The Better Homes & Gardens Baking Book – an awesome Christmas gift from Mike – bills these treats at chai tea muffins, but their ingredients and preparation method are much more cupcake-like to me. I debated about calling these “cuffins,” or perhaps “muffcakes,” because I’m still on the fence. And besides, it’s fun to make up words.
So, what’s the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? To me, the simple answer is: the kind of fat you use, and how you mix your ingredients. Cupcakes tend to employ butter and a creaming method, where you blend sugar into the butter, then add your other wet and dry ingredients, sometimes alternatively. Most muffins involve vegetable oil, and a process of combining dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another, then mixing the wet into the dry. As you’ll see below, these treats use the creaming method and butter – and are in my opinion more cupcake than muffin.
Regardless of what you call them, these treats smell delicious! Were it not for my current No Sweets for Lent endeavor, I would have eaten one the moment my chai nutmeg drizzle had set.
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 4 chai tea bags
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 11/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Chai Nutmeg Drizzle
- 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar
- About 5 teaspoons chai tea
- Dash of nutmeg
Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers. Add chai tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the bags, pressing to release as much tea as you can. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners; you will likely need an additional 6 liners, as my batch yielded 30.
Combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are light golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in muffin pans for about 1 minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely before drizzling.
To make the chai nutmeg drizzle, prepare a cup of chai tea with water and allow it to cool.
In a small bowl, place 3/4 cup powdered sugar and add tea, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing until you reach your desired drizzling consistency. Add a dash of nutmeg to taste.
Fit a small pastry bag with a plain tip and pipe over cupcakes. Allow to set before serving.