All the rich, fudgy flavor of a brownie, but with the convenience of an easy-to-handle cookie. And since we already were tinkering, we also added five-spice powder, a Chinese seasoning made from -- you guessed it -- a blend of five spices: fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns.
The result of that blend -- of which star anise tends to dominate -- is a peppery bite that works so well with the deep chocolate of the cookie.
CHINESE 5-SPICE BROWNIE COOKIES
Start to finish: 2 hours 45 minutes (45 minutes active)
Makes 4 dozen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Two 10-ounce packages dark chocolate bits
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the butter and oil, heating until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until completely melted. If necessary, return the pan to low heat, stirring constantly, to ensure all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and five-spice powder until smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working in batches, scoop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared pans, leaving 2 inches between. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until puffed and crackly on top. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Nutrition information per cookie: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat (57 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 2 g protein; 40 mg sodium.