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The student voice of Berkeley Preparatory School

The Fanfare

The student voice of Berkeley Preparatory School

The Fanfare

Treat or Trick: Taylor Swift’s Chai Cookies

Is this recipe the one for you?

Dear Reader, on Saturday, October 14th, 2023, we attempted to recreate the famous Taylor Swift chai tea cookies. 

THE MASTERMIND HERSELF: She’s bigger than the whole sky. (Photo Credit: Sanvi Soma ‘26)

Originating in 2009, the recipe came to life when Swift mentioned that she added chai spices to a batch of simple vanilla sugar cookies. Since then, the internet has scrambled to bake these every autumn as the perfect fall treat. We wanted to put this recipe to the test to see if it actually deserved its big reputation.

BEFORE THE GREAT WAR: Let’s fast forward to 300 failed attempts at cookies later. (Photo Credit: Sanvi Soma ‘26)

Step One: We started off with a quick and easy Publix run to pick up all the necessary ingredients for this recipe (it took us forty minutes to find three items…). These included powdered sugar, vanilla extract and—of course—chai tea packets.

Step Two: Back to being girls at home, we mixed up the wet ingredients (butter, egg, vegetable oil and vanilla) and added them to the dry ones (sugar and powdered sugar). Long story short, there were some moments of panic (it was just Zoya) with the electric mixer. Although we faced some struggles with combining the ingredients, after many attempts and becoming covered in powdered sugar (we had to shake it off) the dough finally came together.

THE MIXING PROCESS: This is us trying, okay? (Photo Credit: Sanvi Soma ‘26)

TREACHEROUS BAKER: Zoya does not have the electric touch. (Photo Credit: Sanvi Soma ‘26)

Step Three (ESSENTIAL!): We debated whether one chai bag was enough for the amount of dough we had. After all, it was the quintessential ingredient. Though there was much deliberation, we decided less was more and mixed in a single packet. PSA: do not just add the actual chai bag! Cut it open and pour in the spices. Please. Do not be a foolish one.

OH MY MY MY: If you look closely, you might even see some dots of chai! (Photo Credit: Sanvi Soma ‘26)

Step Four: Much to our shock, our mixed ingredients had begun to resemble real dough! According to Swift’s recipe, the dough should cool in the fridge for an hour. Due to time constraints, however (Zoya’s grandmother wanted to use the oven), our dough only chilled for 45 minutes. Slightly concerned, we started to shape our cookies. 

Step Five: After generously spraying our cookie sheets with PAM, we began to place spoonfuls of dough a few inches apart from each other on the pans. Because the recipe recommended more added sweetness, I (Zoya) made the mistake of sprinkling sugar on top of a round dough ball. Disappointed with my partner’s lack of baking skills, I (Sanvi) amended the issue by exiling Zoya to dishwasher duty. Then, I (Sanvi) delicately flattened each dough ball with a spoon and lightly dusted them with sugar. At this point, the cookies were looking gorgeous and were ready for the oven.

THE MOMENT SANVI KNEW: This is why we can’t have nice things, Zoya. (Photo Credit: Zoya Jooma ‘26)

Step Six (WARNING: requires patience): The baking process was a difficult time for us. Though some might say that watching your cookies in the oven and feeling the warmth of the chai scent drifting through the air is peaceful, we would disagree. Desperately running back and forth from the kitchen to the pantry, where I (Zoya) was preparing the frosting (it was store-bought), I nearly didn’t hear the oven timer go off. Luckily, I (Sanvi) was there to play Superman. After saving the crisp cookies from the oven (they were browning at the edges!), I placed the trays on a rack to cool. 

YES WHALE!: Let’s appreciate Sanvi’s fearless oven mitt style. (Photo Credit: Zoya Jooma ‘26)

Step Seven: Though it took a lot out of us, we forced ourselves to wait for the cookies to cool down before frosting them (it took an entire 15 minutes). Right here is where our secret ingredient came into play: Cinnamon Toast Crunch frosting (acquired in the aforementioned Publix run!). Along with plain vanilla frosting (it was buy one get one free), we began to spread the toppings on the cookies. I (Sanvi) recommend applying thick amounts of frosting for best results. After all, you don’t want your cookies to end up thinly covered and sad-looking (like Zoya’s). Hey! I (Zoya) take offense to that. But I also agree. Use a teaspoon for best results when spreading frosting. (Unless you are a Better Man and want to use a piping bag.)

SO IT GOES: What looks like a blank space now will soon get better. (Photo Credit: Zoya Jooma ‘26)

Step Eight (optional… but also not really): Use sprinkles to make the cookies bejeweled. We used either gold, silver or white (and occasionally all three when Zoya spilled the bottle).

OUR MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: Homemade really hits differently. (Photo Credit: Zoya Jooma ‘26)

Final Verdicts: The members of Zoya’s family each rated the cookies a 10 out of 10 (although this opinion could be skewed, given that they were eager for us to clean up and leave the kitchen). Anyway, a win is a win. In my (Sanvi’s) opinion, these cookies came out perfectly fine. They are the perfect fall treat, but it’s important to note that the cookie batch on the top rack of the oven will bake faster, so don’t blame me if they burn. This truly is a timeless recipe. Though the baking process revealed my lack of kitchen skills, I (Zoya) think that this recipe was firmly a Treat. Overall, we loved this recipe. Looking back, we would suggest adding another half bag of chai, to enhance the spicy autumn flavors. Lastly, we definitely recommend baking this treat with a companion, as it’s always nice to have a friend.

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About the Contributors
Zoya Jooma, Section Editor
Zoya Jooma is a section editor at Fanfare this year. She has been at Berkeley since sixth grade, and she is now a sophomore. Along with Fanfare, she is in Spanish Club and Red Cross Club, and rows for the Berkeley crew team. Zoya loves to travel and take care of her four chickens. In her free time, she enjoys reading and hanging out with her friends.
Sanvi Soma, Staff Writer
Sanvi Soma is a first-year staff writer at Fanfare. She is a sophomore at Berkeley who is also part of Red Cross Club, Spanish Club, and the Berkeley Crew Team. In her free time, Sanvi loves to read, travel, and play with her French Bulldog. 

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