1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
a deep-frying thermometer; a pastry bag with a large star tip
Fill a large heavy pot with 2 inches of oil and bring to 350 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip. Line a plate with paper towels.
Meanwhile, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and five-spice powder on a large plate.
Combine the butter, salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball. Take off the heat and add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Spoon the batter into the prepared pastry bag.
Working in batches, pipe approximately 5-inch lengths of batter into the hot oil, cutting the ends free from the piping bag with a paring knife. (Do not overcrowd the pot.) Fry until deep golden brown all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the lined plate to drain very briefly, then transfer to the plate with the five-spice sugar and turn to coat. Serve immediately.