Thanks to everyone for all of the compliments and words of encouragement on my wedding photos. It really warms my heart to know that you’re all happy for us and that you enjoyed the pictures. It was a magnificent day and I still think about it all the time.
I also think about baked goods all the time (or at least a lot of the time). When I saw these chai bars floating around, I knew I had to make them my own. If you’re not familiar with chai, you should really bake these because you’ll love them. Chai is an Indian drink that, these days, comes in many forms. The word “chai” actually means tea in many different parts of the world, and what people get when they ask for a chai now is what is actually masala chai, which was originally a tea brewed with tea leaves, milk, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Lots of coffee houses in America also brew chai lattes, which replaces espresso with the tea in a latte, or dirty chais, which are a combination of the tea and the latte with espresso. However you prefer your masala chai, it’s rich and creamy and absolutely delicious. The spices make it unlike anything you would normally get at your local coffeehouse, but I guarantee you’ll be able to get a chai anywhere you go. These cookie bars incorporate many of the same spices you’d find in a chai, but I had to make some substitutions because I didn’t have all of the traditional spices. I did a bit of research and came up with what I thought would be the most similar in taste. For example, I used garam masala in place of cardamom because garam masala actually has cardamom in it. These bars are very similar to a gingerbread bar in taste, but there’s a little something different about them that lets you know that they are indeed chai. The glaze is made simply with powdered sugar and honey and it’s the perfect partner for the chai cookie bars. My favorite part about these, of course, is the fact that it’s a one bowl recipe (aside from the glaze), so there’s minimal clean up involved! If you’re a member of BlogHer, check out this featured post there!
Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Beat in the flour, spices, and salt until just combined, finishing up by hand if necessary.
Press the dough into your greased and/or lined 9x13x2 pan. I found it easiest to use my hands because the dough is the same consistency of cookie dough.
Bake the bars in a 350 degree F oven for 22-25 minutes, until they not longer wiggle when gently shaken and are a light brown. Allow to cool before frosting.
Beat together the honey and powdered sugar, then add in milk a tablespoon at a time until the glaze is the consistency that you like.
Pour the glaze over the bars and spread with a spatula.
I thought that they looked kind of boring, so I added sprinkles. Who doesn’t want to eat something that’s got colorful sprinkles on it?
Enjoy! I made these for LOST night last week and they seemed to be a big hit.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark or light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons milk (start with 2 tablespoons, add more as needed)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease and/or line a 9x13x2 pan. Beat together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the egg and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- No need to combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, just add in the flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, garam masala, cloves, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg and beat gently until everything is thoroughly combined. Don't over-mix, though. If everything isn't quite coming together in your mixer, finish it up by hand.
- The dough will be very similar to a cookie dough, so I found it easiest to press it into the prepared pan by hand. Don't worry if it looks thin, it'll puff up when baking. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes, until the dough no longer wiggles when gently shaken and the dough is a very light brown. Allow to cool completely before finishing up with the glaze.
- To make the glaze, combine the three tablespoons of honey and powdered sugar, then beat together until combined. Add in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the icing is a consistency that you like. Pour the glaze over the bars and allow to set (this can be sped up by putting the bars in the fridge, as I did).