Chai triggers an emotional response for me. It is a source of comfort and joy, but it also triggers memories of my father. My father loved chai. I mean my mother got so tired of making chai for him that she taught the art at a very young age. And with chai comes the requisite hard, crunchy biscuit that you must dip into the hot liquid. The best part of the biscuit is when it has been dunked, and is still crunchy but has softened the tiniest bit and soaked up all that delicious spice from the chai.
When I had my first biscotti many years ago, I knew I’d found my new chai dunking favorite. Its crunchy, is chewy, it’s light, and the flavors are endless. And recently, I set out to infuse my favorite dunker with my love for chai. I was sure that google would find me a recipe that combined the two and it did. The only problem was, the biscotti was missing something: the actual chai flavor. So I started experimenting with different combinations, until I tasted this version. I was transported back to day my dad snuck me my first sip of chai. I knew I’d finally figured it out! The secret is the actual tea leaves that are used to make chai. I used the kind that my father liked and the one I use to this day. This box is a staple in most Indian homes and can be found in most Indian grocery stores. I ground it (using a coffee grinder that I have just to grind spices) with the rest of the spices used for making masaala chai and then ran it through a fine mesh sieve so the biscotti is infused with the flavor without actually having to bite into big chunks of spice. That would not be very pleasant.Biscotti itself is an Italian cookie that is often served with coffee. It is crunchy, crisp, and meant to be dipped in a hot beverage. Some people firmly believe that biscotti should not have any oil or butter. I think that fat should be added only if it will enhance the flavor of the biscotti. In this biscotti, I used coconut oil for its sweet, subtle undertones, which pair so wonderfully with the almonds and pistachios I added.
It is baked, cut, then baked again until it is golden brown and crispy. A twice baked cookie. When cutting the biscotti, use a sharp serrated knife or better yet a good quality pizza cutter. Because it’s still brittle at this point, apply gentle pressure when cutting otherwise the biscotti will crumble. Then, cut side up, put it back in the oven to harden, for just a few more minutes . When they are completely cool, I did a very light glaze. A cinnamon ginger glaze, mmmmmmmm. It hardens and blends into the biscotti but it adds so much flavor.Print
- 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp good quality vanilla
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8–10 green cardamom pods
- 5–7 whole cloves
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp anise seed (substitute with anise extract if not available)
- 2 tsp whole black pepper
- 2 tbsp black tea leaves (cut open two teabags if you don’t have any loose tea)
- 1/4 cup toasted, shelled pistachios (optional)
- 1/4 cup toasted, and slivered almonds (optional)
- for glaze:
- 1/2 cup sifted, powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- 1–2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a coffee grinder, process cinnamon, cardamon pods, cloves, black pepper, anise seed, and tea leaves to a fine powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift flour, salt and baking soda. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift in the ground spices, making sure large pieces are not incorporated into the flour. Add in almonds and pistachios.
- In a separate bowl, whisk coconut oil into eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
- Combine egg mixture and flour mixture, stirring slowly until dough come comes together. Divide into two even parts.
- Form the dough into a log the length of the cookie sheet (do this on the cookie sheet so it’s easier) and flatten into a rectangle to 1/2 inch thickness using a rolling pin.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- When the biscotti is completely cool, using a sharp, serrated knife or pizza cutter, cut into 1/2 inch slices. Bake for another 5-6 minutes, cut side up, until biscotti is golden brown.
- Prepare the glaze: In a bowl, combine powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger powder. Drizzle in milk, one tbsp at a time, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. The glaze should not be runny like water but it should also not be thick like cookie batter. Add more milk, 1 tbsp at a time to achieve desired consistency.
- Once biscotti is completely cool, drizzle glaize over the pieces and let it harden.
- Store in airtight container.