Recipe Review

I Tried Taylor Swift’s Chai Sugar Cookies and Each Bite Wrapped My Senses with Cozy Holiday Vibez

published Dec 8, 2022
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Credit: Justine Lee

There have been many chapters in my life that helped me realize that food might be a good career path. But the moment I really should have known was when I found myself unable to stop thinking about Taylor Swift’s chai sugar cookies.

For many of my fellow Swifties, these cookies are quite legendary. The recipe made its grand entrance sometime around 2014, when Taylor Swift posted a very circa-2014 Instagram picture of the cookie with the caption: “Chai sugar cookies with cinnamon eggnog icing aka Christmas in September.” On her Tumblr account, she then posted the recipe handwritten in swooping, sloping, cursive letters. From there, the chai sugar cookies became a string throughout Swift’s 1989 era. And like any of the songs from 1989 and her entire discography, Taylor Swift’s chai sugar cookies are never not stuck in my head.

Before we go any further, let me clarify. I’ve thought about these cookies for years, but I had actually never made them before. My favorite things to bake at home are snack cakes, brownies, and maybe the occasional sourdough loaf. I go to the bakery (or someone else’s house) for cookies. Even Taylor’s handwritten instructions, however enchanting, couldn’t turn me into a cookie maker. But recently, after falling further down the TS cookie rabbit hole (with the new Midnights album on loop), it jogged my memory that the cookies were adapted from a sugar cookie recipe by Joy the Baker, who’s a superstar in her own right. Call it what you want, but I suddenly felt the urge to give these cookies a try once and for all.

Credit: Justine Lee

How to Make Taylor Swift’s Chai Sugar Cookies

Nothing about this recipe is particularly innovative from a technique perspective. Taylor admitted this herself, saying in her Tumblr post: “This is a recipe for basic insanely good sugar cookies. I added the chai element to the recipe because I thought it would infuse cozy holiday vibez into the cookie and it really did.”

To make the base cookie dough, whip together softened butter with vegetable oil. Into the liquid fat mixture, add granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and a bag of chai (or a chai spice blend). Next, crack in eggs and pour in vanilla extract. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture using a spatula until just combined. At this point, the batter will still be really soft. And that’s OK — it needs to chill out in the fridge.

Portion out chilled dough (either one or two tablespoons will do), then shape into thick disks. Roll each disk in cinnamon sugar and space out on a baking sheet before sending them into the oven. To prepare the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, ground nutmeg, and eggnog until thick and spreadable. (And feel free to lick the spoon because it’s pure holiday bliss.)

Top each cooled cookie with glaze, focusing mainly on the center. Finally, and this is perhaps optional, sprinkle with ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon. According to this TikTok, Taylor sprinkles too much cinnamon when she’s too excited for the chilly weather.

My Honest Review of Taylor Swift’s Chai Sugar Cookies

It took me and my roommate about four listens to “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) to devour these cookies. They’re that good. Each sugar cookie is flat but maintains a soft belly with good crispy edges. Adding equal parts granulated sugar and powdered sugar is an ingenious trick that lends a sensational but subtle melt-in-your-mouth quality. Let’s not forget about the chai element! I can safely confirm every bite into the warm, spice-packed, gorgeously glazed cookie wrapped my senses with cozy holiday vibez.

Credit: Justine Lee

A Few Tips for Making Taylor Swift’s Chai Sugar Cookies

  • Don’t overwork the dough. This is one of the mistakes to avoid when making any sugar cookie. Mixing dry ingredients just until streaks of flour are gone ensures the final cookie retains tenderness and prevents dry-out.
  • Chill the dough for longer. Both Taylor and Joy call for chilling the dough, be it in the fridge or in the freezer, but neither one calls for enough time. I found it was easier to scoop and shape the dough after a longer rest in the fridge.
  • Go the store-bought route. Artists, bakers, busy home cooks — we all have moments when we’re too preoccupied to bake from scratch. Luckily, Taylor has sung the praises of a quick and fully store-bought shortcut to her beloved cookies. Prepare sugar cookie mix according to package directions, dump in the contents of a chai packet, and bake it off. Talk about a state of grace.