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.

  • Yield about 2-3 dozen cookies


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.