I don’t know how many people there are out there that describe the perfect day as overcast, scattered rain showers, a cool breeze that demands a light jacket and the odd threatening black cloud swooping overhead making you wonder if a storm is about to come, only to drift away, on to somewhere else to unleash it’s fury. I mean, I’m fairly certain there’s at least a few thousand of us, but most of the time when I express my hatred of summer and irrevocable love of fall and stormy winter days, I get looked at like I’m completely out of my mind.
To be frank, though, if you’re going to live in Southern Ontario, I feel like a prerequisite should be that you love moody, gloomy, bitterly cold and windy weather because that is basically half of our weather. Yes, we get glorious, beautiful, bright and sunny winter days which are just perfect for getting your very real need for the sunshine vitamin while also requiring a Canada Goose coat, but we also have many, many dreary days and our winter can often seem like it lasts 8 months. Fall lasts approximately one month before it gets winter cold and the spring usually continues to feel like winter until all of a sudden it’s summer again.
Yes, I think the people who are horrified at my unwavering love of our weather should really look at their own lives and perhaps consider moving somewhere where there’s more warm and sunny days than overcast and cold. They’re in the wrong place and, apart from my never ending desire to live in England where the sun shines even less and where most of my family live, I am in the right place.
I am in the place where fires crackle, light up our living rooms and warm our homes. Where you wrap yourself in warm, cozy blankets and fuzzy slippers while you drink your wine and watch movies because it’s too cold to want to go out at night. Where mugs of hot chocolate and warmly spiced cookies are a regular and hot casseroles of bubbly cheese and pasta are for dinner.
Yes, I am in the right place.
These cookies are a personal favorite when the weather turns. While I basically never drink chai tea because I’m really just not a fan of tea in general, I simply adore chai spices in baked goods. These vanilla chai cookies were one of my first experiences baking with chai and they are the reason I fell in love with those spices. Paired with vanilla, both brown and white sugar and ample amounts of butter, chai spices become the most wonderful of flavors. They are the very definition of fall.
They do, sadly, require a chilling time of at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour, but no more. Sometimes if they seem to need longer than the 30 minutes, I will rolls them in to balls, pop them in an air tight container and then place them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes which usually does the trick. I rarely have space in my tiny freezer for that, though. If you have the space and are short on patience, I recommend it.
Before you bake them, you roll the balls in a cinnamon + cardamom +sugar blend, flatten them slightly and that’s it. They have a baking time of about 12 minutes where they’ll appear underdone but the edges will be set. Leave them to cool completely on the baking sheet and they’ll continue to set up. This gives them a longer life on your counter, leaving you with soft cookies for up to 7 days.
Seven days of deeply spiced vanilla chai cookies to enjoy with a hot mug of coffee, hot chocolate or heck, a milky mug of chai tea. Yeah, I’ll take the colder, darker months over the hot ones any day.
- ¾ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup + ¼ cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1½ tsp cinnamon + ⅛ tsp
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom + ⅛ tsp
- ½ tsp ground cloves*
- 6 cranks fresh black pepper
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, ½ cup cane sugar and all of the spices (except the ⅛ tsp cinnamon and ⅛ tsp cardamom).
- All egg and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda and add to the mixer with the motor running on medium-low.
- Mix until just combined then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for minimum 30 minutes, preferably one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Roll cookies in to 24 balls.
- In a shallow dish, combine remaining ¼ cup sugar, ⅛ tsp cinnamon and cardamom.
- Roll each cookie in sugar mixture then place on parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheets.
- Flatten balls slightly then bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set. The center will appear underdone. If baking both cookie sheets at once, be sure to rotate pans once in the middle of the baking time to ensure even cooking.
- Allow cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheets then place in an airtight container for up to 7 days.