Vanilla-Chai Sandwich Cookies

These generously spiced Vanilla-Chai Sandwich Cookies have a nice crisp texture. That type of texture works perfectly for sandwich cookies. If you prefer a more tender, melt-away texture for these allergy-friendly treats, see the “recipe variation” that I include in the instructions.

Now if gluten is not a concern in your household, then simply use an equivalent amount of all-purpose flour in place of the rice flour.

I suggest getting a double dose of sweet and spice by dunking your Vanilla-Chai Sandwich Cookies in a delicious warm glass of Chai-Spiced Warm Mylk. You’ll love it!

Makes: 28 cookies or 14 sandwich cookies
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


Ingredients for Cookies

Chai Shortbread

  • 1 /2 cup shortening (such as Spectrum palm shortening), room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown or white rice flour, superfine if possible (see Tips)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 batch spice mix

Spice Mix

Prepare a second batch of the following mix if also making the Chai-Spiced Warm Mylk.

  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 /4 tsp ground cloves

Cookie Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp shortening (such as Spectrum palm shortening)
  • 1 tbsp plain dairy-free milk alternative
  • 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Instructions for Vanilla-Chai Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. For spice mix, in a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Store the spice mix in an airtight container if not using immediately.
  3. Place the shortening, margarine and vanilla in a mixing bowl and blend until creamy.
  4. Sift in the rice flour, sugar, cornstarch, and spice mix, and mix until smooth and thick. If crumbly, use a wooden spoon or your hands to bring it together.
  5. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. If it is too sticky to handle, place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.
  6. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and flatten them to 1/4-inch thickness.
  7. Bake the cookies for 25 minutes. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make icing, sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.
  9. Add the shortening, milk alternative, vanilla and salt and, with your mixer on low, blend until the powdered sugar is incorporated.
  10. Turn the mixer up to medium; whip for 2 minutes, or until the icing is stiff but creamy.
  11. To make sandwich cookies, spread icing generously on the flat side of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies (flat-side down), and gently press together.

Recipe Variation

Melt-away Cookies: Omit the margarine, increase the shortening to 3/4 cup, and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt with the shortening. These are more fragile, but light and delightful.

is a contributing editor to Allergic Living magazine and the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein Free Living, and founder of