masala chai gingersnaps

Nik Sharma

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I know cakes generally get a lot more attention than cookies year-round but come the holiday season, cookies take over the show! In many ways, I feel that they take on their little personalities, some acquire shapes and sizes and special flavors, and some will bring back fond memories. I used to do a better job of baking many different cookies for Christmas gifts, and I’ve slacked quite a bit this year. So bad that I’m only making gingersnaps, my holiday staple.

I don’t make cutout cookies every Christmas holiday, but I will bake gingersnaps! It’s because ginger is my favorite spice/ingredient to bake with. I’ve been known to nibble on spicy little bits of crystallized ginger, which is probably too gross of a habit to share publicly, but the sweet zing that comes in every bite is so good!

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masala chai gingersnaps

This is a chai-spiced version of my gingersnaps. There’s extra ginger, ground black tea leaves, and chai masala for the full effect, and they’re great with tea or coffee (even though the cookies contain tea).

  • Yield: 48 to 50 cookies

Ingredients

2 ½ cups/350 g all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1 Tbsp chai masala, homemade or store-bought

2 to 3 tsp ground Assam or Darjeeling tea leaves

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 cup/220 g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

¾ cup/150 g packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

½ cup/120 ml date syrup or unsulfured molasses

1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

½ cup/120 g chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup/200 g demerara sugar or sparkling sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the two-wire racks at mid-height in the oven and preheat the oven to 325F/165C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Dry whisk the flour, ginger, chai masala, tea, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment. Beat over medium speed until the butter is creamed and turns a pale light brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a silicone spatula.
  4. Whisk the egg, date syrup, and ginger with a fork in a small mixing bowl and pour the mixture into the creamed butter. Mix over medium speed until combined and the mixture turns fluffy, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the flour mixture. Mix over low speed until combined and there are no visible flecks of dry flour, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the crystallized ginger, process over low speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the ginger is evenly distributed. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  5. Place the demerara sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Take out 1 Tbsp of cookie dough using a cookie scoop, shape into a round ball, and toss the ball in the demerara sugar until coated well. If the dough starts to turn too sticky, grease your hands lightly with a little unsalted butter. The cookie scoop will get sticky after a few rounds of scooping. To avoid this, set a small jug filled with hot water and dip the cookie scoop into it to rinse off the stuck dough and shake off the excess water before using. Place the sugared ball of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet. Prepare the rest of the cookie dough in the same manner, spacing them out by about 1 inch/2.5cm on the baking sheet. There should be 16 balls of cookie dough per sheet. Bake two sheets at a time, rotating the pans halfway through during baking until the cookies turn golden brown and crisp, the tops crinkle, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  • Freshly ground spices taste best in this recipe, so try to use a freshly made mix of gingersnap cookies.
  • I used a dark Darjeeling tea (orange pekoe leaves). Make sure the powder is super fine, sift it through a strainer if possible.
  • I like sparkling sugar over granulated sugar because it gives a delicious crunchy texture to the cookie.

21 Responses

  1. Sounds wonderful! Could we use Masala spice that is already packaged? and why crystal ginger instead of fresh or powder? Well I suppose you have all of those items in your pantry?

    My Christmas baking memory was some years back when I made dozen of seasonal cookies as gifts and for purchase. Much work yet great reward!

    1. You can use premade chai masala but their ratios of ingredients vary from brand to brand. You might need to play with the ginger powder amount a little.

    2. Also, the chai masala already has ginger powder in it so you don’t need to add more, if you follow my recipe. The crystallized ginger gives it an extra bite of texture and flavor.

  2. I also nibble on crystallized ginger!! It’s the best. One of my favorite holiday baking memories is making a TON of christmas cookies with my mom. And then on Christmas Eve we would always prepare a platter for Santa and mix up a glass of Ovaltine with milk for him. That’s Christmas for me right there. These cookies are beauties!

  3. Cookies are definitely taking over right now and I am SO for it! These look perfect! The handmade spice mixture definitely makes these special.

  4. When our children were young, we made recipes for traditional Christmas meals from a different country each year. That led to keeping our favorites of the recipes, many of which I still make.

  5. Crystallized ginger is the BEST. I’ve seen chocolate dipped ones too which are pretty much made for nibbling so…

  6. I don’t have a particular baking memory – Christmas is so tied up with baking in my mind I can’t separate them. Making tiny gingerbread houses for gifts; making a Buche de Noel cake; pies, and always cookies. BTW, I put candied ginger into my trail mix – much better than chocolate (especially as it doesn’t melt).

  7. My favorite holiday memory is being with my daughters during the holidays and taking them to visit Santa. They are both grown and living on their own now but when we are all together last Christmas I tried to get them to visit Santa one more time. They looked at me like I was nuts!

  8. Love the generous flavour in these gingersnaps. Question-If I were to use only AP flour, how much should I add to the existing amount? Do you think all the flavourings added would be too overpowering if I only used AP flour? Tks.

  9. My favorite baking memory is a tradition- for the last 12 years I host a cookie exchange party where I invite neighbors, friends and family. Everyone brings a plate of cookies to share and at the end takes home a big assortment. We now have regulars that we have come to anticipate and my daughters are participating as well. My cookie is a powdered sugar and butter minty candy cane shaped cookie. This year I will be helping my neighbor make her picture perfect gingerbread cookies.

  10. I am making these this weekend, a warm chai and a few cookies… Happiness! So many fond memories for me from baking with my Grandmother and my Mom, and now baking cookies and cakes and really making anything in the kitchen with MY Grandchildren, how can you go wrong with this life 😊

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