Half spice cookie, half oatmeal cookie … half chocolate chip cookie. (Hmm… My math is a little fuzzy.) I just love the flavor combination here! The cookie love starts when you bite into the nice, browned edges, then through a soft and chunky strata of oats, sunflower seeds, apple bits and the occasional raisin (all from Hodgson Mill Apples & More Muesli), and every once in a while, a chocolate chip surprise. Then, just when you think you’ve tasted all this cookie has to offer, the chai spices come up from behind. You can feel—as much as taste—the warm, golden flavor the chai provides, rounding out all of the flavors. Like fine wine. But a cookie.
These cookies keep well and make great gifts— and with whole-wheat flour and whole-grain muesli, they are somewhat healthy, as cookies go.
My very talented friend, (and today my guest photographer) Chris Eichler, graciously took these photos for me. He does awesome wedding and event photography, too (check out his work at chriseichlerphoto.com).
Back to cookies: This recipe has a few steps, but it’s nothing too out of the ordinary for a cookie. Let’s get to it.
You start out by making a chai concentrate.
(I squeezed the tea bags to get all the spicy flavor out, because I wanted the very last bit of spice I could wring from them.) In any case, replace any lost water until you have ¼ cup concentrated brewed tea.
Add this tea concentrate to the muesli in a medium bowl—this helps the tea to cool, and it helps soften the muesli before it goes into the dough. (Some will be soaked, some will be dry. In my tests, ¼ cup was the correct amount needed to produce a nice, soft oatmeal cookie that doesn’t fall apart.)
Next you whisk together the dry mixture, and in another bowl blend the wet mixture with a mixer until it’s smooth. (Awesome action shots, Chris!).
Gradually add the dry flour mixture to the wet mixture, and blend again until smooth.
Then you fold in the really good stuff—chocolate chips and chai-soaked muesli. You end up with a thick, cohesive batter, perfect for dropping by spoonfuls.
For the absolute best, strongest chai flavor, I like to cover the dough and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. This step allows the spicy flavors to develop and mingle. You can bake the cookies immediately, but they will have a lighter taste. Still delicious, just lighter.
When you are ready to bake, drop batter by the spoonful onto your greased (or parchment paper-lined) baking sheet. The cookies like to spread so be sure to give them room.
Bake, and voila! Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for two minutes before moving them to the cooling rack (a terrible struggle in self-control—these smell reeeeeeeally good).
These cookies keep for up to a week in a sealed container in a cool place. This makes them ideal for gift giving.
Happy baking, happy gifting and happy holidays! I love this time of year.
Chai Muesli and Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 3-4 high-quality chai tea bags (I use Tazo)
- ¼ cup boiled water, plus a little more
- 3 ½ cups Hodgson Mill Apples & More Muesli
- 1½ cups Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
- 1½ cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 6-8 grinds of fresh black pepper (I opt for 8, maybe 9)
- 1 cup butter, (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Boil water and pour ¼ cup boiled water over 3 to 4 high-quality chai tea bags, creating a concentrate. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and add additional water until you have ¼ cup concentrate.
In medium bowl, pour chai tea concentrate over Hodgson Mill Apples & More Muesli. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. This may take a few minutes. Gradually add dry flour mixture to wet mixture, beating with mixer until smooth and thick. Fold in chocolate chips and the muesli-tea mixture. For best flavor, cover dough and place in refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight. You can also bake immediately, but flavor will be lighter.
Preheat oven to 350˚ F with rack in the upper third of oven. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 3-inches apart (they spread, so give them some room).
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let stand two minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
You can also substitute 3 cups Hodgson Mill 50/50 flour. Makes about 48 cookies. Store in sealed container placed in a cool location for up to one week. Recipe is easily halved. Dough can also be frozen for later baking.
Loosely inspired by The Appetite of Life Black-bottom-Chai-spiced Oatmeal Cookies