Chai-Iced Pumpkin Cookies

I’d like to take a moment to talk to you about a serious addiction I had many, many years ago. Absurd amounts of money went towards supporting my habit. I would indulge at least once—and sometimes twice—a day. I’d sneak away during lunch breaks to get a fix. I even tried to drag my friends and co-workers into my world of obsession.

My addiction: Starbucks Pumpkin Chai Lattes. I know everyone is all about the pumpkin espresso lattes as soon as fall hits, but I’m telling you, pumpkin chai lattes are where it’s at. Imagine drinking a warm cup of extra-spicy pumpkin panna cotta—it’s that good. I’m going to stop myself right here before I go full throttle on the latte love, because this post is about cookies, not lattes!

Point is, I’ve become quite the coffee and tea snob since I moved to Vermont a few years ago. I turn my nose up at coffee that isn’t roasted locally. I want nothing to do with chai that comes from a box. I know, I know—groan if you must, but it’s an unavoidable side effect of having a barista brother who also roasts coffee at a local shop, and a boyfriend who manages the café at another. (I even feel the need to put the acute accent on the “e” in “café”—it’s that bad.) If it’s any consolation, I still load my coffee up with cream and sugar, so there’s hope that I may not become completely insufferable!

Wait, am I still not talking about cookies? The real point is, I still crave that delicious pumpkin and chai combination. And if it works in drinks, it must work in baked goods as well, no? Yes. The answer is definitely “yes!”

I chose a more cake-like cookie for this recipe because it reminded me of the iced apple cookies my mother makes. And they are indeed very, very similar—in both texture and deliciousness. Just a warning: the icing can be a bit intense when it covers the entire top of the cookies. So if you like something that’s slightly less sweet, I’d suggest drizzling the icing over top, rather than dipping the cookie directly into it.

Chai-Iced Pumpkin Cookies
(adapted from Allrecipes)

yield: around 3 dozen

Cookies

  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup of butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing

  • 2 cups of confectionery sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 chai tea bag

Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until creamy, then mix in dry ingredients until well-combined.

If you batter seems a bit soft, stick it in the fridge for about half an hour (I had to do this). When ready, drop tablespoons of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for 15–20 minutes, or until they begin to have just a hint of golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool complete before frosting.

For the icing: Melt butter in a saucepan and add milk. Steep chai tea bag in the liquid for 5 minutes, then discard. Combine together with sugar, vanilla, and milk, and mix until a smooth icing forms.

Dip the cookies if you have a real sweet tooth, or drizzle the icing over top with a fork if you’d like to dial it back a little. Try to avoid immediately packing a ton of them into a bag in order to deliver them to a friend, like I did. (Big tasty mess!)

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Comments

  1. says

    The pumpkin and chai combo sounds fantastic. Also, your glaze is perfect! I feel like I always struggle with getting just the right consistency for glaze–not too runny or too thick. Lovely! Thanks for this.

    • says

      Thank you, Autumn! I actually have the same problem with glazes (they’re always too runny), but I lucked out with this one! I am definitely making note of the ratio of dry ingredients to liquid, and keeping that in mind for future glazing.

  2. Holly says

    One of the best recipes I’ve tried in a long time. My husband could not stop eating them! They are almost more like a scone than a cookie, which made it even more starbucksish. Tasted so yummy on a cool fall day :)

  3. says

    I found your blog through pinterest. Your writing is so cute!! I love how you kept on getting off subject. :) And this recipe looks devine. I wonder if I could make it gluten-free? Or at least wheat-free? Maybe a g-free flour mix or some spelt flour (I know, it’s not gluten-free, but it’s les glutenous that flour!). Anyway, hopefully I can figure these out because they look PERFECT!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Claire! :) I think you should totally be able to make these with a gluten-free flour mix, and by adding in either xanthum or guar gum. (I don’t have too much experience with gluten-free baking, but I do know the addition of gum is necessary to replicate the binding properties of gluten. And Allrecipes says to add at least one 1 tsp of gum for every cup of GF flour. Their little bit on GF flour subbing actually seems pretty helpful!)

      Good luck! Let me know how they turn out. :)

      Oooo and side note: I just discovered pinterest, and set up an account this morning. I think it may wind up being my new favorite thing!

  4. Desiree says

    These are amazing! I found your blog on Foodgawker and being a huge fan of pumpkin and “real” chai tea I just had to try them. I am not much of a baker but these were a success!

  5. Heather Pearman says

    My son and I made these cookies tonight. We followed the recipe exactly and these cookies honestly taste even better than they look. AMAZING!!!!
    Thank you so much

  6. Christy says

    Starbucks sells Pumpkin Chai Lattes? Really? I’ve been addicted to the Vanilla Chais there forever, but do they really have pumpkin? I’ve never seen them before! I see a new addiction coming on…and probably with these cookies too! About to start baking! Thanks! :)

    • says

      Hi Christy! They definitely should. (I doubt it’s a regional thing—everybody loves pumpkin!) They don’t advertise the pumpkin chai, but they use a pumpkin syrup for their pumpkin spice lattes that they can add to other drinks as well. I kind of like to imagine that I invented the pumpkin chai (though I’m sure I didn’t). The first dozen times I ordered it, I had to really explain what I wanted, which led to some pretty quizzical looks. A couple baristas even asked, “so, is that really good?” (I’m not sure if I convinced them or frightened them with my wide-eyed response of “OH MY GOD IT’S THE BEST THING EVER.”) If I recall correctly, their pumpkin syrup supply is seasonal (and soon overtaken by peppermint) so definitely track one down while you can! And I hope you enjoy the cookies. :)

  7. says

    wow, you are AWESOME. I didn’t even have to miss a beat in making the recipe, thanks to your quick response! I really appreciate that! And, the cookies are delicious! you are totally right about needing to give some away before you eat the entire batch. :)

  8. says

    These look and sound wonderful! I, too, have an addiction to pumpkin-chai tea latte. Warms my heart and soul. So I’m excited to make this recipe today. I’m wondering – what are your thoughts on preparing the batter and refrigerating or freezing it? I’d like to bring them to Thanksgiving dinner but it would be so convenient if I could make the batter now and just toss them in the oven… I know that with most cookies, you can just scoop ‘em out and freeze ‘em but I’m not sure about the pumpkin… Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • says

      Hi Giselle! I think refrigerating or freezing the batter would work just fine. Since they’d only need to wait about 24 hours, I’d suggest just leaving them in the fridge so you can pop them right in the oven tomorrow. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  9. says

    Wow. Not only does this recipe sound absolutely divine, but your photos are incredible!! They make the cookies look even that much more appetizing. Next weekend I am heading to a gluten-free cookie swap and I’ve been trying to find a recipe that is special and will make people realize how delicious baking gluten-free can be. I think I’ve found my ticket!! I cannot WAIT to try these amazing cookies :) Keep the fabulous gluten-free recipes coming!

  10. Monique Matthews says

    It should be illegal for cookies to be this good!! I’m making them for a friend as a get well present but it’s so hard to keep my hands off of them, lol. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  11. Nancy in NJ says

    The weather in NJ definitely has that autumnal feel and so, since tomorrow is officially the first day of fall, I’m going to give these a try. They look and sound delicious. Is there any reason that a Masala Chai tea bag would not work? I’m not sure if there’s a difference between Masala and others. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Nancy! Masala chai is perfect. I think they’re all pretty much the same (or similar at least). Enjoy the cookies, and the beautiful fall weather!

      • Nancy in NJ says

        Thanks, Carey. They were a huge hit and have certainly made the permanent list. Soft and scrumptious and full of fallishness! (Is that a word?!)

  12. Amy says

    I made these today and they were EXCELLENT! Now, mine didn’t look flat like those in the picture. They were dome shaped and bumpy, but it worked great for hanging on to the icing. They are sort of the texture of a scone and wonderful with a cup of coffee!

  13. Rebekah says

    I came across these on Pintrest and just tried them out. They are sooooo good! How did you get yours so round? Mine came out more like biscuits, very tasty biscuits.

    • says

      Interesting! Just the other day another person mentioned a similar issue — saying they turned out bumpy and scone-like. I’m looking over the ingredients, and the only thing I can think of is that the butter needs to be softer, and/or perhaps they needed a bit more mixing. (Since the texture of biscuits and scones usually results from a dough that still contains butter bits and isn’t super kneaded and smooth.) I always really cream the bejesus out of butter and sugar, and then beat everything in until the batter is quite smooth. I hope this helps, Rebekah!

  14. Fran says

    These are AMAZING! Best icing I ever had and the actual cookies came out perfectly as well. Thank you for this lovely recipe!

  15. Nellie says

    I’ve been making this recipe in its original form from allrecipes.com for a while. I like the chai twist to it. I also added 1/2 t each of cardamom, ginger, and allspice to give the cookie dough more of a chai flavor. Thank you for the great idea!

  16. Teresa says

    I used this recipie several times before tonight . . . and I’m making three batches (like right now!!) for the upcoming holiday weekend. This time I’ll try them thinner and make lil chai frosting sandwiches. like whoopie pies! so excited. SO many YUMMIES!! Thanks for sharing heaven with yer fellow chai freaks. XD

    • says

      Hi Laura! I’m not sure these would freeze very well, as they’re a rather soft cookie. But if you do happen to give it a try, let me know how it turns out.

  17. Antonia says

    A little late to the party – just made these this weekend. They’re awesome!!!
    To be honest, was drawn to the recipe for two reasons 1. I’m a pumpkin junkie in the fall 2. M&M’s made pumpkin spice for the fall – and they taste like Chai…
    So I drizzled the chai frosting – and – made a chocolate frosting and drizzled that too (ala M&Ms) – yummy!

      • Antonia says

        Yes! Only available at a big box store that often features a dog in their advertising… Completely sold out in my area – but these cookies are filling in nicely!

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