Chai Tea had its moment this year, and if you haven’t had a chai latte yet, run and grab yourself one! Do you know who has been on top of this trend lately? Hint: it’s another celeb who has practically broken the internet this year… Taylor Swift. Taylor took chai lattes one super festive step further and shared her chai sugar cookie recipe just in time for the holiday season, and we could not be more excited!
In this post, you’ll find out how chai tea can be a serious superstar food with many health benefits, plus the research to support it (which we love)! You may know ginger best for its anti-nausea properties that are great when you’re feeling a bit queasy.
Taylor Swift Chai Cookie Powerful Properties
Not only can ginger ease an upset stomach, but it can also help with digestion. It works as a prokinetic, meaning it helps your GI muscles contract to help move things along (this process is known as peristalsis). Because of this, it can even relieve constipation.
Digestion aside, ginger has an overall de-inflammatory effect benefiting your whole body.
Cinnamon is truly one of my favorite spices, I put it in everything from my coffee to chia seed pudding, and more. The word on the street is that cinnamon may help support blood sugar levels. But the truth is, the research is mixed. A review looking at the effect of cinnamon and its impact on glucose among people with Type 2 Diabetes, found that cinnamon improved blood sugar lab values suggesting it’s beneficial for blood sugar support. However, some other studies did not see cinnamon as having a significant impact on blood sugar management. The research is still evolving so sprinkle mindfully as you please.
Black tea is the base of chai tea and has so many health benefits to love. First and most importantly, it has caffeine, but not too much to bring on the jitters. Eight ounces of black tea has 47 mg of caffeine (compared to 91 mg in a cup of coffee). Not to mention, it has one of our favorite nutrients, L-theanine, an amino acid that brings on feelings of calmness by increasing brain serotonin and dopamine (your feel-good chemicals) and GABA levels (a chemical messenger in your brain known to produce a calming effect).
If that’s not enough, some studies have shown that black tea may have heart-healthy benefits such as reducing cholesterol levels and risk of stroke thanks to its high polyphenol content.
Your Guide to Buying Chai Tea
There are many different types of chai tea, with the most popular kind in the United States best resembling Masala chai which is typically made with the above spices, black tea, steamed milk, and a sweetener.
Chai tea can be found in many grocery stores sold in tea bags or you can also buy it as a concentrate. Some of the more popular brands that are Dietitian approved include:
As an RD, I like these brands because the ingredients are simple, sticking to black tea and spices with little added flavors, sweeteners, and fillers. Please keep in mind some chai blends contain nuts, so if you have an allergy make sure to read the label.
If you prefer getting your chai tea latte from your local coffee shop, then I’ve got you covered. It’s best to ask for a chai latte with regular or low-fat milk for some protein and fat to help keep your blood sugar happy. If you’re dairy-free, I recommend asking for it with almond milk. Although, your chai latte may be a bit less creamy.
Healthy Tips for Ordering Chai Lattes at the Coffee Shop
Many places make chai tea concentrates ahead of time and add sugar and syrup flavors to give them a sweeter taste. As a dietitian, I recommend asking your barista if they do this and ideally seek out coffee shops that don’t. If you’re able to find an unsweetened chai latte, you can ask for honey or maple syrup for a touch of natural sweetness. Also, keep in mind that most nut milk contains added sweeteners so if you’re going the dairy-free route you may not need anything additional. However, if you can’t find an unsweetened chai tea latte, don’t sweat it– I would just avoid asking for further sweeteners or flavors.
Lastly, if you’re feeling fancy, you can make homemade chai tea (here’s one of my fav recipes!) in just a few simple steps! Also, chai tea is incredibly versatile in recipes. Keep reading to learn how to make Taylor Swift’s Chai Sugar Cookie.
Healthy Taylor Swift Chai Cookies
Now the part you’ve been waiting for… Taylor Swift shared a picture of her handwritten chai cookies recipe – you can find it here! Ok, it’s official, I’m drooling and I hope you are too. But, as a Registered Dietitian, I’m not going to lie, I think I can do this recipe better and even healthier. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the recipe as is. However, the holidays come with a lot of sweet treats, so I like to modify some with a healthy spin to help balance it all out!
Healthy Taylor Swift Chai Cookie Recipe
This healthy spin on Taylor Swift’s Chai Cookies recipe follows Taylor’s original format but with a few substitutions.
First, the one thing that stood out to me in this recipe was the amount of sugar between the sugar in the mix and the powdered sugar on the top. So, instead, I choose to use maple syrup and coconut sugar given it’s a natural sweetener that compliments the flavors of chai. However, you can also use honey or dates, as all of these natural sweeteners have a lower glycemic index than table sugar. This means that they will cause smaller spikes in your blood sugar levels. Powdered sugar is just too fun to get rid of, so I kept it in there, but I reduced the amount from ½ cup to ¼ cup.
Next, I opted to substitute the flour for gluten-free almond flour to be more inclusive, especially if you’re bringing it to share with friends and family! You can use your gluten-free flour of choice, Bob’s Red Mill has great ones and so does Simple Mills and King Arthur. (look up conversion here!)
Lastly, this original recipe calls for butter and vegetable oil. So, in an effort to reduce the calories in these cookies and “healthify” them, we decided to say goodbye to the vegetable oil and stick with the butter. If you’re dairy-free, no worries, you can use your dairy-free butter preference.
What you’ll need
- 1 cup butter (or dairy-free alternative)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
- 1 egg
- 3 cups almond flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 chai tea bags (Note, we chose to use three bags here because of the density of almond flour and felt the cookies still came out with a mild chai flavor. However, if you go with a different flour that is less dense feel free to adjust the amount of chai tea bags to desired strength/flavor!)
How to make The Taylor Swift Chai Cookie
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease cookie sheet
- Beat butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla
- Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and chai tea spice
- Chill the dough for an hour
- Line the cookie sheet with 12 tbsp dough drops (expect some big cookies!)
- Bake for 15-17 minutes and enjoy!
To make these cookies extra healthy we like to add core strength protein powder and really pack a lot more punch to these chai treats. Add one full scoop to the batter, stir and bake!
Pretty much anything Taylor Swift does, I do and let me tell you I have yet to be disappointed. Her original Chai Cookie Recipes were delicious, but our healthier version is chef’s kiss.