Chai Butter Cookies

Cookie, Desserts, Southern / Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


Slowly but surely, I’m replacing summer’s nightly bowl of ice cream with a big cup of chai.

The ice cream wasn’t so bad at first – all-natural with half the fat! – but then I started tinkering.

First, I added chocolate syrup. Then it was hot caramel. Then chocolate or caramel with a spoonful of nuts.

Then chocolate or caramel with an ounce or two of granola.

Then chocolate or caramel with an ounce of granola and a spoonful of almond butter.

Because deep-down, I’m a frustrated Cold Stone Creamery® worker. You know, the one with the dreadlocks.

Anyway, it’s not easy to get rid of a nightly ritual, so these Chai Butter Cookies are giving me something to dunk and nibble while I’m transitioning to just the tea. They’re light and crumbly, but you can dip them into your chai (or coffee or milk), and they’ll soak it in without falling apart.

I’m sure they’d be delicious with a little glaze, a drizzle of white chocolate or even sandwiched with a pumpkin-cream cheese filling … but I’m not trying to tinker. I need these to be a lesser evil, to gently guide my appetite from a nightly ice cream sundae to a cup of tea.

This could take a while.

Chai Butter Cookies

Adapted from Virginia Willis’ “Bon Appetit, Y’all”

Makes 48

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chai tea (contents of one tea bag)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening, preferably Crisco, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, chai, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat on low speed until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, and beat on low until well combined.
  3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or melon baller, take some of the dough, and shape it into 1-inch balls. (Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator.) Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and press with the tines of a fork to flatten. (If your dough starts getting sticky, dip the fork tines in a small dish of sugar before pressing.) Bake until pale golden, but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheet on a rack. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

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54 thoughts on “Chai Butter Cookies

  1. Okay, a confession. I have never tried Chai. I love the Bengal Spice tea by Celestial Seasonings and wondering if similar. I guess I better go buy some, so I can make your wonderful cookies!!

  2. Just to clarify, we're putting the actual teabag's contents into the cookies? Does that give them a gritty texture at all? They sure do sound tempting.

    1. Yes, we're adding the actual teabag's contents. There's so little of it that the texture isn't a problem. It's swaddled in a sea of butter and flour. ;)

  3. I'm a fan of chai and bengal spice tea. I looked at the ingredient list of the chai and the bengal spice in my pantry and they are very similar. The main difference is that bengal spice is herbal so it doesn't have any actual tea leaves. I say go for it!!!!

  4. I do love ANYTHING chai. These look fantastic! I will look forward to making them, minus the shortening. Can't stand the stuff. Maybe I will sub low fat sour cream for that? I'll let you know how they turn out.

    1. You could also go all-butter. I'm sure the shortening is in there to keep them light – the same trick you might use with buttermilk biscuits.

    1. Thanks! It was bad timing for me to try to start Couch to 5K right in the middle of making wedding cakes, so I'm going to start Week One this week. Are you still hanging in?

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bonita and GOOD FOOD Billy. GOOD FOOD Billy said: Chai Butter Cookies: I do love ANYTHING chai. These look fantastic! I will look forward to making them, minus t.. […]

  6. I just got out the beautiful chai too. I made some chai cake last week, and suddenly I see it everywhere! My French teacher once told us that when we learnt a new word, we would be sure to hear it again, by chance, over the next half-a-week. Does chai really have that same mystical quality too?

    Anyhow, these look great. It's a shame about the icecream going away, but it doesn't sound like a bad alternative!

    Rosie of BooksAndBakes

    1. I've heard the same thing about words. And I guess chai is quickly becoming a New Classic as far as fall flavors go. It's such an easy conduit for added flavor. And "chai cake" sounds sexier than "spice cake."

  7. From ice cream to tea- that's a huge adjustment! I do love chai and these look delicious as is. But, of course, I would hardly object to a little chocolate drizzle or glaze to mix it up. Looks like a great recipe.

  8. Look like a perfect transition method to me! Especially since the weather is getting cooler and cookies become more appealing than ice cream. :)

  9. do you think the cream of tartar is necessary? any substitute suggestions if I don't have any?

    Thanks! These look great :D

      1. Yes. Cream of tartar is used as the acidic ingredient needed to activate the baking soda. Most baking powder is itself a mix of baking soda and potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar).

  10. Wow. I have made my autumnal tea transition, but now I regret doing it without these cookies. I must have them. Will be making them next week after my shopping trip tomorrow to pick up some chai.

  11. dangit Rebecca, you're killing me. I love all things chai and a cup of tea is my panacea…
    I must make these cookies immediately. I have a new coconut chai tea that is scrumptious, so I'll give it a shot.

  12. […] like to have a nibble with your afternoon coffee or tea. Ezra Pound Cake specifically baked these Chai Butter Cookies to pair with a chai latte. The buttery shortbread-like cookies are tender, but won’t dissolve […]

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