Autumn is guaranteed, isn’t it?
Every year, around this time, when most of the country is feeling the sweet coolness of the coming season, I ask myself that very question, “Autumn is guaranteed, isn’t it?” Here in the Arizona desert, we won’t feel the cool relief of fall for more than a month. But… with the guarantee that it WILL come, I made these spice cookies to have a little pre-fall flavor in the house.
The other incentive was the Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses I found at Target after learning about them on Pinterest. Just in case you can’t find them in your area, I’ve also given you a yummy frosting recipe to top the cookies with. If you do as I did and frost a dozen of the cookies and push a Kiss into the other dozen, cut the frosting recipe in half.
Or go crazy and use both – frost the cookies once they’ve cooled and then stick a Kiss on top.
Autumn Chai Cookies
Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Chai Spice Mix (above)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup chai concentrate (such as Tazo or Oregon)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Chai Spice Mix (above)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses (seasonal item, found at Target)
Chai Spice Mix: In a small bowl, whisk together the 5 ground spices. Set aside to use in the cookie dough, to sprinkle atop the baking cookies, and in the frosting.
Cookies: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the Chai Spice Mix.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, chai concentrate, and vanilla and mix until just combined. Mix in the dry ingredients and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary until combined.
Transfer to the bowl that the dry ingredients were in and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour for the butter to firm before baking, this will prevent the cookies from spreading too much. Wash out the mixing bowl and use for the frosting next.
Meanwhile, unwrap the Pumpkin Kisses, if using and/or make the Frosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer, blend together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add 1 tablespoon of the Chai Spice Mix and the vanilla extract. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.
Using a 1-tablespoon sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, 12 per sheet (4 rows of three balls) on each. (Alternately, if you don’t own a scoop, use your hands to roll the dough into 24 1-inch balls.)
Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Chai Spice Mix lightly over the cookie balls, you may not use all of it, which is fine, throw the rest in your next class of chai tea.
Return to oven, rotating the baking sheets, and finish baking for another 8 minutes.
If using the Kisses – once the cookies are removed from the oven, immediately place a pumpkin spice Kiss in the center of each cookie and then cool completely. Or, if using the Chai frosting – cool completely and frost.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies