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Cooking Asian-style often means stocking your pantry with jars of brown and yellow powders. Sometimes these pre-made blends are useful, but often they don’t have much flavor — perhaps because the spices were ground years ago and taste dusty. Yes, you can toast and grind your own blend, but Kitchen Conservatory now sells a wonderful spice blend that is perfect for Asian cooking: Five-Spice Blend.

Five-Spice powder is usually a combination of more than five spices; the number five is symbolic of earth, wood, fire, metal, and water. The five-spice powders on the market are mostly cinnamon and without much other taste. Our new five-spice powder packs a delicious punch because it uses plenty of exciting Szechuan berries and licorice-tasting star anise. All of the six spices in this Five-Spice (Szechuan berries, fennel seed, cassia, cloves, star anise, and black peppercorns) are individually toasted before grinding. When Szechuan berries are toasted, they develop a memorable snap-crackle-pop taste on your tongue.

Open up a jar of the new Saint Louis Herb Society Five-Spice Blend; it will knock your socks off!

Five-Spice Blend can be used in a variety of dishes, such as Chinese stir-fries, meat rubs, and crab rangoon. I suggest using the spice blend in lieu of cinnamon in pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies, or spice cake. Fortune cookies are just a crispy tuile and are delicious even without a fortune. Yes, you can fold these cookies with a slip of paper inside!

Five-Spice Fortune Cookies

Mix together the flour, spice, and sugar. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. On a sheet pan lined with a nonstick liner, place 2 teaspoons of batter and spread in a circle. Place about 4-6 cookies on the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes. Fold each cookie into the fortune cookie shape. If the cookies cool too much, place back in the oven for 30 seconds.