Frosted Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (70g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Rolling

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (300g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream (preferred) or milk
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 of a split vanilla bean
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. When you take the butter out of the refrigerator to make the cookie dough, take out 1/2 cup more (1 stick) and allow to soften as you make the cookies. This softened butter is for the frosting.
  2. For the cookies: Toss the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until smooth. You must use a whisk in order to prevent the butter from separating from the sugars. Whisk in the egg, then the vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very thick and heavy, yet slightly crumbly. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days. (If chilling for longer than a few hours, be sure to let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes because it will be quite hard.)
  4. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and roll 1.5 Tablespoons of dough into each ball. You'll have about 20-24 balls, give or take.
  5. For the rolling: Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Roll each dough ball into the mixture to coat evenly. Place 10 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes. The cookies will look very puffy, soft, and under baked. That's ok. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting (frosting is optional): With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, cream, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon more cream if frosting is too thick. Taste and add 1/8 teaspoon salt if frosting is too sweet. I always add the salt.
  7. Frost cooled cookies. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cookie. Sprinkle with extra sugar/chai spice topping if you have any left, if desired. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.
  8. Make ahead tip: Unfrosted cookies freeze well, up to 2 months. Coated cookie dough balls freeze well, up to 2 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Recipe Notes:

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