Spicing up the Christmas cookie assortment


I’m in the middle of my baking test runs, the annual tradition of testing out new recipes to make for Christmas Eve. So far I’ve tried cherry shortbread dipped in chocolate, chocolate mocha sandwich cookies, chocolate gingerbread and chai spice cookies.

I came across the chai spice cookies on Better Homes and Gardens a month or two ago and bookmarked it as a holiday baking idea. I regularly enjoy Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai at work, but had never thought to use it in a cookie. I was on the hunt for a new spice cookie for the assortment this year and this looked like a promising option.

Whenever I test a recipe, I only make a half batch so, in case I don’t like it, I’m not stuck with a lot of it. I should have made a whole batch of these chai cookies. They were like shortbread with chai thrown in, topped with a drizzle of icing. But chai isn’t for everyone, so I took it to work to gauge the reaction to the cookies. My coworkers loved them.

Better Home and Gardens had this labeled as one of its newest recipes. They hit it out of the park. These will be making an appearance on my tray of Christmas cookies this year. I hope they’re as well-received by my family as they were at work.

2 spiced chai-flavored tea bags
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons molasses
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (see recipe below)

Remove tea bag contents (3 teaspoons); discard bags. In medium bowl combine tea, flour, and
pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can; stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with 4-inch gingerbread girl cutters.

Bake 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely. Decorate with Powdered Sugar Icing. Makes 18 to 20 cookies.

Powdered Sugar Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
3-4 teaspoons milk

In a small bowl stir together powdered sugar, vanilla or almond extract, and enough milk (3 to 4 teaspoons) to make icing drizzling consistency.

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