I have always been a fan of chai teas and often use the warm and spicy flavors found in masala chai for for inspiration when I’m looking for a way to spice things up in baking. Chai Snickerdoodles, for instance, are a favorite variation on classic snickerdoodles in my kitchen.
These scones are loaded with chai spices and have a very warm, satisfying flavor as a result. The spices I used include cinnamon, ginger, allspices, cardamom, coriander and nutmeg. You’ll get the best flavor if you check the dates on your spices to make sure they’re all fresh. The scones themselves are slightly crisp on the outside, and soft and tender inside. They are also full of small pieces of candied ginger that add even more spice to each bite. You can taste the butter right alongside all of those spices, and a hint of almond extract seems to brighten up all of the flavors. The scones are not too sweet, so I finished them off with a little cream cheese glaze.
Don’t be fooled by the long ingredient list for this recipe. The scones are no more difficult to make than any other scones, they simply include a lot of spices for flavor. I prefer to rub the butter in by hand when mixing up scone dough so I get a flakier finished product, but you can also mix this up by pulsing the butter into the flour mixture in the food processor. The glaze is optional, but adds a nice sweetness to the scones and gives them a polished look before serving. If you want to skip it, serve these scones with butter, jam or softened cream cheese – and perhaps a cup of chai tea, too!
Chai Spice Scones with Candied Ginger
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 10-12 pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all spices. Add the cold butter and toss to coat, then rub the butter in with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until mixture is slightly sandy looking and there are no pieces of butter bigger than a pea remaining.
Mix together milk and almond extract, then add to flour mixture. Stir until dough just starts to come together. Stir in candied ginger. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky, not dry. If it is dry, add an additional tablespoon or two of milk and mix until the dough comes together.
On a very lightly floured surface, pat dough into a large circle about 3/4 to 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges and arrange on baking sheet, allowing room to spread.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until scones are lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before glazing.
Cream Cheese Glaze
2 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
additional candied ginger, for topping
For the glaze: Beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk until very smooth. Transfer to a small ziploc bag, snip off the corner and drizzle glaze on top of scones. Top with additional pieces of candied ginger, if desired.