Belgian Spiced Wafers are enlivened by an unusual ingredient–Chinese five-spice powder–and trimmed in sparkling sugar.
Belgian Spiced Wafers
Makes about 48 wafers
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 11/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 11/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon meringue powder
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup coarse sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and five-spice powder.
- In a large bowl and using an electric mixer at high speed, beat the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
- Reduce speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and beat until just combined. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half with plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the first half of the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2¾-inch square cutter, cut as many squares as possible.
- Using a paring knife, cut each square in half, making 2 rectangles. Using a 1-inch star-shaped cutter, lightly press a star in the middle of each rectangle, being careful not to cut all the way through.
- Place the cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart, then freeze for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges begin to darken. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with the second half of the dough.
- In a small bowl, combine the water and meringue powder, and whisk until frothy. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Using a small pastry brush, lightly brush edges of cookies with mixture.
- Place the coarse sugar in a small, shallow dish, and gently press each cookie into sugar to coat sides. You may also paint the star impression with the icing, and coat with sugar, if desired.