That’s all, folks: Sweet five-spice grilled goodness.

And lo, we come to the end! I’d rather hoped to end our amazing adventures in grilled cheese with…well…a bit more of a bang. I wanted to come out with a real showstopper, but as Winona Ryder said in “Welcome Back, Roxy Carmichael,” it’s good to want things.

Grilled sweet five-spice sandwich

The initial idea of this sandwich was, essentially, to grill a cinnamon roll: wrap a spicy, creamy filling in a nice yeasty bread and have at it. After talking to Biscuit about it, we decided that that was entirely too tame an approach. And so, the idea transmogrified: I would make a brown sugar and five-spice caramel and pair it with a wonderful, sweet, cream-cheese-frosting-esque concoction. Yes!

No.

As Biscuit put it, it would really be better to come up with a sandwich that would be more than just two spreadables mashed together. So the recipe changed again: brown-sugar-and-five-spice pecans would replace the caramel ribbon. Fine, yes, awesome! Until I burnt the nuts (I am still getting used to my new oven). Being a stoic and stubborn sort, I decided to use them anyway, figuring that the burnt sugar taste would be okay once it was drenched in more sugar! Right? Right.

Grilled sweet five spice sandwich

Well, mostly. Once they were drenched in a cream-cheese-brown-sugar-five-spice mixture, yeah, they were pretty good. Though clearly still burnt, but it added a nice depth to the flavor once you got past the initial shock of it all. I would not, however, recommend burning the nuts as a goal here. I WOULD , however, encourage you to take a liberal hand with the five-spice. Surprisingly, its flavor did not come through as strongly as I’d hoped; I ultimately remedied this by slathering the outside of the finished sandwich with a mixture of brown sugar and more five-spice–kind of a grown-up version of cinnamon toast.

Basically, I still love the idea of this sandwich; it needs some fine-tuning, but as soon as I am emotionally prepared to get my feet wet in the great grilled cheese sea once more, I pledge to whip it into shape. If you want to get a head start, please feel free–and share any tricks with me!

And that’s it, kids–the last post of Grilled Cheese Month! Thanks for sticking with us this long–we had a great time, and hope you did too. And now, we’re going to go eat about eighty-five pounds of greenery.

Grilled sweet five-spice sandwich

For the nuts:
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c canola oil
2 tbsp five-spice powder

For the rest of it:
4 oz cream cheese, room-temperature
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp five-spice powder
4 slices brioche or other yeasty bread
butter

  1. Prepare the nuts: Preheat your oven to 325; mix the nuts, oil, sugar, and spice and bake for 10-15 minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. DO NOT LET THE NUTS BURN. If at all possible.
  2. Prepare the filling: beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, brown sugar, and remaining five spice powder until you have a lovely, cheesy emulsion.
  3. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat; place two slices of bread (butter side down) in the skillet.
  4. Divide the cream cheese mixture and nuts evenly between the two slices. Place the remaining slices of bread butter-side up and press down with a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes (until the bread is toasty) and then carefully flip; cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Finish by sprinkling the outsides of the bread with brown sugar and a little 5-spice powder.
In cheese, cheese sandwich, sandwich

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