Andrea is a home baker who loves to perfect challenging cakes, breads, and the like. She is on a quest to find the perfect flavor combos.
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24 cookie bars
Rose Chai Spiced Cookie Bars
My recipe is easy to follow and fairly simple. The hardest part might be grinding down the rose chai—you don't want big chunks and tea leaves disrupting your finished product.
In This Article:
- The best ways to bake tea leaves
- Chai spice alternative
- Photo instructions
- What is rose chai?
- The right occasions for rose chai treats
- More uses for roses in cooking
- Nutrition facts
- Where I found my rose chai mix
Baking With Tea
There are two ways you can bake with tea leaves. The first is to grind down the leaves and mix them straight into your batter or creation. The second option is to pour hot water over your tea leaves and use the strained tea in your mix. Both options have their pros and cons.
- If you use tea leaves in your baked good, you may run the risk of having objects that are too big or unmalleable in your finished product.
- If you use tea liquid, the flavor could be diluted and may require some engineering with the batter.
As for the color of the bars, I think adding red or pink food dye gives them a more magical look. The color of your baked goods and icing should be reminiscent of a rose. Pink icing is also easy on the eyes; it draws people to it rather than the typical white or brown icing.
Rose chai baked goods should be a mix of refreshing, fragrant, and spicy. I'm not talking spicy as if it were hot . . . I mean spicy like you added a lot of spices from your kitchen cabinet. Rose chai baked goods are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. You can compliment them with other floral baked treats, like lavender, jasmine, and hibiscus.
Important Icing Note
You'll likely have extra icing for this recipe. It probably works better for a batch of 36 bars. I kept working the ingredients together until I was satisfied. The trick was that I used a cup of hot tea for the icing, and I continued to add powdered sugar, butter, and mascarpone until it had the right consistency.
You could easily use this icing for other baked goods, particularly cupcakes. It was very easy to spread this icing; a piping bag isn't necessary but would make it neater.
For the bars:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or maple extract
- 4 tablespoons vanilla yogurt or sour cream
- 3 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground rose chai (or chai spice alternative, see below)
- 2 to 3 drops red food dye
For the icing:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons half and half or cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
- 1 cup rose chai tea, boiled and strained
- Pink food dye (optional)
For the optional topping:
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Chai Spice Alternative
- 1 teaspoon black cardamom
- 1 teaspoon allspice or pumpkin pie spice
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 teaspoons ginger
- 1/8 black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon rose extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease two 9x9 baking pans. You can also line the pans with foil to make it easier to lift out the treats (this is what I did). Grease or spray the foil.
- Using a mixer, blend the butter and sugars on a medium speed for several minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and yogurt one at a time. Beat until everything is uniform. Scrape the sides of the bowl if you have residue.
- In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and rose chai. You need to grind down the rose chai. You don't want thick leaves and other chunks in your baked treats. They'll make the eating experience less pleasurable. If you don't have rose chai, I have an alternative for you listed in the ingredients section. (If using the alternative ingredients, add the rose extract after you've mixed the wet and dry ingredients together in step 6.)
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined. Don't over mix! Spread the batter into your prepared pans. It should be short and thick. Spread the batter to the edges of the pan. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring, and swirl some of it with a fork. You don't want to completely blend the batter with the red dye. You want hints of red here and there. This will give it a more compelling look. (If you color your cookie bars completely red, people will think you made red velvet.)
- Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick or fork comes out clean at the center. Your bars shouldn't jiggle either.
- Cool the bars completely on a wire rack. Make the icing while your baked goods chill to room temperature.
- For the icing, boil a cup of rose chai tea. The more tea ingredients you boil, the stronger the taste will be. I boiled about 4 tablespoons. My cup had an amber-red hue that was fairly dark. Set the tea aside and let it cool. (Taste test it when it's cooler to see if it's to your liking or if it could be stronger.)
- Mix half of the butter, mascarpone, and powdered sugar until it's light and creamy, about 1-3 minutes.
- Add half and half, vanilla extract, and the cardamom. Beat until combined.
- Pour in the cup of tea. Mix until it thickens. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, mascarpone, and butter. It should thicken and be uniform. Taste test your icing now. If it's not to your liking, now is the best time to adjust it.
- Add pink food coloring. I prefer a light pink, so it has a more dreamy rose color. Baker's choice though.
- Spread the icing on top of the cooled bars. Sprinkle cinnamon onto the iced bars. Let sit so the icing can congeal.
- Eat and enjoy!
Information About Rose Chai
What is rose chai?
- A sweet and flavorful mix of Indian spices (typically) with a black tea. The chai tea has a complex profile ending with a hint of rose. Great with milk and honey, or on its own.
Can I substitute another kind of chai in this recipe?
- Yes! Other types of chai could be used for this recipe. What makes rose chai special is it has a more subtle and romantic flavor. It's not strong like a breakfast tea, and it's not bitter. It's perfect for Valentine's Day or a tea party with pink iced treats.
What is in chai?
- The most common ingredient in chai is cardamom. If you're using rose chai in your baked goods, I recommend using cardamom to bring out the flavor. During the baking process, your tea flavors will likely become more subtle.
- Other common ingredients used in chai include: ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and pepper.
How can I get the rose flavor without rose chai?
- If you don't have rose chai but want to have the rose flavor, you could use rose extract, but I must warn you, you should use rose extract sparingly. I would suggest starting with (at most) 1/8 of a teaspoon of rose extract for any baked good recipe.
If I don't grind down the rose chai mix for baked treats, what will it taste like?
- Inedible wads of paper
- Clove chunks
- Squished together lint
What occasions are appropriate for rose chai?
- You want rose chai for romantic occasions. Think weddings, anniversaries, prom, and spring picnics. Rose extract is an excellent choice for icing and frosting. You may want to mix it with vanilla extract or lemon juice.
- Rose chai treats also work well with fall treats, particularly pumpkin spiced goods and apple cider.
How can I make rose tea out of dried rose petals?
- Place a saucepan on your stove. Add dried rose petals and two cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Don't boil.
- Let simmer for five minutes. The rose petals should be discolored or darkened.
- Remove from heat. Strain the liquid into teacups.
- Add honey, sugar, or milk as desired.
Are dried roses good for your health?
- A teaspoon of rose hips is full of vitamin C; it's equivalent to about 6 oranges.
- Dried roses are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and polyphenol.
- Only eat roses that haven't been sprayed with insecticide or grown with fungicides. The rosebush absorbs fertilizers and chemicals.
- If a rose smells good, it's going to taste good.
- Don't eat roses from a florist shop. The best ones are the ones you grow yourself.
Does rose color influence taste?
- Red roses tend to have less fragrance and flavor. They're more subtle.
- Pink and yellow roses tend to have a more pronounced profile. Some white roses also have distinct flavors.
- Damask roses are noticeably fragrant. They've been used for centuries to make rose water and rose oils.
- Spice mixes with rose make for an excellent dry rub for poultry, lamb, and fish.
Where to Find Rose Chai
Many brick-and-mortar specialty shops, as well as online purveyors, will sell rose chai blends. The blend I used was from Oregon Tea Traders, a company that specializes in loose-leaf teas and teas from around the world.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence