It can be hard to find a good cup of chai — the stuff you buy at the coffee shop on the corner just isn’t the real thing.
Not that I’m saying a chai latte can’t be sweet and good and satisfying on a cold day, but sometimes I want strong chai, spicy chai, chai that punches my sinuses with spice and burns the back of my throat a little!
Lucky for me, there’s a great Indian food place down the street that sells the kind of chai I love. Unlucky for me, it’s a little over $4 for a tiny cup… Oh, well — can’t win ’em all.
Anyways, these cute cookies are mildly spiced and crumbly, without being overly sweet. No sinus punching or throat burning going on here, I promise.
But a chai cookie addiction? I can’t promise you won’t develop that.
Turns out that there’s actually no one “true” recipe for chai. It’s kind of like how everyone has their own way of making chocolate chip cookies, only this applies to tea. Masala chai has a couple common ingredients: cinnamon, cardamom, clove, milk, water, etc., but the rest is however you’d like it.
This is why when searched online for a recipe for chai cookies or biscuits, I pretty much came up with nothing.
Instead, I just sipped on chai and studied a couple tea recipes that seemed like they’d be palate-pleasing before making my own spice mix.
The result: addictive little cookies that taste like chai!
*original recipe by Christine
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
Note: The key to this recipe is having all your spices very finely crushed or ground. It’s easy to buy most of these spices pre-ground, but you’ll probably have to crush your own fennel seed. First I used a mortar and pestle to crush the seed, then used a fine metal strainer to separate the larger chunks of fennel from the smaller ones, and used the smallest ground fennel for these cookies.
If you’re like me and you love chai, then feel free to double the amount of spice in this recipe — that’s what I’m going to do next time!
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg and extract.
Sift your flour, salt, and spices together. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.
Roll the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
After an hour preheat your oven to 350°F (or 175°C).
On a generously floured surface, roll out the chilled chai dough to half a centimeter thick — I think that’s about 1/4th of an inch. Use a cookie cutter to press shapes out of the dough. Re-roll the scraps as needed.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 10 ~ 12 minutes, or until the bottom edges of the cookies start to go brown.
I made tiny star-shaped chai cookies, packaged them in clear plastic baggies, and gave them out to friends. They made awesome little gifts!
Enjoy the ones that you don’t share with a mug of warm milk or herbal tea! Yum!
UPDATE: Legal drinking age? Need more chai?