Christmas Cookie-Palooza: Chai shortbread.

IMO, every Christmas cookie assortment needs a shortbread: buttery, crisp, unassuming, a great foil for the iced cutouts and other fancies that get all the attention. This simple shortbread cookie recipe is spiked with warm chai spices — cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a hit of black pepper — to bring a vibrant flavor to one of my favorite basic cookies.

You can cut these chai shortbread cookies into any shapes you want (trees or stars would be nice); I have sets of fluted square and round cookie cutters that I love for their simple elegance. Chilling the cutout shapes before baking helps them retain their perfect shape.

Be sure to stock up on fresh spices for this cookie recipe: they’ll make all the difference in flavor.

chai shortbread cookie recipe

makes about 4 dozen
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream together butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt and spices; add to butter mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Divide dough in half; on a lightly floured work surface roll one dough portion out to a round about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes; reroll scraps and repeat with remaining dough. Place cookies on a baking sheet in layers between waxed paper, cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment. Place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake 12–15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until cookies look dry but are not browned.

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