Gluten Free Chai Cookies

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Gluten-Free Chai Cookies give your classic sugar cookies a hint of warm spices. The flavors you love from a Chai latte are in the cut out cookies and the royal icing. These are a festive addition to your collection of gluten free Christmas cookies!

Love Chai tea? Try Chai White Chocolate Puppy Chow and a creamy Chai Smoothie!

A round platter filled with decorated gluten free chai cookies

Gluten Free Chai Sugar Cookies

Everyone loves classic cut-out cookies for Christmas. They taste sweet and buttery. They look so festive. And it’s fun to get creative with all of your decorations.

Years back, I thought it would be fun to “spice up” this favorite Christmas cookie. No, I’m not talking about a little kick like in Flourless Mexican Chocolate Cookies. I’m talking about the warm spices of a Chai tea latte.

You know, cinnamon and cardamom and sometimes ginger or star anise or cloves. They all add that cozy flavor to your steamy cup of tea that warm you up inside and out during the winter.

So I made Cut-Out Chai Sugar Cookies! All of those flavors made this simple cookie extra special.

After enjoying them so many years ago, before I knew I had to give up gluten, it was time to make them again, but as gluten free chai sugar cookies!

Sure, in the future I will test out the combination of individual flours, but for now, I am making my life and trying to help you make your holiday season simply gluten free!

A small white plate with five decorated gluten free chai cookies and more on a plattr

Is Chai tea gluten free?

Black tea leaves themselves do not contain gluten. However, the question comes with both tea bags and flavorings added to teas.

Some brands use a paste containing wheat to seal their tea bags. However, this is the case for most of the major brands you’ll commonly find in stores, such as Tetley, Lipton, Bigelow, Yogi, and more that you’ll find on this list.

The other thing to consider is the flavorings added to teas such as Chai, which could have barley malt and other gluten-containing ingredients in the flavorings.

So you will want to read the labels and opt for brans that use pure spices versus the flavorings. Bigelow Chai Tea Bags and Stash Loose Leaf Tea are a couple of option that you can use in these cookies.

Decorated gluten free sugar cookies stacked in a decorative serving platter

How to Make Gluten Free Chai Cookies

Gather up your ingredients and get ready for a fun, delicious, and aroma-filled afternoon of baking and decorating. Then brew your self a cup of tea to enjoy with a few of these gluten free sugar cookies with Chai spice!

Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!

What do you need for gluten free chai sugar cookies?

For the cookies:

Ingredients to make gluten free chai cookies on a tabletop
  • 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour – there are many of these types of blends available now. I most often use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Blend, but Pillsbury works well and many people recommend the Cup 4 Cup brand.
  • Baking powder – most brands of baking powder you find in the grocery store are gluten free, such as Clabber Girl and Bob’s Red Mill. But do check the labels since there are brands that use wheat starch.
  • Salt
  • Chai tea bag or leaves – you’ll need the contents of one Chai tea bag or about 1 teaspoon of loose leaf Chai tea. If you are using loose leaf tea, chop it fine or crush it in your fingers.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg
  • Pure vanilla extract

For the royal icing:

Ingredients to make Chai royal icing on a tabletop
  • Boiling water
  • Chai tea bag or leaves – see the note above
  • Powdered sugar – in order to prevent caking, some brands add a starch to their powdered sugar. While this is most often cornstarch and does not contain gluten, you will want to confirm.
  • Meringue powder – I provide more information in my recipe for Peppermint Meringues. But while the ingredients in meringue powder are typically gluten free, not all brands manufacture in dedicated gluten free facilities. So beware if cross-contamination is a risk for you.
  • Pure vanilla extract

And don’t forget festive sprinkles, sparkling sugar, or any other holiday decorations you’d like to add to your gluten free Chai cookies.

Directions

These cookies are made mush as you’d expect. Whisk together your dry ingredients, including the tea. If you use a wire mesh sieve, crumble and press any tea leaves that don’t go through easily.

Cream the butter and sugar, blend in the egg and vanilla, then slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

The dough may appear a bit crumbly at first, but work it until it comes together and you’ll end up with a gluten free sugar cookie dough flecked with little bits of tea. Work it together into a ball, cover, and chill for an hour.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Dough flecked with bits of Chai tea in the bowl of a stand mixer

Dust your work surface and rolling pin with gluten free flour, the roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness, or even a bit thicker if needed so that the dough holds together.

Cut out with cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake at 325°F for 10-15 minutes, rotating once halfway through until the cookies are lightly golden. They will not brown quite as much as regular cookies, so be careful not to overbake them. Cool on racks.

Now you’ll make the royal icing. Brew a tea bag in boiling water, then beat tea, powdered sugar, meringue powder, and vanilla extract for 5-10 minutes or until it forms glossy ribbons.

Adjust the thickness of your frosting as needed. More powdered sugar will thicken it to be able to pipe it. More tea will thin it out for spreading or flooding.

Pipe, frost, drizzle, sprinkle, sparkle, and enjoy!

A cooling rach with cut out sugar cookies decorated with frosting and sprinkle sin Christmas colors

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make the dough ahead?

Yes, you can make the cookie dough several hours or even a day in advance. Just cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. You will need to let it warm up slightly to be able to roll out the dough.

How do you store gluten free gluten free sugar cookies?

The Chai cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to a week if sealed well in an airtight container.

Can they be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze them for up to two months. You can freeze them before you have decorated them, but then you will have to decorate each cookie individually.

Or freeze them after decorating. Since the royal icing dried hard, you can gently place them in a plastic freezer storage bag. Press out all of the air before sealing. Then place the bag in a cookie tin or plastic storage container. This helps keep them from getting crushed and broken while you have them in the freezer.

They thaw quite quickly at room temperature.

Cookies in the shapes of stars. stockings, and Christmas trees on a rectangular platter
Tablet displaying cover of Simple Gluten Free Holiday Cookies and Candies eBook

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Cookies in the shapes of stars. stockings, and Christmas trees on a fancy serving tray

Cut-Out Gluten Free Chai Cookies with Chai Royal Icing

Give your classic cut-out sugar cookie recipe a hint of warm spices like a Chai tea latte. So festive for Christmas!
Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 15 mins
Chilling time 1 hr
Servings: 36 cookies (approximately, varies based on the size of your cookie cutters)

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour (recommended: Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • contents of one Chai tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf Chai tea (chopped or crushed a bit in your fingers)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing (see below) or other icing/frosting
  • Sprinkles, colored sugar, luster dust, turbinado sugar, as desired

For the royal icing:

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • one Chai tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf Chai tea
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

For the cookies:

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and contents of tea bag together into a bowl.
  • In another bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium to high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined.
  • Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together. It may appear a bit crumbly so you may need to work it together with your hands a bit after it is fully blended.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • Dust your work surface and rolling pin with the gluten free flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll out to a little over 1/4-inch thickness (thick enough that it does not break apart) on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes and carefully transfer them to a prepared baking sheet
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden, rotating the sheet about halfway through baking.
  • Cool the cookies and frost with royal icing. Decorate with sprinkles, sugar, etc., as desired

For the royal icing:

  • Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the Chai tea and brew for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea bag and cool to room temperature (slightly warmer is OK, too).
  • Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, combine the sugar and meringue powder.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the brewed tea and vanilla extract, and beat on medium to high speed for 5-10 minutes, or until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  • Add more tea or powdered sugar, if needed, to get the desired consistency for spreading, piping, or flooding. The icing is a good consistency for spreading or flooding when you lift the beater and it makes a ribbon that stays on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing.
Nutrition Facts
Cut-Out Gluten Free Chai Cookies with Chai Royal Icing
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 95 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 11mg4%
Sodium 43mg2%
Potassium 9mg0%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 85IU2%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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