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Chai-Spiced Vanilla Shortbread Cookies are laced with vanilla bean and richly spiced, the perfect fall afternoon treat with a steaming cup of tea!
One of my favorite memories of fall while I was growing up in Western New York is driving out to the country for a trip to a pumpkin patch. We’d walk around the patch looking for what we thought was the best pumpkin; basically, the biggest one we could find that was perfectly Jack-O-Lantern-shaped. After that, we’d head home and continue the festivities with hot tea and cookies and pumpkin carving.
During festive activities fresh-baked cookies were a fall must-have for us, especially ones with warm spices like Molasses Crinkles, Snickerdoodles, and Cinnamon and Nutmeg Oatmeal Raisin. There’s just something about sweetly spiced cookies baking that smells like autumn.
I’ve been making shortbread cookies for years now, usually during fall and the holidays, because they just feel festive to me. They’re one of my favorite cookies to play with in terms of switching up the flavor profile (check out my Slice and Bake Butter Toffee Shortbread Cookies!).
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For this batch of shortbread, I took inspiration from the flavors going on in chai. Cardamom is the primary spice because I find it to be integral in getting the perfect chai flavor. For this recipe I like to keep the grind a little bit more coarse than normal because I like the bold flavor it gives the cookies, and bonus, it looks pretty too.
The dough should be crumbly, but hold together when you squeeze it, very similar to pastry crust.
I can’t think of anything better to pair with cookies than tea; I love serving these up with steaming mugs of Bigelow Vanilla Chai Black Tea. Not only is the flavor lovely, but it comes from a company that has three generations of family behind it. They care about the quality of tea and ingredients, as well as the freshness. They make it easy to tea proudly! (Check out Bigelow on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)
What’s your favorite fall memory?
- 1 cup (8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
- 285 g/10.05 oz (about 2¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper.
- Roll the dough into a log about 16-inches long, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled (about 2 hours in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer).
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
- Slice the dough into slices about ½-inch thick and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are sandy colored along the outside but not browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cool completely on the trays before removing.
Decorating Idea: Once the cookies are cooled, drizzle on a little melted white chocolate, and before the chocolate sets, sprinkle on a little finely chopped pecans. Let the chocolate set before serving.