December 5, 2012

Holiday Cookies: Sparkling Chai Sables {Powernap}

Sparkling Chai Sables | The Naptime Chef

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

This holiday season I am parring down my sweets list. I simply can’t stand on my feet for hours on end baking like I usually do every other Christmas season. I was a little bit sad about this at first until I realized that it is actually a good exercise in editing for me. Instead of manically baking endless batches of cookies and bars with no end in sight, this year I’ve been forced to identify a select few that will appease everyone in our house. For my daughter I’ll make classic Peanut Butter Blossoms and cut-out butter cookies she can decorate. My husband has requested Buttery Pecan Snowballs, and I want simple shortbread in holiday flavors like chocolate espresso and this warm, cinnamon chai.

To give my chai shortbread cookies a sophisticated appearance I made them like sables, the classic crumbly french butter cookie. Instead of using cookie cutters to form them into holiday shapes I rolled the dough into logs and lightly coated them in pretty sparkling sanding sugar for a festive touch. After the dough had chilled I sliced them into rounds sable-style and baked the coins until they were lightly toasted with bright twinkling edges. As they baked the whole kitchen smelled like I was brewing up a warm mug of chai. The cinnamon and cardamom aromas enveloped us all and made me so excited for the beginning of the holiday season. I managed to put off eating the entire batch in one day and was able to add them to the cookie tray I’ve slowly been assembling for the season.


Sparkling Chai Sables

makes about 2 dozen thick cookies or 3 dozen thinner cookies


3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg white for rolling
3 tablespoons or more of sanding sugar for rolling


1. In an electric mixer beat the butter until fluffy and light yellow, about 5 minutes. Then beat it in the sugar until very fluffy and pale yellow, almost like a buttercream frosting.

2. Beat in the vanilla extract until smooth. Then, with the mixer on low, add in the flour, salt, and spices until completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

3. Remove the finished dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough until two clumps and roll each once into a log about 2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.

5. Lightly brush each log of dough with an egg white that is been lightly beaten with a fork. Then roll the logs in the sanding sugar until they are evenly coated.

6. Slice the logs into rounds about ¼-inch thick and place them on the lined cookie sheets 1 inch apart. Return the cookie sheets to the freezer to chill until the oven is preheated. When the oven is ready bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating them halfway through to ensure even baking. Then remove the cookie sheet from the oven and carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These cookies freeze very well. The dough also freezes well for up to 4 weeks. I plan to make another batch of dough for these closer to our guests arriving before Christmas. Then I will freeze it wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and an outer layer of aluminum foil until they are ready to be baked!

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time for dough, 15 minutes bake time

Naptime Reviews

Sables are always a hit on the holiday cookie tray and this spicy version just elevated them to a whole new level!



11 Responses to “Holiday Cookies: Sparkling Chai Sables {Powernap}”

  1. Rt says:

    Appox. how many cookies does this recipe make?

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

      Hi! Sorry, will add in! I got about 2 dozen thick cookies and would make about 3 dozen thin ones!

  2. RT, if you cut them thin, which, I did not, you will get around two dozen cookies. Roll your log out to around two inches before chilling.

  3. A says:

    These look really good! Don’t think I’ve seen cardamom in a cookie recipe before. I sent the recipe to my mother because she loves cardamom. Like you, I’m cutting way back on the number of treats I make this Christmas, but this recipe may need to be added to the list.

    • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

      Great! I hope you enjoy!

      • A says:

        Decided that I couldn’t NOT make these! The dough is chilling right now, I can’t wait. I meant to reduce the salt since my butter was salted, but forgot. Oops! Bet they’ll still be perfect though, the raw dough is really good. Will let you know how they turn out!

        • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

          Please do! A little extra salt doesn’t hurt. 🙂

          • A says:

            I baked them! They turned out awesome! Extremely tasty and light. They made the house smell amazing, too! Would you mind if I share the recipe on my blog? I would of course give all credit to you. I ended up making the dough slightly different (not on purpose, it was my lack of attention to detail- oops) and took my own awful photo that I’d post along with it 🙂 No pressure, I just like to share recipes that we love.

          • KelseyTheNaptimeChef says:

            Hi! Glad you liked – no I don’t mind!

          • A says:

            Here’s the link to the recipe on my blog, thanks so much for letting me post it 🙂 I baked these cookies over 2 weeks ago and they’re still great!

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