Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles

Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles

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There were so many alluring aspects to this recipe that I just had to give it a try. I’d been to yoga, Juliet & I had already gotten haircuts, the rain was steady, and all signs pointed to cookies. We already love snickerdoodles around here (except for that first time I tried to make some a few years ago, when something went terribly wrong with the flavor and they had a disturbing aftertaste), and the idea of adding chai spices was intriguing. Then I saw they contained apple butter instead of regular, and my preferred flour (whole wheat white), and my mind was made up, despite the Meyer lemons and blood oranges in the fridge awaiting their moment in the spotlight. Chai. Spiced. Snickerdoodles. It was like a siren song.

I hereby present the ingredients.

ingredients assembled

Maple syrup? Apple butter? Cardamon? What? After swapping cane sugar in for white, the only other substitution I made was regular milk for almond milk, since I’m not vegan. (I know some delightful vegans, but I personally would starve to death if I didn’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy.)

Dry ingredients were first. Whole wheat white flour, baking soda, a dash of salt, and cinnamon. I was supposed to use half a teaspoon, but I heaped it a little.

heaping half teaspoon of cinnamon

I whisked that together, then got a second bowl out for the liquid ingredients. Apple butter was first, then sugar (not liquid, actually), maple syrup, and milk.

liquid ingredients, not yet mixed

I mixed that well, then added the vanilla and mixed again.

with vanilla

It all melded together nicely, the sugar dissolved, the syrup relaxed. I poured in the dry ingredients.

pouring in the flour mixture

And then there was batter.


I was almost ready for the next phase, but I needed to create the coating. In one of my favorite glass bowls, I whisked together cane sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cardamom. I also spilled some cinnamon onto the counter. A little.

sugar and spice coating

Then things got interesting. Perplexingly (at first), the directions said to “lightly spray hands with nonstick spray” as if that were a perfectly normal instruction. I may not have been at this for long, but I have never, ever been told to use spray on my own hands before.

I did it anyway.

Turned out it was absolutely necessary. The dough was sticky, but with the spray on my hands, I was able to roll it into one-inch balls and coat it with the sugar & spice mixture without much difficulty. I had to wash up and re-spray about halfway through each tray, It felt a little odd every time I reapplied the spray to my hands, but I went with it.

cookie dough on tray

I baked them for about 12 minutes, I kept looking for brown around the edges but didn’t really find it, so I used my instincts and just did what felt right.

cookies cooling on tray

I let them cool on the tray for five minutes, then moved them to a wire rack.

cookies cooling on rack

These cookies fascinate me. They’re sort of like candy-cookies. They’re crisp, almost chewy-crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, sweet with just enough spice to be interesting but not too much to overpower. The kids like them too. Nathaniel was trying to guess what the spices were; he got ginger but wasn’t familiar with cardamom, so I filled in the blanks for him and now he knows a new spice. I got 40 out of the batch, by the way.

cookies on plate

You know what’s also amazing about these? They are only ONE P+ on Weight Watchers. ONE. One!


My version of Chai Spiced Snickerdoodles (adapted from Ari’s Menu)


2 cups whole wheat white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup apple butter
scant 3/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons 1% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the coating:

1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch cloves
pinch ground nutmeg


Heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, beat the apple butter, sugar, maple syrup and milk until well mixed. Add the vanilla, and mix.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and mix until well combined.

Whisk (or use a fork to combine) the spices together for the coating in a wide, shallow bowl.

Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray, then roll the dough by hand into one-inch balls. Roll in the sugar mixture to coat thoroughly, then move to a baking sheet. Place the cookies far enough apart that they can spread a little.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 12) and then let them sit on the tray for an additional five minutes before moving to a wire rack.

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