Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food: Chai Spice Cutouts

I didn't get a chance to make cutout cookies for Christmas this year. Or rather, I didn't try to find time...I was a little lazy after hosting Thanksgiving and then being back on the road traveling to Salt Lake City for work. But several months have passed and I'm once again having cravings for something sweet. So it's about time again to start thinking about cookies.

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by an endcap in Target displaying heart shaped cookie cutters, pearl nonpareils, and pink and purple glittered sugar sprinkles. So, I decided I needed to make cutouts for Valentine's Day. Although I do enjoy my mom's traditional sugar cookie recipe, for a holiday about L-O-V-E, I thought these chai-spice cutouts seemed very appropriate. Why? They're warm, spicy, and buttery. (And for those of you who like to sample cookie-dough batter, this stuff is very, very good).

When decorating, feel free to experiment. I've discovered (until I find time to take a professional cookie decorating class) food coloring decorating pens (such as these) are a simple and easy way to decorate cutouts. Just simply ice the cookies with white icing and wait to dry...and then color away! If you have kids (or significant others) helping out, it makes the decorating process really easy and fun. Or, the cookies look pretty lovely just plain...I could see someone dipping half of a cookie in white or dark chocolate and leaving the rest untouched for a pretty presentation on a cookie plate. After all, the little spice bits of the chai shine through and make a rather pleasing picture on their own.

Chai Spice Cutout Cookies

  • 2, chai-spice tea bags
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 T molasses
  • Remove tea bag contents and discard bags. Combine with the cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and molasses.
  • Combine the spice mixture with the flour and add in small parts to the wet egg-sugar-butter mix. Add a little more flour if you feel the dough is still too sticky. (Adding in small amounts prevents spraying flour all over the kitchen)
  • Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until easy to handle.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and arrange on the cookie sheets.
  • Bake 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to cooling racks.
  • Decorate with basic powdered sugar icing (1.5 c powdered sugar, 1/2 t vanilla, 4 t milk...more milk as needed to reach desired consistency).

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