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pretty pecan pinwheels!

As I continue with my baking kick, my mind turns to cost. What ingredients can I cut out and still have a great cookie? Butter? No way. Sugar? Not in a million. Flour? Fat chance. Eggs? Hmm….And that’s where we begin.

In nearly every traditional cookie recipe, eggs lend texture, flavor, rise, and even sheen. But what if you’re secure in the ability of butter, sugar, and flour to add texture, pecans and warm spices to add flavor, and the layers created by the careful combining of butter and flour to create rise? Then you’ve got yourself a great cookie recipe. These Chinese Five Spice Cookies are not only fun and easy to make, but also resourceful. Change the filling to cinnamon, sugar, and currants, or fig jam and chopped almonds-any way you make these, they’re flaky and delicious.

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Eggless Chinese Five Spice Cookies

Makes 25 cookies

Dough:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, in small cubes, chilled

3-4 tbsp cold water

1/8 tsp salt

Filling:

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tsp chinese five spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet or use a silpat to line one.

2. Mix the salt into the flour. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, quickly incorporate the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the butter is still cold. If butter begins to warm, place mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes and begin again. Add just enough cold water to make a rough dough that stays together. You should be able to see butter streaks in the dough. Wrap in plastic and set in the fridge for 10 minutes to relax the gluten you may have developed in mixing and to allow the butter to cool.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Unwrap dough, lightly flour a flat surface, and roll out dough to a rectangle (about 12” x 8”), making sure it’s 1/4” to no less than 1/8” thick.

5. Sprinkle filling on top of the dough to make a thin, even layer and roll lengthwise until you’ve created a log. Place in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.

6. Slice the log into 1/4” to 1/2” slices, depending on how big you’d like the cookies, using a sharp knife. Place cookies flat on the baking sheet and into the oven, for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on a rack and enjoy!

-M : )

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