It's Time To Bring Back Taylor Swift's Beloved Holiday Cookie Recipe
Because Tay is in her throwback era.
In Elite Daily's I Tried series, we put celebrities’ favorite products, recipes, and routines to the test to show you what living like your fave star is really like. In this piece, we try to recreate Taylor Swift’s chai tea eggnog cookies recipe.
Everything old is new again when it comes to Taylor Swift. I mean, literally — the superstar is re-recording her first five albums and most recently released Red (Taylor’s Version), the 2021 iteration of her 2012 hit album. That means Swifties everywhere are in a super nostalgic mood as they listen to the new versions of old songs and make memories feel fresh again. And fans can relive the past with more than just Taylor’s music this time of year with her famous throwback holiday cookie recipe that once swept the internet.
Before we go any further, I have a confession to make: I wasn’t always a Taylor Swift fan. OK, let me qualify that: I was never a *hater*, but back when Red was originally released, I was far from the world’s biggest Swiftie. Then, 2020 hit, and Taylor bestowed upon the world not just one, but two gorgeous albums (folklore and evermore), and suddenly I got what all the fuss was about. So, while I was late to board the T.Swift train, I’m here now, and I think it’s about time I caught up with everyone else by trying out all things Swift.
Back in 2014, Swift shared her recipe for chai tea eggnog sugar cookies, which basically sounds like the perfect winter day distilled into one yummy treat. I used the recipe shared by Seventeen, just because it was a little bit easier to follow than a screenshot of a since-removed post from Swift’s Tumblr days. (I know this is all about being nostalgic, but there’s only so far I can go.) So, I gathered my ingredients, turned on Red (Taylor’s Version) for the perfect baking soundtrack, and prepared to bake it off.
The cool thing about this recipe is that I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry. There were only a few things I needed to pick up specifically for this recipe: nutmeg, eggnog, and chai tea (plus eggs and butter, but that was only because I had just run out).
Here’s what you need for the chai tea cookies:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 chai tea packet
And here’s what you need for the eggnog icing that goes on top:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons eggnog
First thing’s first, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, I put the butter in the mixer and let that trusty tool beat it for one minute. Here’s where I admit that oftentimes when I bake, even if the recipe tells you to use a mixer, I’ll try to hand mix it; it just feels easier than lugging the KitchenAid out. But when I saw that this recipe has you mix the butter for one whole minute, I was happy to let a machine do the work for me.
Next, I added the rest of the wet ingredients (vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract) and the sugars and mixed them together on medium until combined. TBH, this felt like a lot of sugar, but I guess they don’t call them sugar cookies for nothing.
Then it was time for the part of the recipe that makes it unique to Swift: a packet of chai tea. You simply cut open the tea bag and pour the ground leaves straight into the batter.
The final step was to add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the batter and mix on low. Once everything was combined, the recipe said to put the dough either in the refrigerator for one hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes so it’s easier to handle. I’m impatient about most things, but especially about cookies, so opted for the shorter wait time. I popped the dough in the freezer and jammed out to “22 (Taylor’s Version)” while the dough chilled.
When time was up, I was happy to see the freezer trick worked and the dough was super easy to handle when I took it out. After that, I spooned about a tablespoon of dough per cookie onto a lined baking sheet, each about two inches apart — you can flatten them a little with your fingers so they’re about ¼-inch thick. Into the oven they went, for about 9 to 10 minutes, or just under the length of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version).” I listened to it while the cookies baked and my anger at Jake Gyllenhaal for breaking Tay’s heart was only softened by the absolutely delightful smell emanating from my oven.
Seriously, these cookies smelled like the coziest, warmest coffee shop on a chilly day. I was so tempted to dig right into them as soon as I took them out of the oven, but I needed to let them cool first — which was fine, because that gave me time to make the icing.
Luckily, preparing the icing is really simple. All you have to do is combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggnog with another cup of powdered sugar. The only issue I had was that the recipe I was working off of told me to use one tablespoon of eggnog, which was clearly not enough. I cross-referenced it with another version of the recipe published on the blog Joy the Baker, which calls for three tablespoons of eggnog. I wound up using about three and a half tablespoons of eggnog, which made for the perfect icing consistency.
The recipe’s directions said to spoon the icing directly onto the cookies, which I did at first, but to me, that presentation left a little something to be desired.
I tried again, only this time I lightly drizzled the icing across the cookies, and I was much happier with how those looked.
I sprinkled some of the cookies with a little extra cinnamon, and then it was time for the taste test.
The Taste Test
Welp, I was right about all the sugar; these things are sweet! I have a huge sweet tooth, so the fact that I found these a touch too sugary is saying a lot. However, all that sweetness did make these feel like a truly special holiday treat. In addition to the sugar, I could really taste the chai spices mixed in there. It felt like the food version of a decadent cup of tea, which I really loved.
As for the icing, the eggnog taste was a little overpowering on the cookies that got a full spoonful, but the cookies with just a drizzle had a perfect chai-eggnog balance, in my opinion.
In the same way it took me some extra time to fall in love with Swift’s music, once I got used to her chai eggnog cookies, I fell in love with them, too. I’m a sucker for anything wintry that helps me get into the holiday spirit, and these cookies are just about as festive as they come.
Next time I make them, I might try cutting back on the sugar just a bit. I also think these would be great even without the icing — and if you do forgo the icing, then you don’t need to buy cinnamon, nutmeg, or eggnog, which can be the trickier (and more expensive) ingredients to get.
Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong with this recipe. Plus, Swift’s version of a cookie goes great with any of Taylor’s versions of her songs, especially while fans patiently await another throwback moment with the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version).