1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of two mandarin oranges (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough
Muscavado sugar for sprinkling on the cookies
roughly 24 slices of candied mandarin oranges (see recipe below)
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, cream the butter for about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue creaming another 3-4 minutes. Mix in the egg yolk (reserve the white), five-spice, vanilla, and zest until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides as needed while mixing.
Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, mix the flour into the butter mixture. Scrape down the sides occasionally and mix just until the dough comes together and the flour is incorporated.
Press the dough into a disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
Dust the work surface with powdered sugar and lay the disk of dough on top. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top and rub some into the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough into circles.
Transfer all the cookies to the baking sheets and place them about an inch apart. Brush the surface of the cookies with a thin layer of egg white and place one candied orange in the middle of each cookie.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 18-20 minutes, until the edges start turning golden. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining sheets of cookies.
Eat immediately or store between wax paper in an airtight container.
For the candied oranges:
Slice 3 to 4 mandarian oranges about 1/8 in thick. Bring 3/4 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a boil. Add oranges and reduce to medium. Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring to ensure all the oranges are submerged. Take off heat and let stand 10 minutes in the hot liquid before removing to a wire rack over a rimmed cookie sheet to cool completely.