Another thing i do with them is make 5 Spice powder. Lots of the over the counter brands like McCormick have no sichuan peppercorns and way too much cinnamon. Nearly all of them use the wrong kind of cinnamon and thats why its too strong. Its simple enough to make from scratch.
The wrong kind of cinnamon?
In my experience, Cassia and Ceylon varieties are a simmilar strength but have different flavour properties. Typically, the Ceylon variety is considered the proper stuff but the Cassia is cheaper and so usually used in its place.
Cassia is the chinese variety, however. I would be very surprised if it was the wrong kind for chinese cooking or if Ceylon were being used in its place.
Mine smell "lemony" and have a serious numbing effect to them. The ones i get at the Asian market are sorta cheap. IIRC the package says Prickly Ash.
I keep hearing tell of a "citrusy" taste to them but all I get is floral and metallic, with slight earthy tones hiding beneath.