Choosing the Right Chai
Chai is a tea blend filled with hearty, earthy spices, making it a perfect enhancement for chocolate chip cookies. What chai you use will affect the overall character of the cookie. If you use a something like Uplifting Coconut Chai, for instance, you’ll have a hint of lighter, tropical, coconut-y flavor that will make the cookie taste a little more refreshing. If you use the Rainy Day Pu’erh like I did, you’ll get a warmer, almost holiday essence to your cookie.
Most important to note is that you’ll be using quite a bit of tea for a full batch of cookies. Because we won’t be steeping the tea, you’ll need to grind a lot of it to get the flavors to come out. The good news here is if you have a chai you don’t adore as a drink, you can easily add the un-steeped and ground leaves to your cookie recipe and it’ll still taste great.
Upgrade to Chai Cookies
The best part about this recipe is that it’s really just an addition to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can make drop cookies (the round ones) or bar cookies in a large pan and both will work out great. I'm a simple person, so I just used the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips and amended it slightly.
Regardless of the recipe you use, there are two keys to getting the flavor just right.
First, add one tablespoon of finely ground tea for every cup of flour. You can grind up the tea using a mortar and pestle, a coffee/spice grinder, or a food processor. Just make sure it’s ground as finely as you can get it so it blends in well without large chunks. When you add it to the dry ingredients, you'll want to sift the tea to remove the larger chunks. You can do this with a sifter or even a metal mesh tea strainer. Feel free to grind the remnants and sift again.
Second, cut the amount of chocolate chips in half. Now, I know what you’re thinking: chocolate chips are the hallmark of this cookie. They’re in the name, for goodness' sake! Trust me on this one, the delicious flavor of the chocolate chips overpowers the subtle yet complex flavor of the chai. So cut those chocolate chips down and you’ll have a beautifully blended chocolate chip chai cookie. Press the “I believe button” on this one the first time around and if it still doesn't have enough chocolate chips, you can add more into your next batch.
You might be wondering about cooking time and consistency. We’re adding more dry ingredients, so do you need to add more wet ingredients or remove any of the other seasoning? For a smaller recipe with 2 cups of flour, no; just make it as directed. For a larger batch of 4 cups or more, you might want to remove a little bit of flour to compensate for the extra tea. However, I found that doing so didn't really make much of a difference.
If you have a cookie swap in your future, this is an easy and surefire way to wow your friends without getting too in the weeds with effort. Who knew tea could make such a culinary difference!
Chocolate Chip Chai Cookies
- 2 tablespoons finely ground chai tea
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Grind and sift tea until it is very fine. Discard remnants or steep them for a cuppa.
Combine ground tea, flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto un-greased baking sheets.
Bake for 9–11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Cookie Bar Variation:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan.
Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Makes 4 dozen bars.
Slice and Bake Cookie Variation:
Prepare dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.