Chai Sugar Cookies!

20131023-183401.jpg A couple of hours ago, my mom called me with some amazing work-related news that made my day. I wished I could have been in NY to give her a big hug and take her out to celebrate. I had so much energy bubbling inside of me that I decided to celebrate on my own. So, I baked cookies.

But not just any cookies : Chai Sugar Cookies My friends know that I am 100% addicted to chai tea and everything chai-flavored on this planet. If I could start each off with a "dirty chai" (ie: a chai latte with a couple shots of espresso), I would. Alas, spending $6 every morning doesn't seem like the right thing to do. And until I get my dream espresso machine, it looks like my daily dirty chai will not happen for a while. I have been obsessed with this spicy & sweet flavor since high school, and decided it was time to incorporate it in some baked goodness. It is a super easy recipe (quick too!) and perfect for the fall/winter season. Basically, it is the molasses-less aromatic little sister of the gingerbread cookie.

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Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup light brown sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper 1 stick unsalted butter (at room temp) 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons apple sauce 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Note: I did not have cardamom in my kitchen, and my local store was out of it. If you have some ground cardamom, go ahead and add a teaspoon!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Whisk in spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, pepper). Set aside. Soften the butter and mix together with brown sugar until fluffy. Add in the apple sauce, egg, and vanilla extract, mixing well until everything is evenly incorporated.

Fold the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture in 2-3 small batches, until the batter is smooth & even. Using a small spoon, scoop small amounts of batter onto a greased cookie sheet (parchment paper or a Silpat works great too!), leaving about 2 inches between scoops to account for the batter expanding.

Cookie sheet into oven! Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Take the cookies out of the oven and sprinkle each with a pinch of turbinado sugar. Back into the oven for 5 more minutes. The cookies should be a nice deep brown when they are done. Let cool for a minute or two, then transfer onto a cooling rack.

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The texture of this cookie is crispy on the outside, yet super chewy on the inside. It's perfect to enjoy with a little cup of tea. Not to mention, your whole home will smell delicious!

Miran