Fall Cookies: Chai Spiced Shortbread

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Hey, friends. Welcome back to my blog!

I’m a bit ill right now, as I’ve come down with a bout of I-cannot-stop-eating-all-the-fall-food-itis. Maybe you’ve heard of it. 🙂

Seriously, though, since we have been back from the cruise, I just want to eat all the seasonal items! Pumpkin, maple, cinnamon, you name it – I want it! I almost bought pumpkin-apple ravioli today at the store, though I had enough control to put it back on the shelf at the last minute – LOL.

On theme with scarfing down all the autumn delicacies, I wanted to share with you a fantastic tutorial for chai-spiced fall cookies! I love this recipe for a seasonal treat that is a bit more unique than traditional pumpkin-flavored-everything (no shade though, I still love pumpkin, too).

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

The only thing that might top the taste of these subtle fall cookies is the adorable royal icing finish. I’ll walk you through how to shape the cookies into cute fall items (leaves, acorns, etc.) and decorate them with a sweet, colorful icing! Talk about a fantastic fall delight!

Let’s get to it! (I’m practically drooling already.)

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

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Gather The Following Ingredients To Make Your Chai Fall Cookies:

Cookie Ingredient List

  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 2 cups room temperature butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2.5 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • .5 tsp black pepper
  • fall cookie cutters (here are the cute ones I used!)
  • parchment paper
  • rolling pin
  • plastic wrap

Icing Ingredient List

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • .5 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • food coloring (I like to use these gels for the best saturation and easiest mixing)
  • plastic sandwich bags

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Like my mug? I found it in the clearance at Jo-Ann Fabric, but here and here are some similar designs online!

Chai Fall Cookies Video Tutorial:

Here’s my quick video tutorial showing how to bake and decorate your tasty autumn treats!

Chai Fall Cookies – Baking:

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

After prepping your kitchen, cream together the room-temperature butter and brown sugar until fluffy, or about 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract, and mix again!

Next, sift together the flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients and combine with a spatula. Yum – your kitchen will smell so enticing after utilizing all of these aromatic spices!

Then, once a rough dough forms, dump the entire mixture onto a piece of plastic, shape it into a brick, and wrap tightly. Let this rest in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. You want it to be very firm before moving on, otherwise, the butter will start to melt, subsequently ruining the shortbread texture at the end.

After the dough has chilled, hit it with a rolling pin to flatten and warm it slowly (I learned that tip from the Great British Bake-Off). Finish rolling out the dough on parchment paper until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

If the dough is too warm (you can tell because it will leave a very oily residue on your hands, stick to the work surface, and be very stretchy), cover the dough as-is (without reforming the shape) and place back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up again.

Next, using the fall cookie cutters, carefully stamp out the autumn shapes and lay them on the baking sheet. (I used the leaves, acorn, and pumpkins, so my decorating tutorial below will address these shapes.) If the dough begins to stick to the cutters, stretch (instead of pulling away from the dough easily), or feels very oily, put it back into the freezer for a few minutes until firm again.

It’s important to keep the butter in the dough cool, and this can be tricky in a warm kitchen! If your dough seems to warm up rapidly, make sure to work away from the oven or any other heat sources.

Finally, place the filled cookie sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes and then transfer directly to the preheated oven. This step allows the cookies to firm up once again and hold their shape better in the oven (that way, your pumpkins will actually resemble the fun fall gourd and not lumpy circles!)

Bake for 18-25 minutes (depending upon the size). The cookies should look “tanned” and the edges will be darkened.

Let your fall cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling. After about two hours you are safe to ice the cookies without any melting issues.

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Chai Fall Cookies – Preparing The Royal Icing

First, beat the egg whites on high until they become foamy. Be patient; it’s important to achieve the correct consistency in order that the icing sets correctly. Make sure that you are using pasteurized eggs/egg whites so that you don’t risk contracting any food-borne illnesses- yuck!

Once the egg whites peak, add in the powdered sugar on low (otherwise, be prepared to clean sugar off of every surface in your kitchen!)

Finally, mix in the vanilla extract (on high power), for about five minutes, or until thick. You want the icing to resemble the consistency of honey; if you run the back of a spoon through the icing, it should take a few seconds before it begins to fill itself back in.

Next begins the fun; pour about half of the icing into one bowl, and, then, half of what is remaining into another. Keep the rest set aside for later.

Start with the large bowl of icing, and add red and yellow food colorings to make a pumpkin-orange color. In the smaller bowl, add blue and yellow coloring gel to make green, for the stem of the pumpkin!

Adjust the colors as necessary; if you add too much food coloring, use some of the white icing we set aside to lighten the color. Now, let’s get to decorating those fall cookies!

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Chai Fall Cookies – Decorating With Royal Icing

First, we use a thicker consistency to outline the cookies; this is the icing we made at the beginning of these steps.

Scoop some orange icing into a plastic baggie, snip a tiny corner off with scissors, and outline the border of your pumpkin cookies, like you would pipe frosting onto a cake. It is easier to hold the tip of the bag up a bit and let the icing fall out onto the cookie, instead of dragging it along.

I like to use plastic baggies when making these cookies since we will end up using many different colors, and piping bags can be expensive! Plus, you don’t need too much of any one color, so a sandwich sized lunch bag works great!

Once the pumpkin outlines are finished, add just a few drops of water to the orange icing in the bowl and mix. Try to aim for the consistency of shampoo. This will “flood” the inside of the cookie and make a nice smooth layer of icing. (If you add too much water, mix in a bit of the thicker icing. We set aside the white icing before, and this works great for “fixing” mistakes.)

Add this thinner icing to your orange baggie. Pinch the tip to keep it closed and “smoosh” the bag around a bit to make sure the consistency is even. Then, fill the inside of the cookie. Use a toothpick to smooth any holes or clean up any leakage. Refer to my video above for a visual tutorial!

Next, fill a plastic bag with the green frosting, and use it to add a small stem to the top of your pumpkin. Let dry.

Once the icing has hardened slightly (30 minutes or so), you can go back and add more details. I like to add a little curly-cue vine attached to the stem, for example.

Second, add a small amount of orange icing to the green, and combine to make a warm brown color. Use this to decorate the tops of your acorns. This will also make a great color for the stem of your leaves, later!

Then, add more red food coloring to the orange, mix, and put in a plastic bag. You can also mix more yellow into the orange and put it in another baggie. Make as many color variations in each consistency as you’d like! In fact, if you want a very bright leaf, use some of the white icing set aside and made a “new” color altogether. You don’t have to stick to fall colors; make green leaves or even crazy purple leaves! Just have fun with it.

Using the red, orange, and yellow (or whatever colors you choose) sandwich bags, outline and flood your leaves. You can feel free to get creative with the color mixtures on each leaf. Some I outlined in red and then flooded with orange and yellow. For others, I did the opposite. In the photo below, I outlined part with red and the top with yellow; then, I flooded it in with orange! Remember, in nature all the leaves are unique, so don’t stress too much about making them perfect. Use the toothpick to swirl the colors together and fill in any holes.

 

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Finally, add a brown stem as decoration, and your leaves are finished!

To finish your last fall shape (the acorns), add some white icing to your brown and mix to create a lighter shade. You can even use plain white icing to make a small “reflection” on the nut of the acorn, adding some depth. Be artistic with it and have some fun!

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Let this icing air dry uncovered for a full 24 hours. Don’t put them in the refrigerator. Once the icing is fully hardened (after the 24 hours) you can feel free to stack them as I have shown below; then, cover and store at room-temp for a few days! The icing is pretty hearty once it is set.

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Printable Recipe:

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Chai-Spiced Fall Cookies

Deliciously subtle chai-spiced fall cookies make a great seasonal dessert! 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword autumn, chai, chai tea, cookies, fall, spice
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting and Decorating 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

Chai Fall Cookies

  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3.5 cups flour + extra for rolling pin
  • 2.5 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • .5 tsp black pepper

Royal Icing

  • .5 cup liquid egg whites pasteurized
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Chai Fall Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Cream room-temperature butter with brown sugar until fluffy (3-5 minutes).

  3. Add vanilla extract and mix again until combined.

  4. Sift flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper together and mix into wet ingredients. 

  5. Form a brick with dough and wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze for 30-45, until very firm.

  6. Hit the brick of dough with a rolling pin to slowly flatten. Finish rolling out on parchment paper until 1/2 inch thick. 

    If the dough is too warm (if it leaves a very oily residue on your hands or sticks to work surface), re-wrap the flattened dough (as is, don't form back into a brick) and place back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up again. 

  7. Using the cookie cutters, carefully stamp out shapes and lay them on the baking sheet. 

    If the dough begins to stick to the cutters, stretch (instead of pulling away from the dough easily), or feels very oily, put it back into the freezer as is until firm again. Shortbread dough, as it is made with a lot of butter, needs to stay cool, otherwise, the butter begins to melt and the dough breaks down.

  8. Place filled cookie sheets in the freezer for 10 minutes and then transfer directly to preheated oven. This step allows the cookies to harden once again and keep their shape better in the oven. Bake for 18-25 minutes (depending upon size). Cookies should look "tanned" and edges darkened. 

  9. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Wait at least two hours before adding icing.

Icing The Cookies

  1. Beat the egg whites on high until it creates foamy peaks. Be patient!

  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar to the egg whites and beat together on low.

  3. Add the vanilla and beat again on high until thick, icing-like consistency (about 5 minutes). 

    You want the icing to be so thick (like honey) that if you run the back of a spoon through it, a few seconds will pass before the icing starts to fill itself in. 

    You can add more powdered sugar if yours is too thin, but these measurements work every time for me!

  4. Pour 1/2 of the icing into a bowl, and 1/4 into another bowl. Set the remaining icing aside. 

  5. In the first bowl, add yellow and red food coloring gel and mix until orange. Adjust as necessary to get a perfect pumpkin color. 

    In the second bowl, add yellow and blue food coloring gel and mix until green, to make the stem of the pumpkin. 

    Adjust color as necessary, adding more of one color or another to get the right shade. 

  6. First, we use a thicker consistency (think: honey) to outline the cookies. This is the consistency we made our icing at the beginning of these steps.

    Scoop some orange icing into a plastic baggie, snip a tiny corner off with scissors, and outline the border of your pumpkin cookie, like you would pipe frosting onto a cake. It is easier to hold the tip of the bag up a bit off of the cookie and let the icing fall out onto the cookie, instead of dragging it along. 

    I like to use plastic baggies when making these cookies since we will end up using many different colors, and piping bags can be expensive! Plus, you don't need too much of any one color, so a sandwich sized lunch bag works great!

  7. Add just a few drops of water to the orange icing in the bowl and mix. Try to aim for the consistency of shampoo. This will "flood" the inside of the cookie and make a nice smooth layer of icing. (If you add too much water, mix in a bit of the thicker icing. We set aside the white icing before, and this works great for "fixing" mistakes.)

    Add this icing to your baggie, mix it around a bit, and then fill in the border with the thinner orange icing. Use a toothpick to smooth any holes or clean up any extra. 

  8. Fill a plastic bag with the green frosting, and use it to add a small stem to the top of your pumpkin. Let dry. 

    Once the icing has hardened slightly (30 minutes or so), you can go back and add more details (like a little curly-cue vine from the stem, for example).

  9. Add a small amount of orange icing to the green, and combine to make a warm brown color. Use this for the tops of your acorns. This will also make a great color for the stem of your leaves, later!

  10. Add more red coloring to the orange, mix, and put in a plastic baggie. You can also add more yellow to the orange, mix, and put in another baggie. 

    If you want a very bright red or yellow, use some of the white icing set aside and made a "new" color altogether. 

  11. Using red, orange, and yellow sandwich bags, outline and flood your leaves. You can feel free to get creative with the color options. Remember, in nature, all the leaves are unique, so don't stress too much about making them perfect. 

    Use the toothpick to swirl the colors together and fill in any holes. Add a brown stem as decoration.

  12. Add some white icing to the brown to make a lighter shade, and finish off your acorns. You can even use plain white to make a small "reflection" on the nut of the acorn, adding some depth. Be artistic with it and have some fun! 

  13. Let the cookies air dry (not in the fridge), uncovered for 24 hours. Once they are fully hardened (after 24 hours) you can stack these cookies on top of one another, and store in a sealed container for a few days. 

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

Enjoy Your Chai Fall Cookies!

Thanks so much for reading!! Leave me a comment and let me know if you like these cookies.

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If you are still in the mood for fall desserts, check out my Mason Jar Cranberry Walnut Cookies!

I hope you all have a good autumn!

XOXO,

lexisrose.com

P.S. Pin one of these to remember this recipe for later!

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party! These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party! These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party! These subtle chai-spiced shortbread cookies are sweet and crumbly and SO delicious. They make the perfect addition to any fall dinner or party!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. Cranberry Walnut Jar Cookies – Homemade Mix in a Mason Jar says:

    […] And, if you’re still in the mood for a fall dessert, check out my next post for Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies! […]

  2. Haley says:

    These cookies look so beautiful and sound absolutely deliciois!!!

    1. Lexis says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  3. Anne – onedeterminedlife says:

    My kids love making cookies with me. I might just try this with them, sounds so yummy. They look good too.

    1. Lexis says:

      They are delish!! Decorating with them would be fun too, especially if the icing is just a tad thicker, kids could have a fun time with it! It’s not difficult. 🙂

  4. Charlotte says:

    This is so perfect for this time of year! I love the decorations too x

    1. Lexis says:

      Thank you!!

  5. Hazel says:

    So adorable designs! If only I can get closer to any of this! but the recipe looks promising thank you for this!

    1. Lexis says:

      It’s not too tricky after all!! The video offers some good tips, too. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  6. Gemma says:

    I have to make these. My husband loves shortbread cookies and I love chai, this is the perfect combination of those two things!

    1. Lexis says:

      Aw, perfect! Let me know how they turn out. 🙂

  7. Kayla Haas says:

    My mom is obsessed with chai! I’m gonna make these for her, omg! They look so yummy.

    1. Lexis says:

      Yay! I hope she loves them. 🙂

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