If there’s one thing you can be sure my kitchen is stocked with at any given moment, it’s chai tea. I started drinking chai in high school, when those boxes of Oregon Chai concentrate were all the rage…just fill a mug half full of tea, half of milk, heat it, and you’ve got comfort in a glass. I’d drink a mugful every morning before catching the early bus to school. Today I prefer using tea bags, because I can control how much sweetener I add to the latte, or if I want to add any milk or honey at all. It’s good just about any way it comes, in my opinion. The spices are guaranteed to give a small burst of inner warmth, and the milky and creamy bump the comfort level up about ten notches. Lately I’ve been soaking tea bags in a large container of hot water, stirring in some milk and honey, letting the whole thing cool off, and storing it in the fridge. That way I have perfectly balanced chai on hand whenever I want it, and however I want it–hot in the morning or iced on a warm day. The next step will be skipping the tea bags and using whole spices.
But chai does not stop at cookies. Oh no, friends. There are chai-flavored granola bars. There’s chai ice cream. I even came across a recipe for chai flavored pancake syrup. Who would have thought such a foreign combination of spices would ever make it big time in America?
When considering what dessert to bake for a friend who hosted me in Minneapolis last weekend, I remembered our mutual love of chai, and decided to pursue a cookie with this spicy twist. Fresh out of the oven, dipped in a glass of milk–you could have convinced my I was drinking a chai latte. If you’re not as obsessed with chai as I am, you’ll still love these cookies. The evidence lies in the stack I left out in my apartment kitchen that went from 7 high to gone in about two hours.
Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies
adapted from My Baking Addiction
Makes about three dozen
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture, set aside to reserve for rolling the cookies. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, combine until fully incorporated. Slowly blend in dry ingredients mixing until just combined. Using a small scoop, roll dough into balls and then into the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.