Chai Wafers

As I peruse my list of ‘must-make’ holiday cookies, I felt that there was a certain variety of flavor missing. Peanut butter is covered by my all-time favorite, PB Kiss cookies. Shortbreads and sugar cookies provide plenty of buttery goodness. And chocolate flavors abound.

ChaiWafers1.jpg

But something was missing. I want something different to include in the cookie tins I send to friends and family. Something with a sweet and spicy flavor that would appeal to all.

While I brainstormed, I made myself a pot of my favorite chai tea. And that’s when it struck me: chai cookies. Of course!

These cookies are thin and crispy and caramelized, to the point where they are more like candy than cookies. Best of all, they are packed full of delicious chai flavor. I strongly suggest you add them to your holiday cookie line-up.

ChaiWafers4.jpg

Chai Wafers

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 T whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2/3 c blanched sliced almonds
  • 1/3 c pecans
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. In a blender or food processor, pulse the almonds into a coarse powder.
  2. Beat the oil and sugars together until well-mixed. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until everything is blended together.
  3. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing the cookies 3" apart. Yes, 3 inches. These cookies SPREAD.
  4. Savvy Tip: You MUST use parchment paper (or aluminum foil will work in a pinch), or the cookies will not come off the pan in one piece.
  5. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are browned and the centers are barely tacky. Immediately transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove the paper to cool the cookies directly on the rack. Repeat with remaining dough.

Make Ahead and Storage

http://www.savvyeat.com/chai-wafers/

Matcha White Chocolate Shortbread

I was on a bit of a cookie-baking kick yesterday. Since the oven was already on and I had to wait for the sugar cookies to cool before decorating, I decided to make up a batch of matcha green tea shortbread using the matcha I received from Mighty Leaf.

Shortbread4.jpg

The classic buttery shortbread flavor gets a twist from the earthy taste of the tea. If you aren’t a fan of matcha, you may want to decrease the amount of tea to 2 T instead of 3. But definitely leave at least some of it in if you have it, because it adds a depth of flavor when combined with the white chocolate.

Shortbread2.jpg

Matcha White Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread2.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons matcha green tea
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cups white chocolate chips or chunks for decorating

Instructions

  1. Beat the sugar into the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and mix until it is all worked into the dough.
  2. Beat in the vanilla, salt and green tea just until there are no more green streaks in the dough. Put the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and roll out to about 1/4" thick. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Savvy Tip: The matcha will give the cookies a green color, but if you'd like a more vibrant green, mix in some food coloring when you add the vanilla.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Peel back the top sheet of waxed paper, and cut your shortbread into shapes. You can use cookie cutters for this, or simply slice the dough into rectangles. Since I was experimenting with recipes for my holiday baking, I chose to use an evergreen tree cookie cutter. Space the cookies 1" apart on greased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake the cookies at 350F for 12-15 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. Allow to cool for about 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
  7. Savvy Tip: Allow the cookies to cool completely before moving on to the decorating step. Otherwise, the chocolate will get runny and smeary on the cookies.
  8. When your cookies are completely cool, pour the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Heat the chocolate in the microwave on high in 15 second increments until mostly melted. Stir until it is completely melted.
  9. Savvy Tip: Yes, you could melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove top. However, I chose to use the microwave for convenience and speed. Either will work!
  10. Use a spatula to spread about 1 1/2-2 tsp of white chocolate on the top half of your tree (or other cookie shape). Using a knife or toothpick, draw waves and swirls in the chocolate to give it some texture. Set aside to cool, and repeat with the remaining cookies.
  11. Savvy Tip: If the chocolate starts to get hard before you are done decorating, stick the bowl back in the microwave on high for 8-10 seconds.

Make Ahead and Storage

http://www.savvyeat.com/matcha-white-chocolate-shortbread/

Shortbread5.jpg

What is your favorite holiday cookie?

While I love this recipe, the maple sugar cookies definitely win out over these shortbread. But my all-time favorite? Peanut butter blossoms!