I’m obsessed with cookies. And chai spices – my very favorite spice mix. Let’s combine them together in a christmassy white snickerdoodle cookie sprinkled with white chocolate chips!
But first, what is it we call snickerdoodle? Have you heard of that before? Well, if you are American you certainly have, but for everyone else around the world, it’s not so obvious. So let’s say that a snickerdoodle is a type of cookie rolled in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon. It is characterized by a cracked surface and can be crisp or soft depending on the ingredients used – here they are soft.
Now you might wonder where the name snickerdoodle comes from. Well, it appears that the ethymology is quite unclear, and while some claim that the name would have German origins, others affirm that it is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning. In the end it doesn’t really matter, and I personally find the name super fun to pronounce. Don’t you? Let’s say it again: Snickerdoodle (oh yes, I love it)!
Basically you can make snickerdoodle using simple ingredients such as butter, flour, sugar, eggs, and baking soda. Often, as it is the case here, you will also find cream of tartar in the ingredients. I don’t know about you, but before I baked my own snickerdoodles, I had no idea about what cream of tatar was. This mystery ingredient (which is actually dry, not creamy despite what its name says) is actually an acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. To make it easier to understand, when grape juice is fermented inside barrels to become wine, a natural sediment gets left behind. This substance is purified and made into a white powder known as cream of tartar. Hence, cream of tartar is a totally natural.
So why is cream of tartar used in snickerdoodle cookies? It is indeed what separates a tangy, chewy snickerdoodle from an ordinary cinnamon-coated sugar cookie. The acid in cream of tartar gives snickerdoodles their distinctive tangy flavor, and the chew happens because cream of tartar prevents sugar in the cookie dough from crystilizing into crunchiness. Yes, this is all about baking chemistry today! When I think I didn’t like science much at school, they should have explained me taking example of baking, it’s so much more fun to me!
Going back to these snickerdoodle cookies, what makes them so special here is that I used some chai spice – actually it smells chai in the entire house right now, it’s like being in paradise for me. Chai spice are as I said earlier my favorite spice mix, that I enjoy most of the time in tea or chai latte (I am totally crazy about this drink). They also evoke Christmasin a way, as we often use spices such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom or ginger in our Christmas baking, and chai spice actually combine all of them.
I also used some white chocolate chips in my chai snickerdoodles as I figured it would add a little something – we can never get enough of chocolate, can we? However chocolate chips are totally optional and you could totally leave them off, your snickerdoodles will still taste amazing and be deliciously perfumed with chai spice. Just choose the option you prefer.
Last but not least, these snickerdoodle cookies would make a perfect Christmas sweet treat. Just enjoy them with your guests, or even better wrap them into a lovely tin box lined with parchment paper. They will make a perfect edible gift!
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons chai tea leaves, pulsed in food processor until finely ground
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the add the flour, chai tea, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cream of tartar, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Fold in the white chocolate chips and stir well.
- Using a cookie scoop or your hands, form approximately 18 equal-sized mounds of dough (2 heaping tablespoons each), roll into balls, and flatten about halfway.
- Place onto a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.*
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C), and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
- For the cinnamon-sugar coating: in a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and stir to combine.
- Dredge each ball of dough through cinnamon-sugar.
- Place dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart, and bake for about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool directly onto the baking sheet. The cookies will look slightly undercooked in the center but the baking process will continue while cooling.
- Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.