Slowly but surely, I’m replacing summer’s nightly bowl of ice cream with a big cup of chai.

The ice cream wasn’t so bad at first – all-natural with half the fat! – but then I started tinkering.

First, I added chocolate syrup. Then it was hot caramel. Then chocolate or caramel with a spoonful of nuts.

Then chocolate or caramel with an ounce or two of granola.

Then chocolate or caramel with an ounce of granola and a spoonful of almond butter.

Because deep-down, I’m a frustrated Cold Stone Creamery® worker. You know, the one with the dreadlocks.

Anyway, it’s not easy to get rid of a nightly ritual, so these Chai Butter Cookies are giving me something to dunk and nibble while I’m transitioning to just the tea. They’re light and crumbly, but you can dip them into your chai (or coffee or milk), and they’ll soak it in without falling apart.

I’m sure they’d be delicious with a little glaze, a drizzle of white chocolate or even sandwiched with a pumpkin-cream cheese filling … but I’m not trying to tinker. I need these to be a lesser evil, to gently guide my appetite from a nightly ice cream sundae to a cup of tea.

This could take a while.

Chai Butter Cookies

Adapted from Virginia Willis’ “Bon Appetit, Y’all”

Makes 48

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chai tea (contents of one tea bag)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening, preferably Crisco, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, chai, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat on low speed until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, and beat on low until well combined.
  3. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Beat until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or melon baller, take some of the dough, and shape it into 1-inch balls. (Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator.) Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and press with the tines of a fork to flatten. (If your dough starts getting sticky, dip the fork tines in a small dish of sugar before pressing.) Bake until pale golden, but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheet on a rack. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.