It seems crazy to subvert the subtle elegance of an exquisite, award-winning masala chai tea in a cookie, but some people just can’t leave well-enough alone.
Sky Tea’s “No. 1 Special Masala Chai” is more than “well-enough.” Submitted on a whim to the North American Tea Championship in 2011, just after the company was founded, tiny Sky Tea knocked out a score of 84 -- fourth place in a crowded field of seasoned national and international tea professionals.
Sky Tea founder, Jeni Quigg, learned to make that particular blend from the holy woman in an Indian village where she had been returning for spiritual retreats for some years. During that time she had funded various projects in the town – a hospital, schools, an ambulance. But an agricultural economy hostage to fickle weather often found the men of the village in debtor’s prison when crops failed and they couldn’t repay the loans they had taken out in order buy seed and plant. Sky Tea was founded -- when it’s fully up and running -- to provide employment sorting and packing tea for the women whose husbands are gone.
Near many of India’s tea and spice growing regions, the town was ideally situated as a base for sourcing tea and ingredients. And because Quigg is on site and buying on a small scale, she can make the kinds of very particular judgments about the teas – and take advantage of small, excellent crops -- that are simply not possible for large-scale importers.
Although No. 1 Special Masala Chai is Sky Tea’s current star, it’s not the only tea they import or blend, including herbal teas and tisanes (Organic Tangerine-Ginger, Cinnamon Plum and a Rooibos Masala Chai), green teas, white teas, black teas and oolongs – all available from the Sky Tea website.
Sky Tea will open an East Bay brick-and-mortar store soon – keep an eye on their facebook page for details and an opening date.
VIEW RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS WITH THE "LIST" FEATURE
Sky Tea Masala Chai Butter Cookies
This is an excellent cookie for a cheese plate, offering a crisp, lightly sweet foil to a nice hunk of Point Reyes Farmstead Blue, or a rich, butter-y brie.
- ½-cup butter, softened
- ¼-cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼-cup white sugar
- ¼-teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 ¼-cups flour
- 2 tablespoons Sky Tea No. 1 Masala Chai
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; beat in the egg.
Carefully stir in the masala chai, salt and flour, mixing as gently as possible. The less you work the dough, the more tender your cookie will be; your food processor plays no role in this recipe.
Shape the dough into a log -- choose a diameter appropriate to the your cookie needs or aesthetics -- and wrap in waxed paper, twisting or sealing the ends. Chill until firm, about two hours.
Cut into ¼-inch slices and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until the edges are golden.
Cool on a baking rack.