Royal Chai Shortbread Cookies

March 2, 2011
Here's the 2nd installment from my cardamom-palooza adventure this past weekend - Chai Shortbread.  This one is pretty close to a Tracey-original recipe.  See, I had made Chai Shortbread a long time ago, following a recipe from Cooking Light magazine.  This weekend when I decided to have my cardamom-palooza cooking fest, do you think I could find that recipe anywhere?  No, of course not.  I must have actually put it where it's supposed to be - can never find anything when I do that.  I even resorted to searching the Cooking Light website, but no luck. 

So, I was left to my own devises to craft some sort of Chai Shortbread recipe if I was to press on with my adventure.  And I was determined to press on with my adventure.  I started with a basic shortbread recipe from The Joy of Cooking.  To that, I added the Chai spice line-up ... cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper, guessing at the amounts ... and I think I did pretty good, if I do say so myself!

After you mix everthing up and chill down your dough, you're supposed to roll the dough out thin and cut it into cookies with cookie cutters.  I can't be bothered with that.  Sure, cut shapes are pretty and all ... but unless it's for a special occasion where the shape adds some value, I'm okay with a more rustic cookie.  Hey, it still tastes the same!  So here's my method - roll the dough into a log and slice it into 1/4" thick pieces with a serrated knife, like this:
Shortbread cut the easy-sneezy way.
 Place the pieces on a cookie sheet and give them a short bake.  They come out looking almost exactly as they did when they went in, so if you have any that look too rustic - fix them before they bake.  There's no changing them after-the-fact!

Chai shortbread - naked version.

I decided to dip some of the cookies in cardamom-spiked chocolate.  If one has cookies that have some flaws, chocolate covers a multitude of sins!  And it sure tastes great too.  I also learned in doing a little bit of reading about shortbread, that when one end of  baked shortbread is dipped into melted chocolate, it's given the name Royal shortbread.  How fancy sounding!
ROYAL Chai shortbread ... yummm.
Both versions were tasty.  But when put to the test, the chocolate-dipped shortbreads were my favorite, and the favorite of the majority of my tasting panel (aka - friends on whom I unload the bulk of my baked goods!).

Royal Chai Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from:  Joy of Baking
(Printable recipe)
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
10 cranks of freshly ground pepper from a pepper mill

Chocolate for dipping:
About 1 c. chopped semi-sweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
About 2 tsp. shortening
Pinch of ground cardamom

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, and spices in a bowl.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute).  Add the sugar and beat, about 2 minutes, until smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk (or roll it into a log), wrap in plastic wrap, and chill dough for at least an hour or until firm.

3.  Roll dough into a 1/4" thick circle; cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Or, use a serrated knife to slice the dough log into 1/4" thick slices (use a sawing motion, rather than just pushing down on the dough).  Place cut cookies on a baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until very lightly browned.  Cool.

4.  Combine chocolate and shortening in a small bowl.  Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring together the melted chocolate and shortening.  Stir in the pinch of ground cardamom.  Dip one end of each shortbread cookie into the chocolate mixture; place on a piece of waxed paper to set.  Dipped cookies may be placed in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help set the chocolate.


1 comment

  1. omgosh. so glad i saw this one! i was just telling myself last night that i wanted to try to make shortbread cookies.. i had some at starbucks and have been craving them!!!



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