The minute the weather turns hot, my mood in the kitchen shifts. Suddenly I want nothing to do with ovens, stoves, and standing and stirring while my feet swell, and the whole house gets hot for the sake of a cookie. Thankfully we’re still in the season where cooler days are common to break up what has already been very hot heat, and also, these cookies are worth it.
My helper agrees – he wants to make sure the set-up is juuuuust right to convince everyone to make them.
I recently took up drinking tea, thinking it seemed like a good, sociable habit, one that would give me the opportunity to enjoy a warm drink on a cold day. While I do enjoy a cup of tea now if it’s offered, I almost never make one at home. The Great Tea-Drinking Attempt of 2015 has served to remind me yet again that I prefer to eat my calories – I almost always prefer the flavours in a cookie than in a cup (hello, dark chocolate merlot cookies :)).
These might be considered more of a fall/winter-ish cookie, with their deep, savoury spices, but rainy days are still upon us (don’t tell me otherwise), and a rainy day calls for a cozy cookie or three.
My helper agrees again.
Who says good help is hard to find?
Chai flavours are very similar to the speculaas flavour of the classic Dutch windmill cookies that were a staple in my mom’s pantry for those rare occasions when she didn’t have any other baking, or, I suppose, for when a craving for his homeland struck my dad (we didn’t eat them often). Either way, I always loved those cookies. Their one downfall, though, was their crunchy crumbliness. Enter a soft, chewy version to go with all the other soft, chewy cookies in my collection! You crunchy cookie people, go ahead and over-bake these, just don’t tell me ;)
If you love speculaas but aren’t sure about chai, just omit the cardamom – it’s really the only difference between the two. Also, I like a well-spiced cookie and the measurements reflect that. If you prefer a subtle flavour, you might want to halve the spices. Either way, chewy, cozy cookies are going to be ready in no time.
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and pull out a large cookie sheet or two.
- In large bowl, beat butter with sugars until fluffy and pale (about 2 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
- Add flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and spices to the same bowl and mix until well combined.
- Roll dough into approximately 1-inch balls and place about 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-14 minutes, until centers are set and edges are beginning to turn golden. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
Adapted from a speculaas cookie recipe submitted by Karina to the “Eet Smakelijk” Yarrow Canadian Reformed Church Cookbook :)