I really want to like tea, but up until this point in my life I haven’t quite come around to it.  At best, it seems to me more like water that *almost* tastes like something.  (Yes, even the tea that friends assure me is really good.)  The only exception to this so far has been chai.  Though I don’t typically order it or make it for myself, I have enjoyed it from time to time when a friend or family member offers me a sip.  But do you know what is the best way to learn to like particular food or ingredient?  Incorporating it into a dessert, of course.  I used to hate coffee but coffee ice cream was the gateway to my eventual deep love for coffee.  And now it seems that chai chocolate cookies may be the gateway to me legitimately liking chai.

I have teamed up with the good people at Fair Trade USA to develop a recipe featuring some fair trade ingredients.  They recently sent me a package of all sorts of awesome Fair Trade certified goodies and as I pondered the many things I could create with the items I received, it occurred to me that I could incorporate chai, chocolate and vanilla into my basic vanilla sable recipe.  Done and done.  These turned out even better than I had imagined and I think they would be perfect for holiday gifting – very simple to make, incredibly tasty, and just a little bit different than your everyday offerings.  Even if drinking tea isn’t always my thing, enjoying the warm blend of chai spices in cookie form is right up my alley.

What’s even more up my alley?  Baking fabulous treats while also knowing that making mindful purchases can help better someone else’s life by using Fair Trade USA certified products.  Have you heard of fair trade before, and maybe wondered what the buzz is all about?  Here’s some info from the experts:

What is Fair Trade?

  • Fair Trade is a global movement to alleviate poverty in the developing world, while ensuring consumers quality products that improve lives and protect the environment. Everyday purchases that bear the Fair Trade Certified™ logo come from farmers and workers in the developing world who are justly compensated, allowing them to build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.
  •  For a quick video overview of Fair Trade, please watch the Every Purchase Matters animation on our YouTube page (youtube.com/FairTradeCertified).

Pretty awesome, right?  To learn a bit more about Fair Trade and to have a chance at winning a package of Fair Trade certified products for yourself, head on over to the giveaway page!  Also be sure to check out the Bake Fair recipe page, with plenty of other recipes featuring Fair Trade ingredients.


For the cookie dough: 

  • 1 cup (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ tbsp. chai tea (from about 5 tea bags)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

To finish:

  • Turbinado sugar for coating (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1 tbsp. water


  • 01

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, chai, and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg yolks one at a time, and vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour and salt until incorporated and a thick dough forms.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

  • 02

    Gather the dough together and transfer to a piece of parchment paper.  Form into a log about 1¾-inches in diameter.  Roll the dough tightly up in the parchment paper, and twist the ends to seal.  Transfer the dough to the freezer and chill until very firm, at least 2-3 hours.

  • 03

    When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  On a piece of wax or parchment paper, pour a line of turbinado sugar for coating the dough log.  Remove the dough from the freezer, brush lightly with the egg wash, and roll in the turbinado sugar pressing gently to adhere.  Transfer the dough to a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife into rounds just less than ½-inch thick.  Place the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheets.

  • 04

    Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the edges are light golden and the cookies are just set, 14-15 minutes total.  Let cool on the baking sheets briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    Starbucks has a chocolate chai latte I have been dying to try. These cookies would go great with a cup.

  • Love how you put chai tea bag spice into the cookies:) I might have to try this! Cookies that you don’t have to roll are wonderful.

  • Katie

    These look and sound delicious! The Chai Latte at Starbucks was what brought me over to this kind of tea… I definitely recommend it! I’m a little confused about how you’re preparing the tea. 5 tea bags = 2 1/2 tbsps of tea? Could you provide more detail re: how you are getting the 2 1/2 tbsps?

  • annieseats

    Cut open tea bags, measure out 2.5 tbsp. of tea. That’s it :) (If you had loose chai, that would work too but they sent me tea bags.)

  • Katie

    I think I was reading it as brewed tea, rather than loose tea leaves. That makes so much more sense! Thanks!

  • Amy

    These look delicious!!

  • I’m absolutely the same way about tea! I want to like it and keep trying to, but it really only appeals to me when I’m cold and want to drink something warm besides coffee! Chai tea is a bit better though, and sounds wonderful in baked goods!

  • Patience

    I know you said Turbinado sugar but the sugar in the picture almost looks like the sparkling sugar. So I just wanted to make sure you really used Turbinado? I like to use the exact ingredients you used! So just making sure. ;-) Thank you and these sound and look delicious!!

  • Ellen

    If you like cinnamon, the Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from Harney & Sons is a strong, intense tea, that you won’t believe they haven’t sweetened. I love chai and can’t wait to try these cookies. Also, most grocery store teas I find to be too weak, so I can understand your barely flavored water comment. P.G. Tips is another strong black tea, great with milk.

  • Amy

    If you like Chai, try this recipe:

    Chai Tea

    ½ cup nonfat dry milk

    ¼ cup vanilla instant creamer (dry)

    ¼ cup unsweetened instant tea

    3 T. powdered sugar

    1 tsp. ground cinnamon

    ½ tsp. ground cardamom

    ½ tsp. ground clove

    Use 3-4 heaping spoons per cup (1/4 cup)

  • annieseats

    So far even the ones that friends have told me are strong or intense teas, even from coffee/tea shops, farmers markets, restaurants, etc. I still am just kind of “eh” about. But, I keep hoping :)

  • annieseats

    Yes, I did use sparkling sugar for this because it’s what I had on hand but I normally use turbinado sugar and it works as well.

  • Allison Kennedy

    It was lucky I checked your site this morning as I was planning a baking day, I decided to give these a try; they are FANTASTIC! My mom’s only complaint is that they have chocolate… for reasons beyond my understanding she hates chocolate (*shudder*), so I’m thinking for the next batch I might try toffee bits in place of the chocolate chips…… anyways Thanks for the delicious recipe! :)

  • annieseats

    Not liking chocolate = blasphemy. Haha!

    Glad you enjoyed them though :)

  • Karen

    YUM. Must try. Ever since I read an article about fair trade chocolate, I have been unable to buy Hershey’s or Nestle. I have been wondering what kind of chocolate chips to buy–they don’t seem that easy to find! Thank you for bringing some awareness to this.

  • Stephanie Carolina Velez

    Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas! Great post as always! It’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only one that isn’t a fan of drinking tea yet :)

  • I got a fair trade package with chai hot chocolate in it recently…takes chai to a whole new level of awesome. Although…so do these cookies.

  • Tina

    After having a chai latte in my local coffee shop the chai latte at Starbucks just tastes like sweetened hot milk! :) -You can buy the tazo chai latte pre made that you just heat up. That is what Starbucks uses! I got it at target once for like $3.50 so you get like 4-5 cups for the price of one :-).

  • Mechen

    Can you taste much of the tea or just the spices? I could see making a similar cookie but using cardamom, ginger, nstead of having to cut up tea bags…

  • annieseats

    Yes, you taste the tea blend. You’re right, you could do something similar with loose spices as well.

  • Kathryn Fahey

    Hi Annie,
    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. Perhaps the next time you’re in Chicago you may want to check out David’s Tea. They have a lot of traditional flavors as well as more creative flavors (birthday cake, chocolate raspberry almond, etc) for people who are not tea lovers. Either way, thank you for all the great recipies and photos that you share, your webpage is an excellent resource!

  • annieseats

    Thanks! I’m going to have to keep trying, so thanks for the recommendation :)

  • Angela

    I decided to do a tea & coffee theme for the teacher goodie bags I prepared this year for Christmas. In addition to some tea and coffee samples, I made your vanilla sables, cappuccino fudge and these chai chocolate cookies. They were all so quick to make and tasted so yummy! I just might have eaten a *few* when they came out of the oven! :-) Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Julia Wells

    Would these freeze? By the way, you can also by an indian chai masala spice mix from indian grocery stores, which would be excellent in these (and also makes great tea).

  • annieseats

    You can just leave the dough frozen in the log as long as you need, and then bake as needed. Enjoy!

  • Joseph Bonaldi

    These sound soooooo goood. I need to make them. I had two questions though. Do I need to thaw them out after freezing them or do I cut and bake frozen? And lastly do you thinking opting for coconut oil/butter instead of regular butter would work? I prefer to use that over actual butter. Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to make these.

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried that myself so it’s tough to say. You can experiment but I can only speak to the results with real butter. No need to thaw before slicing (unless they are too hard to slice – then just wait a few minutes until you are able to slice without issue.) Enjoy!

  • Heather Homont Parella

    Loved these!!! I used vanilla chai tea bags!!! So yummy!!! Making again for my cousins tea party themed bridal shower!! Thanks So much awesome recipe!!!!

  • lydia

    probably a silly question, but do you add the chai in its powder form – straight out of the bag – or brew it before adding?

  • annieseats

    This is just the loose tea from the bag, not brewed. It is what gives the dough the flecked appearance above. Enjoy!