20 Dec Vanilla Chai Spice Shortbread Stars
Hello from inside a cloud of icing sugar!
It’s been crazy over at my house lately and I almost always have cookie icing (or some other sugary substance) in my hair or on my clothes these days. I’ve been known to leave trails of flour from the kitchen to the pantry or living room and often, something even ends up on the dog if he’s hovering by my feet while ingredients are flying. It happens!
As stressful as the holidays can be, I always find that being in the kitchen calms me – it’s like my happy place. After an incredibly long day, you can usually find me there, baking something while listening to music and drinking a cup of tea (or a cocktail, depending on stressful it was).
This recipe is a slight modification of the lavender and earl grey shortbread favourites that were sold in my shop. I’ve been baking those two flavours for years and I love them, but it’s always fun to try something new! I was rifling through my tea cupboard last week, trying to find a tin of chai tea (a chai tea latte is my go-to hot drink during the holidays) when I realized that it might taste pretty delightful blended into a cookie (or a cake, for that matter). So, while sipping on my chai latte, I ground up the contents of 10 chai tea bags and started experimenting!
This a simple, easy-to-make cookie recipe, which is perfect at this time of year because everyone is so busy. Also, the cookies last for two weeks, so you can bake them ahead and keep them in an air-tight container, so they’re ready anytime you need them! They also make lovely little gifts when packaged up and tied with a pretty ribbon. Or, you can just keep them all for yourself!
Vanilla Chai Spice Shortbread Stars
Makes about 20-25 medium cookies
- 8-10 teaspoons chai tea leaves or about 8-10 tea bags (you can also use lavender instead, if you wish, for a new flavour variation)
- 2 cups/ 1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup icing/powdered sugar
- 4 cups all purpose flour (+ more for rolling out the dough)
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line multiple baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Using a clean electric coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the tea leaves into powder and set aside. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the ground tea and the vanilla and beat to combine, about 10 seconds. Add the icing sugar all at once and mix on medium speed until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix again until the icing sugar is completely combined with the butter mixture. Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to release any clinging butter and mix again on low speed until well blended.
Dust a clean countertop with a little flour. Gather the dough into a ball, place it on the floured countertop and roll out dough to desired thickness (I usually roll to about 1/4″). Cut out stars and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until cookies are fairly firm to the touch and barely golden around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
The cookies will keep for up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container.