, let me know if you notice anything wonky and please make use of that fancy heart-button I have now while you chew on these delicious five-spice molasses cookies from Jesse Szewczyk‘s amazing Cookies: The New Classics.

Cookies: The New Classics: A Baking Book - Szewczyk, Jesse

Cookies: The New Classics

I got this book a while ago, but with landing in France and life and everything else I did not get round to cooking from it before. I will concede I mainly got this because I am in love with the work of its photographer, Chelsea Kyle. It was quite intimidating to try and shoot something she did and make it good, but I think I got there in the end.

I was happy to see the recipes in Cookies: The New Classics appeal as much to me as Chelsea’s photography. I don’t have an extremely sweet tooth and if you are the same this is the perfect book for you. Obviously these five-spice molasses cookies are a give-away of the more exciting flavors available in this book. But some other exciting flavors include vanilla bean and sumac cookies, smokey muscovado sugar cookies, fudgy smokey paprika cookies and cacio e pepe slice and bikes. There’s also some more classic flavors like snickerdoodle shortbread, pineapple and rum macaroons and chewy coconut and lime cookies. So you can imagine I will be baking from this for a while.

Five-Spicy Molasses Cookies

I picked these five-spice molasses cookies because I fucking love five-spice. Comprised of some of my all time favorites, star anise, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds (with the addition of cloves and Chinese cinnamon), it just excited me every time. Which is how I ended up putting some in Abi Balingit’s MSG brownies in lieu of coffee a while back.

Though I did make them a bit smaller than Jesse (in the book they’re called giant five-spice molasses cookies) these were amazing. Not to sweet, as the kids will say. My partner and I were fighting for the last cookie in this batch. Once you get the ingredients together these cookies come together in no-time as well. Hope you enjoy.

Five-Spice Molasses Cookies

Dorothy Porker
Not to sweet five-spice molasses cookies from Jesse Szewczyk's Cookies: The New Classics.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Course Sweets
Cuisine American
Servings 12 large cookies


  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 Stand mixer with paddle attachment or large bowl and handmixer
  • 1 Oven
  • 2 Baking sheets
  • Parchment or non-stick baking mats
  • Shallow wide bowl


  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 T five-spice powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 12 T -170 gr unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/4 C - 250 gr light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 C molasses
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C - 100 gr cane sugar


  • In a medium bowl mix together 3 C all-purpose flour with 2 t baking soda, 1 T five-spice powder and 1/2 t salt.
  • In a bowl of a stand-mixer with the paddle attachment, combine 12 T - 170 gr of unsalted softened butter with 1 1/4 C - 250 gr of light brown sugar on medium speed, scraping down the sides and the bottom halfway through, until smooth and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn the mixer off and add 1 egg, 1/3 C molasses and 1 T of vanilla extract. Mix again at medium speed until very fluffy and lightened in color, this should take another 2-3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture from step 1. Keep going until a soft dough forms with no pockets of dry flour visible. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F - 175 °C and set 2 racks in the upper and lower middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place 1/2 C - 100 gr of cane sugar in a shallow wide bowl.
  • Using an ice-cream scoop (for not so-giant five-spice molasses cookies) or a 1/4 cup measure (for giant five-spice molasses cookies), portion out the dough and roll into large balls.
  • Roll the dough balls in the cane sugar and place at least 3" - 7.5 cm apart on your baking sheets (6 to 8 per sheet, depending on the size of your scoop).
  • Bake both sheets at the same time, swapping the top and bottom sheet midway through baking, until the tops of the cookies start to crack and puff slightly, 15-18 minutes. Leave to cool completely on the baking sheets before digging in.


  • If wrapped tightly in plastic, the dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for several days before baking. If the dough then has become too firm to scoop, leave it out at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before trying again.
  • The cookies will keep up to 1 week in an air-tight container at room temperature. 
Keyword cookies

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