Five American Recipe Hacks Using Chinese Five Spice

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Photography by Chia Chong

When I first dipped my finger into a small pot of Chinese Five Spice, my mind started spinning. The blend of star anise, fennel, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and clove is warm and sweet and just begging to be put in places that it never thought of going. Check out these five “American Hacks” using my new favorite spice.

Ice Cream Recipes, Ice Cream Hacks, Chinese Five Spice Recipes, Chinese New Year, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life
Chinese Five Spice Ice Cream
(vanilla ice cream with a hint of the orient)
makes 1 pint

What you need:
1 pint high quality vanilla ice cream
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
Ice cream cones (optional)
What to do:
Remove ice cream from container into a bowl and allow to soften slightly. Add Chinese five spice and stir JUST to combine (do not thoroughly mix in). Scoop back into container and freeze completely before scooping into ice cream cones (optional).
Quick bread recipes, Chocolate Bread, Chocolate Recipes, Chinese Five Spice Recipes, Chinese New Year Party Food, A food-inspired life, Libbie Summers
Chocolate Chinese Spice Bread
(Chinese five spiced chocolate quick bread, green tea frosting)
makes 1 loaf

What you need:
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1⁄2 cups packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup apple butter (can substitute apple sauce)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (can substitute extract)
1⁄4 cup milk
3 ounces chopped dark chocolate (your favorite brand)
Green Tea Frosting, recipe to follow
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with a strip of parchment paper the width of your pan and long enough to hang over both sides by a couple of inches if draped across the middle (this method gives you two handles to pull the finished bread out). Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, Chinese 5 spice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter and blend until just combined. Add the eggs, apple butter, vanilla paste, and milk. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing gently until combined. Fold in 1⁄2 cup of the chocolate pieces.

Divide the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1⁄2 cup dark chocolate pieces down the center of each loaf lengthwise and pat them down into the batter to just below the surface. Bake for 60-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out. To turn out, grab each side of the parchment paper and lift. Let cool completely. Spoon Green Tea Frosting over, slice and serve.
Green Tea Frosting
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon matcha powder
1 cup confectioners sugar

Stir together all ingredients.

Snack Mix Recipes, A food-inspired life, Libbie Summers, Bugles Snack Recipes, Chinese New Year Snacks
Five Spice Bugles
makes five cups

What you need:
5 cups plain Bugles Snacks®
¼ cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
What to do:
Preheat oven to 250ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Whisk Chinese five spice into butter. Spread Bugles onto baking sheet and pour butter mixture over. Toss with hands to coat. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for one hour. Cool and serve.

Cookie Recipes, Chinese Five Spice Recipes, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life,
Chinese Five Spicerdoodles
makes 40ish cookies

What you need:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (can substitute vanilla extract)
3 teaspoons ground Chinese five spiceWhat to do: 
Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add the butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Cream together. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the vanilla paste and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until just combined.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining sugar and Chinese five spice.  Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls and roll in the sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake until just set (about 8-10 minutes).

Donut recipes, Chinese New Year Recipes, Libbie Summers Recipes, Chinese New Year, Donuts,
Chinese Five Spice Donut Holes
(small and spicy donut poppers)
makes 100

What You Need:
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted, plus more for greasing
1 1⁄3 cups warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1⁄3 cup plus 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice, divided
What to do:
Grease a large mixing bowl with butter and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, stir together the milk, yeast, 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons melted butter with a spoon. Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes, until the yeast starts to foam.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and nutmeg.

Fit a dough hook on the standing mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice, and the flour mixture and beat for 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and tacky and pulls away from the side of the bowl. At this point, you can adjust the dough’s texture if needed. Add a little more milk if it is too dry, or a little more flour if it is too wet; the goal is for it to be smooth and tacky. Continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes more, until it becomes smooth and shiny. Transfer the dough to the prepared mixing bowl and turn over so both sides of the dough are buttered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Punch the dough down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄2 inch thick. Using a donut-hole cutter or a small (1-inch) ring mold, cut out circles of dough and transfer them to the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between the circles. Cover the tray with lightly greased plastic wrap. (At this point, you can refrigerate the donuts overnight then let them rise in the morning before baking.) Let the donuts rise for about 45 minutes, until they are puffed and nearly doubled.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 11⁄2 cups granulated sugar and remaining Chinese five spice and set aside. Pour the remaining 1 cup butter into a separate bowl.

Bake the donut holes for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bottoms of the donuts are just golden brown. The donuts should be pale on the top, and the insides just barely baked through. They will continue to bake after they are removed from the oven. Cool for 2 minutes, then dip them into the melted butter just to moisten and roll them in the Chinese five spice-sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately.


Spicy Winter Citrus Salad

Recipe and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Food Stylist’s assistant Candace Brower
Video from A Food-Inspired Life 

Zing and beauty. A salad that will make you smile even on the dreariest of Winter days. 

Spicy Winter Citrus Salad
serves 4

10 citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, blood oranges, clementine, lime)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like heat)
Kosher salt
1/3 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

Place your cutting board on a baking sheet with sides to capture all the juices as you remove the rinds of all the fruit with a sharp knife and cut each fruit crosswise into ¼-inch rounds. Remove any visible seeds. Arrange sliced fruit on a serving platter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved juices from the fruit, honey and pepper. Salt to taste. Pour mixture over the fruit. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.


NOTE: For a different look to this salad, why not try segmenting your citrus. Here’s a quick fun video to show you how!

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: When the food is so beautiful, you don’t have to do much. Floral fabric is from Fabrika Fine Fabrics. Citrus salad is on a vintage meat tray picked up at Habersham Antiques Market. Bowls with silver rim from the collection of Betty Anderson. Old enamelware serving spoon from an antique shop in Montana. Velvet ribbon tied through the spoon hole brought home from Paris.

Hawaiian Surf Party

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Photography by Teresa Earnest
1974 Custom Surf Board by Roger Brucker 

Proof that you don’t need a Hawaiian beach to have a Hawaiian beach party.
Party Ideas, Surf party, Hawaiian party, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life
Surf Party, Hawaii, Surf Board Table, Party Ideas, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life
Party Ideas, Party Decorations, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Hawaiian Party, Surf Board Table
Hawaiian Surf Party
(a fun party that doesn’t need a beach)

What you need: 
A buffet table (I used a vintage surfboard, but any surfboard or SUP board would work)
Bamboo plates and wicker chargers
Fresh flower leis for everyone, including a Vizsla with an attitude
Old Hawaiian shirts torn into napkins
At least one person in a Dashboard Hula Dancer Costume
Kona Brewing Company Beer
A macadamia nut inspired meal: Lime Broiled Fish and Macadamia Nut Pesto, Macadamia Nut Brittle, Chewy Macadamia Nut Brownies


Hummus Packing Heat

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

I love a hummus hack and this is my favorite! Spicy and tangy, yet still uber creamy. Make and take for lunch or make and dream about it all day.

Spicy Dips, Great Appetizers, Hummus Hacks, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life

What you need:
1 cup prepared hummus
2 tablespoon Pappy & Company Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
Kosher or flake sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
Garden vegetables, pita or crackers for dipping

What to do:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with vegetable, your favorite cracker or pita bread.

Hot Sticky Toffee Chicken Wings

By Libbie Summers
Photography: Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

If there were any food that was actually “finger lickin’ good” it would be these wings. If you can’t stand the heat, feel free to cut back on the hot sauce by one tablespoon…but don’t.
Wing Recipes, Great Appetizer Recipes, Snack Recipes, Hot Sauce Recipes, Libbie Summers, Pappa & Company Bourbon Barrel Aged Hot Sauce Recipes

Hot Sticky Toffee Chicken Wings
(sweet and spicy wings)
serves 6

What you need:
12 chicken wings (about 3 pounds)
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Pappy & Company Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce)
1/3 cup lime juice (about 4 medium limes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (for garnish)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  At the joint separating the drumette from the flat, cut each of the chicken wings in half. Cut the tip off each flat. Set the drumettes and flats aside and discard the tips.

In a large oven-safe pan (try a large ceramic braiser), combine the rest of the ingredients and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, just until the butter has melted and the sugar has begun to dissolve. Remove from the heat, add the chicken wings and toss to coat.  Arrange the chicken wings in a single layer on the bottom of the pan and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour. Increase the temperature to 450 F and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until the sauce is reduced and the drumettes and flats are thickly glazed. During baking, turn the wings a few times so they get a proper gooey coating. Garnish with sliced green onion and jalapeño slices. Serve warm with plenty of napkins!