Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: This dough must be prepared in advance.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ cup finely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
For chai spice blend
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅔ cup superfine sugar
Flour for rolling dough
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and salt, and pulse until combined. Transfer dough to a large bowl and stir in chopped nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together cloves, cardamom, ginger, white pepper, cinnamon and superfine sugar, and reserve. Remove dough from refrigerator and soften 20 to 30 minutes. Form dough into 1-inch balls.
On a lightly floured board, roll dough balls until dough is shaped into finger-size sticks. Shape sticks into crescents, place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown on bottom, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack. Cool an additional 5 minutes. While cookies are still warm, carefully dip cookies in chai spice blend and transfer to a wire rack over wax paper to cool completely.
2007 Finalist: Lisa Osacho of Eden Prairie, Minnesota