Thursday, February 22, 2024

Chinese 5 Spice Scones and a Book Review

These flaky and savory scones are flavored with toasted sesame seeds and Chinese 5 Spice Powder, fusing the cultures of England and China. 

Chinese 5 Spice Scones

I was inspired to meld these flavors while reading Babel, a mystical, alternate-reality novel with some speculative historical fiction......

My daughter, Amy, passed this read along to me when she finished it.  I'm not sure why she read it.  It's not her usual genre but I think she heard the artist on one of the podcasts to which she frequently listens.  

This is different from my usual genre too.  I did love the Harry Potter series and this did, kind of, remind me of those.  It is written as a historical fantasy in 1830's England.  Set on the grounds of Oxford where students are brought in from other countries to work on translations that are put onto silver bars causing them to be magical. 

These silver bars take England to the forefront of civilization, making them the richest country on earth, a status they intend to keep, by devastating other countries, specifically China, to have access to all of their silver.

Robin is brought to England from China by his father after his entire family succumbs to cholera.  Robin has been well-schooled in English so that he could be brought to Babel in Oxford to translate the silver bars.  Robin is joined by Ramy from Calcutta, Victoire from Haiti, and Letty, who is white and from a higher-class family.

Chinese 5 Spice Scones pin

When Robin first arrives, he is fed more food than he has ever had in his short life.  He is amazed that with all the food that he has provided to him, he misses the spices of his meager fare in Canton.  His favorite treat is the scones provided by the housekeeper while he lives and finishes his training in languages at his father's residence. 

Robin and the others, initially, cannot believe how very blessed they are to be able to attend Oxford and be given not only all the luxuries of living there but a hefty stipend as well.  That is, until, they start to realize the consequences of the work they provide.  

This realization results in them joining a revolutionary society that is attempting to stop British imperialism and capitalism from taking over the world. 

It is a long book and it is filled with footnotes of information the author wanted to share but did not want to incorporate into the storyline.  I found this disconcerting and finally gave up reading them at all.  It is amazing to me that you could write so much about the etymology of words and yet not be boring.  I can't say as I enjoyed this book but it did hold my interest and it did result in some very delicious scones.

I am sharing this review over at Foodies Read, stop by and see what the other Foodies are reading this month.

Breads, Scones, Asian Spices
English/Asian Fusion
Yield: 8 scones
Author: Wendy Klik
Chinese Five Spice Scones

Chinese Five Spice Scones

These flaky and savory scones are flavored with toasted sesame seeds and Chinese 5 Spice Powder, fusing the cultures of England and China.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 25 Min


  • 1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. Chinese Five Spice powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, cubed
  • 3/4 c.+ 1 T. light cream
  • 1 egg
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling, if desired


  1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, five spice powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until you have pea-sized pieces in a coarse mixture.
  3. Remove to a bowl and form a well in the center. Whisk together 3/4 c. of the cream with the egg. Pour into the well and add the toasted sesame seeds. Stir just until combined.
  4. Remove the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with a little flour and knead and shape into a circle about 3/4-1" thick. Use a pastry knife to cut into 8 wedges. Separate the wedges so they are not touching.
  5. Brush the scones with the remaining 1 T. of cream and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake in a preheated 375* oven for about 20 minutes, until browned and a skewer inserted removes cleanly.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

21.65 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.14 g

Carbs (grams)

32.41 g

Fiber (grams)

1.46 g

Net carbs

30.95 g

Sugar (grams)

6.52 g

Protein (grams)

5.45 g

Sodium (milligrams)

330.66 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

75.7 mg


  1. Just wanted to let you know I tried your Indian Spiced Chili and LOVED it. I blogged about it and many others are complimenting your recipe. Thanks again for sharing it. It was a big hit at our house.

    1. Thank you so much Lori for letting me know. I served up the Indian Spice Chili at our Egypt gathering this past weekend too.


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