I’m not quite ready for summer to be over, we waited a good long time for warm days here in the Pacific Northwest. Even so, I can tell that autumn is just around the corner. The late summer flowers, the cone flowers and black eyed susans, are blooming and attracting butterflies, and the first apples have fallen from our trees. While I hope our late summer is filled with warm, sunny days, I find myself ready for some of the spicy flavors of autumn. Apple pie, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, chai lattes with whipped cream….yum…all are calling to me!
Since the closing of my shop, I’ve had more time to bake and have been enjoying playing around with some recipes. One of my family’s favorite cookies is the classic snickerdoodle with its crispy cinnamon sugar outside and tender inside. There is certainly nothing wrong with a basic snickerdoodle, but I decided I’d like to zip it up a little by adding more of the chai spices. It’s those chai lattes calling me! (Perhaps…. if I can manage with just one or two cookies and a regular cuppa, instead of a chai latte topped with whipped cream, maybe I can save a few calories, but still have all that satisfying flavor? Hmmmm….. one or two? We’ll see how that goes!)
If you do a search on Chai Snickerdoodles a number of recipes will come up, but I’ve increased the amount of the classic chai spices in this recipe and incorporated some of them right into the dough. This layering of spices both inside and out enriches the cookie’s flavor. I also added a bit of fresh ground black pepper, often found in chai blends. Pepper accentuates the other spices, while barely adding a perceptible flavor and heat of its own. Add more if you like pepper, or less if you don’t.
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (if using whole wheat, we recommend spring wheat or pastry flour)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and spices; remove 1/2 cup of this mixture and set aside in a small, shallow bowl. Add butter to bowl and cream with sugar and spice mixture until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, add vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between balls to allow for spreading. Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are firm to the touch, but not quite browned. Cool for a minute or two on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen hard to resist cookies.
(Tip: Chilling dough will make it easier to handle. Mix one day and bake the next, or shape into balls and freeze for later use. Baking from frozen just requires an extra minute or two.)
And now, I am off for a good long walk with Miss Millie, because I took my quality control work very seriously! :-)