Continuing the sugar cookie obsession Vegan Brown Sugar Chai Cookies! These cookies are chewy in the center and soft all around from the brown sugar. With only 1 bowl & 1 hour of chill time required, these vegan spice cookies are a truly comforting dessert to enjoy alongside a warm Chai Tea!
If you’ve been following SGTO, you know that 2020 is ALL about the vegan sugar cookies. To give you a little overview, so far we’ve made Vegan Funfetti Cookies, Earl Grey Cookies, Lemon Cookies, Matcha Cookies, Orange Cardamom Cookies, and Coconut Lime Cookies, and Cinnamon Roll Cookies. Yes, my freezer is basically a mini cookie shop by this point!Given that white sugar has gotten ALL the attention lately, I figured it’d be fun to give brown sugar it’s time to shine.
Brown sugar contains more moisture than white sugar due to the molasses, so these cookies are softer than my other sugar cookie recipes. However, they still have a perfectly chewy center and lots of flavor from Chai spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and a dash of black pepper.
Tips to make chai brown sugar cookies
By this point, I’d say we are all becoming experts at baking vegan cookies! However, there are a few tips & tricks to create perfectly round, soft, and chewy eggless brown sugar cookies.
Always cream butter and brown sugar
This is a step I follow in most of my cookie recipes, but it’s just as important to do when using brown sugar vs. white sugar. The butter and sugar will look a little more wet after creaming than white sugar (see below for photo reference), but it will still end up fluffier.
Cream Chai spices into butter
Another fun tip- always cream your spices with the sugar and butter! The fat from the butter actually does the best job holding onto flavor and infusing it throughout the dough.
Make sure to use fresh baking powder & baking soda
Did you cookies spread too much and not rise at all? This is likely because your baking soda and baking powder are not fresh and are no longer working. Baking powder, even the small amount we’re using, gives these cookies their fluff factor while baking soda helps them spread and get chewy. Here is my favorite article on How to test if your baking powder & baking soda are still fresh.
Always bake on parchment paper
This is one of my BEST tips for evenly cooked cookies with NO burnt bottoms. Parchment paper not only prevents cookies from sticking to the pan, but it actually helps cookie bottoms bake evenly without burning. I personally prefer using If You Care Parchment Paper since it is compostable. I do want to note, I never recommend baking cookies on aluminum foil or tinfoil. Cookies baking on foil will cook faster, the bottoms may burn, and they will spread too fast and end up super thin.
If you don’t have parchment paper, just lightly grease an aluminum baking tray instead. The cookies may spread a bit more, but it still works!
Roll in white sugar before baking (optional)
Like many of my vegan sugar cookie recipes, I decided to roll these brown sugar cookies in granulated sugar before baking. Granulated sugar helps to dry out the outer surface of the dough faster while baking which gives it that desirable “crinkly” appearance and it looks pretty after baking too!
This step will NOT work with brown sugar (it’s too high in moisture), so just skip if you do not have white granulated sugar.
Chill the dough & don’t flatten before baking
Since these vegan spice cookies have more moisture than cookies made with white sugar, they really need at least 1 hour of chill time in the fridge. Also, they spread a decent amount, which is why I do not recommend pressing the dough to flatten before baking.
Tap & Scoot for crinkly round cookies
Once the cookies are out of the oven, they may look a little puffy. Just tap the tray on the counters to help them deflate and produce a more crinkly cookie.
Also, for perfectly round cookies, use a round cookie cutter that is slightly larger than the cookie and swirl the cookies around inside until round. It’s important to do this step right after the vegan chai cookies come out of the oven and are still warm.
FAQ & Substitutions:
Do these cookies work with alternative sugars?
I haven’t tried it, but they might work! If you do use an alternative sugar like coconut or maple sugar, it’s important to keep in mind the cookies will not be as sweet and they will not spread as much. As mentioned, brown sugar is a high moisture sugar so it’s pretty unique!
Also, I do not recommend rolling the cookies in any sugar other than granulated white sugar.
I don’t have all the spices, is that okay?
Yes! The spices are really just here for flavor and do not add to the texture/structure of the cookie. You can omit them completely for more simple vegan brown sugar cookies. Alternatively, you could always experiment by subbing in other spices. Nutmeg, allspice, and cloves could all taste wonderful in these cookies!
How do I store leftover cookies?
Leftover chai cookies will keep in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for 7 days, and in the freezer up to 1 month. My preferred way is always to store cookies in the freezer as it helps them maintain their chewy texture!
My cookies spread too much// not enough- help!
This could be due to a few things:
- Not measuring flour properly. Make sure to spoon the flour into a measuring cup or, better yet, just measure in grams! Here is the affordable Escali kitchen scale I use. Too much flour leads to cookies that don’t spread enough and too little flour leads to cookies that spread too much.
- Baking soda/ baking powder is old or inactive. Always make sure to test your baking powder and baking soda before using!
- Not chilling the dough. If you do not chill the dough, it’s highly likely the cookies will spread too much. I recommend chilling this dough for 1 hour!
I can’t wait for you to all start baking these soft, chewy, & absolutely delicious Vegan Brown Sugar Chai Cookies! They’re so perfect to make for all the Holidays coming up and honestly would even make a great gift for friends. Enjoy!
Looking for even more vegan desserts for Fall? Check out these SGTO favorites!
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance sticks, see notes on Miyokos butter)
- 1/2 cup+ 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar (106 grams, I used a mix of dark and light brown sugar)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (dried)
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (dried)
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (dried)
- 1/8 tsp star anise (optional, ground)
- 1/8 tsp black pepper (optional, for a little spice)
- 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp (10 grams) ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water and left to sit 5-10 minutes)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 grams)
- 1 cup+ 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (152 grams)
- 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder (1 gram)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda (1 gram)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (26 grams, optional- for rolling cookies in before baking)
- First add the vegan butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and optional anise & black pepper to a mixing bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.
- Next, add in the flax egg and vanilla and whip together another 30 seconds.
- Then, add in the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure to add the flour first and then add the other ingredients on top. Then, use a fork to gently sift the baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the flour. Once sifted, mix everything together until a thick cookie dough forms. The dough will be slightly sticky, but should not be wet.
- Cover the bowl of cookie dough with plastic wrap and add the bowl of dough to the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
- About 10 minutes before removing the dough from the fridge preheat the oven to 350F, line a baking tray with parchment paper, and fill a small bowl with the 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and use a cookie scoop to scoop out 10-12 evenly sized cookies (about 45-50 grams per cookie). Roll into balls between your palms and then roll in the bowl of granulated sugar until the cookies are coated.
- Place each cookie at least 2 inch apart on the tray and do not flatten them as they will spread while baking. All of the cookies will not fit on one baking sheet, so I recommend baking 6 cookies at a time on one tray vs. putting two trays in the oven at the same time.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and the cookies are cooked through but have slightly soft centers (If making smaller cookies adjust baking time to 9-11 minutes). The cookies will continue baking after they are removed from the oven so the centers should still be soft, but not glossy or raw, when they are removed from the oven.
- Remove the cookie tray from the oven and immediately tap the tray on the counter to produce a more “wrinkly” cookie. For round cookies, use a round cookie cutter that is slightly larger than the cookie and swirl the cookies around inside to form them into a round cookie. This step will only work if you do it while the cookies are still warm.
- Then, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. The cookies will be soft and puffy out of the oven and will naturally deflate a little while cooling.
- After cooling, serve & enjoy!
- If using Miyokos butter or Earth Balance spread from a tub vs baking sticks, add 1 Tbsp (8 grams) more flour. These butter have more oil and tend to spread more.
- If you like more spice, feel free to double all the spices in the cookie recipe. It will not affect the texture but will lead to a slightly more intense flavor.
- If making cookies smaller than 50 grams (about 2 Tbsp) adjust the cooking time to 9-11 minutes for chewy cookies.
- Dark brown sugar leads to softer cookies whereas light brown sugar leads to crispier cookies. For even chewier cookies, add 1 Tbsp more brown sugar to the recipe.
- If you would like to make the dough and freeze it scoop the dough into balls and freeze on a parchment-lined sheet pan in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a ziploc bag or freezer safe container. The baking time will need to be increased slightly for frozen cookies (usually 2-3 more minutes) so do keep that in mind!
- Leftover cookies can be stored in the freezer in a closed container up to 1 month, in the fridge for 7 days, or at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gProtein: 2g
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