Chai Spice Cookies

I love tea. I love cookies. What better way to enjoy them than to eat cookies with tea in them!

These Chai Spice cookies have become one of my favorite Christmas cookies. They have a gentle spiciness from Chai tea and pumpkin pie spice and a flavor that even the men in my family (who wouldn't go near a cup of Chai tea) love. I've been making these cookies for 3 or 4 years, and I've made some slight adjustments to suit our taste. This is a wonderful dough that freezes well if you want to have some dough on hand to make quick cookies when guests drop by.

The original recipe is for cut-out cookies, specifically girl cookie cutters (it sounds wrong to call it a gingerbread girl cutter when it's not for gingerbread). I hate using cookie cutters. I found better success using cookie cutters with these cookies than others (like sugar cookies, my nemesis), but it's probably because these are a shortbread cookie and the dough is a bit stiff. Despite the success with this dough, I still don't like the extra flour and the rolling pin. Besides, re-rolling the dough scraps makes for tough, dry or crumbly cookies, and i don't want any of this dough to go to waste. This year I made a batch of spiced sugar cookies (ho-hum - should have just made these) for a cookie swap and was reminded of my disdain for cut-out cookies; when it came time to make these beauties I treated them like slice-and-bake cookies and was thrilled with the ease and the results.

Chai Spice Cookies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens December 2008)

2 Chai spice tea bags
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 TBS molasses*

Empty contents of tea bags into medium bowl. Add flour and spices. Mix and set aside.

Beat butter with electric mixer on medium-high speed for 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 then stir in the remainder (my Kitchenaid had no problem with all the flour).

Divide dough in half. If too sticky to work with, chill in refrigerator until it can be handled. Roll each half into a log (circle or square, triangle if you really want). Wrap logs in waxed paper (or cover halved dough if using cookie cutters.) and refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to bake.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or coat with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap dough logs and slice 1/8" - 1/4" thick. (If making cut-out cookies, roll to 1/4" thickness and cut.)  Bake 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

*I use sorghum syrup instead of molasses for several reasons, mainly because it's already in my pantry.


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