Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Darjeeling Chai Spiced Muffins with Pistachio and Vanilla

I love the rich, fragrant flavours of chai tea. Earlier this school year, I was drinking chai everyday - so much so that one of my new students (who'd just arrived from India) got his mother to make me a batch of "the real stuff" as he put it.

And, what's not to love about cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and ginger? These are flavours that warm the soul, I tell you. When it's a rainy, blah day, I see these flavours as a warm, cozy blanket.

So when Cooking Light's May issue arrived this week, showcasing not one but two chai infused recipes (muffins and cream pie), I knew I had to try at least one of the two out. But, because I was missing a few ingredients (namely, chai tea), I had to improvise.

I started by trying to infuse some milk with cinnamon, cardamon and cloves. Now, I don't know what went wrong with that train of thought, but the milk curdled on me while I was heating it. Twice (Once at the 120ºF mark and the second time at the 140ºF mark). It was very, very strange - especially because I've made many a batch of chai tea before. I cleaned the pot and all the tools I used for measuring and stirring between attempts, so if anyone can tell me what might have happened, I'd be forever in your debt.

In the end, I had to improvise, but the results were definitely worth it.

Darjeeling Chai Spiced Muffins with Pistachios and Vanilla

(adapted from Cooking Light)


7.9 oz all purpose flour (1 3/4 cup)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamon
1 1" piece ginger, finely grated on a rasp
3 tsp loose darjeeling tea
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
¼ cup butter, melted
1½ tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup shelled dry roasted pistachios, chopped
½ cup icing sigar
1 tbsp water


1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cup liners and spray the inside of liners with cooking spray, if desired.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour with next 8 ingredients (through tea). Make a well in the centre of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, 1 tsp vanilla and egg. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir just until moist. Divide batter evenly between liners. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool for 5 minutes on a rack.

4. Combine remaining ½ tsp vanilla with icing sugar and water, stirring until smooth. Drizzle evenly over muffins. Serve with tea and let the rain fall outside the window.


Christine said...

Oh the sound amazing - I love chai tea!

Alyson said...

It's really tasty, although if eating whole tea leaves isn't your thing, you may want to grind it up before adding it to the batter. Or infuse the milk with the tea instead!

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