Gluten-free Chai Snickerdoodles

I can become fixated, especially when it comes to flavors.  I'll fixate on a flavor or flavor combination and then need to see what I can do with it by making numerous items. Lately that obsession has been chai.

I've never been a coffee or tea drinker. The hot drinks I like are hot chocolate and cider. About a year ago, though, I saw a Chai Hot Chocolate up on a menu board and decided to try it out. After all, I was always putting cinnamon and nutmeg in my cocoas anyway. After that discovery I switched to ordering chocolate chai lattes when I was at a coffee bar. Six weeks ago I decided that I needed to cut down on the sugar and so I started to order just chai lattes without the chocolate. That is my current hot drink.

It then occurred to me one day that snickerdoodle cookies are rolled in cinnamon sugar and so it wasn't that much of a leap to think of chai snickerdoodles. I was all proud of myself until I decided to search the internet and found out that other people had already had that thought. Oh well.
I decided to make these chai snickerdoodles for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Over 600 food bloggers joined this global(?) event. You had to bake three dozen cookies and mail a dozen to three other bloggers. In return you received three dozen cookies as well. As of this writing, I've received two out of three of mine.

When you make these chai snickerdoodles and eat them fresh out of the oven you will think that there's hardly any chai at all. For some reason the cinnamon is very pronounced when the cookies are fresh. But as the chai snickerdoodles cool down and even sit for a day, the chai flavor develops in strength. It's one of those recipes where the flavor develops with age. It wasn't until the next day that I could really pick out the ginger and cardamom flavors.

I should also point out that the first time I made these was with Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-free Flour. I wanted to see how well the flour performed. The chai snickerdoodles came out nicely puffed with a great set of snickerdoodle cracks on top. The second time I used my own blend, linked in the recipe.

adapted from

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup trans-free shortening
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

3 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, pepper, and xantham gum. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium speed. Beat until creamed together well.
Add the eggs, one at a time beating after each addition and scraping down the sides with a spatula. Add the egg yolk and beat again. Add the vanilla and beat again.
Pour in the spice mixture from the small bowl and mix well.
Add the flour and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, mix together the  sugar and cinnamon to roll the dough in.
Roll 1 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1” balls into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on the baking sheets about 2” apart.
Bake for 12 minutes of until the tops of the cookies start to crack a little. Try not to over bake them, but don’t underbake them either. You want them them to crack on top, but not to look to dark brown. Let them cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then move them to a rack to cool.