Saturday, December 22, 2007


Inspired by Alison's chewy chai meringue cookies (see my previous post), I set out to get more of that wonderful Chai spice flavor, this time in a sugar cookie. I took a basic sugar cookie recipe and added tea and Chai spices, along with dried cranberries, chopped crystallized ginger and toasted ground pecans. Some of them I rolled in a Chai spice/sugar mixture before baking, and others I glazed with a milky glaze. I am hooked on Chai, although I've never had a Chai Latte -- I don't frequent Starbucks, and I don't buy the powdery drink mixes, so I'm late to the party on Chai, but I'm catching up fast. These cookies are great and pretty easy to make. There's nothing fussy about them; they're not beauties to look at, but they're winners on taste. This recipe gave me 52 cookies.

Judy's Cranberry Ginger Chai Latte Cookies

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 black tea bag (I used Harris Teeter Traders Decaffeinated English
Breakfast tea)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's 10X sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned and swept
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted ground pecans

Sugar coating: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, pinch cloves

Milk Glaze: 2 Tbsp. butter, 2 Tbsp. condensed milk,1/2 cup 10X sugar,
2 Tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS: Combine 1/2 cup sugar and the contents of one black tea bag in a food processor or mini chopper and pulse till tea leaves are ground fine. In large bowl, combine butter, tea sugar and 10X sugar and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and spices. Beat until flour is dispersed, then add remaining ingredients and mix till dough forms a ball. (My dough did not form a ball; if yours does not, don't overbeat it because it won't make it form a ball. It'll be ok, just a little sticky.) Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 375 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge about 1/2 hour before you are ready, so dough has time to soften (exception: if you just put the dough in 1/2 hour ago, skip that part, and just remove the dough and start working on it.) You can shape the dough into 1" balls if desired. I just roughly formed the dough into discs. You can dip them in the spice-sugar mixture before baking if you want, or you can just bake them as is, it's up to you; they're good both ways. Place the dough 2" apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 7-11 minutes, or till toothpick inserted in centers return clean. (The amount of baking time really depends on a lot of things: how your oven runs; what kind of baking sheet you're using; how many cookies you have on a sheet.) These cookies don't brown, so watch them and test them for doneness. I had 18 cookies to an 11 x 17 sheet, and they took about 11 minutes. They're very tender and delicate with a wonderful flavor from the tea and spices.

If you want to take them over the top, glaze them: Combine butter, milk and cream in small microwaveable bowl and heat on high till butter melts, about 45 seconds. Stir in 10X sugar until smooth. If necessary, microwave again till mixture is thin enough to drizzle. With a spoon, drizzle over warm cookies.

Below, you can see I didn't fuss with the shapes -- these were just rough discs. It's all about the flavor with these cookies. I really hope you'll try them. And please leave me a comment if you do. I love hearing from you.

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