Dear Santa, Do You Like Chai?
The big decision is right around the corner…which cookies to leave out for Santa?! Being that I drink tea every day, I’ve been pondering ways that I can incorporate tea into my cooking and baking. I was sifting through holiday recipes drinking Argo’s Masala Chai and an idea struck…Chai Sugar Cookies!
I started with a couple family recipes, pulled elements from each and then incorporated chai into both the cookies and the icing. I used a food processor to grind loose leaf Masala Chai (I removed bigger/tougher pieces first) to the consistency of fresh ground pepper and then added the tea with other dry ingredients. Then I steeped the loose leaf tea in warm milk for the icing. The tea and spices add a subtle warmth to the flavor of the cookie and the icing tastes like a concentrated version of a yummy chai latte.
The end result?…an unexpected treat for the big guy that might even get you an extra surprise in your stocking! How do you use tea in cooking or baking? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Masala Chai Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground loose leaf chai
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- In a large bowl, wisk together the flour, chai, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; set aside.
- Using a mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or your cookies will be tough.
- Divide the dough into quarters, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one segment of dough at a time, roll the dough on a floured working surface to ¼ inch thick. Using lightly floured cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. (Note: you can sprinkle with sugar before baking or decorate with icing once cooled…or enjoy the cookies plain)
- Bake 8-10 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Watch closely!
- Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon loose leaf chai
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- Warm the milk until steamy, but not bubbling. Steep the tea in the milk for 5-6 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the cooled chai milk to the confectioners sugar and stir thouroughly. If icing is not at the desired consistency, add an additional ½ teaspoon milk and stir again. It is very easy to make icing too thin, so start with a little milk and add more to your liking.
- Frost cookies using a knife or pastry brush. Top with decorative sugar if desired.
- Use remaining milk to make a chai latte to enjoy with your cookies!