Chai Tea Muffins

I really like the flavour of chai tea so I thought why not use the real thing in muffins. These muffins aren’t too sweet and are also topped with chai tea icing.

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for the chai tea:

  • 20 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 15 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla pod  (optional)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp loose English Breakfast tea (or 2 teabags)
  • 350 ml milk

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This makes a very strong chai tea which is not suitable for drinking. It will taste quite bitter if you try it! I used loose Assam English Breakfast tea, as I had some in the cupboard but teabags will do just fine. If you use teabags, you will need to make sure to use a fine sieve when you come to strain the tea.

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To start, smash the cardamom pods with a pestle and mortar (or a put them in a bag and pound with a rolling pin). Put all ingredients into a saucepan and heat over a very low flame for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and remove from the heat if it starts to boil over. After 15 minutes turn the heat off and allow the flavours to mingle for 20- 30 minutes. Strain carefully making sure to extract all the liquid you can. This should leave you with around 200 ml of chai tea. If using a vanilla pod, save to use in the muffins.

Ingredients for the muffins:

  • 200 g light brown sugar
  • 110 g butter
  • 160 ml chai tea
  • 2 eggs
  • vanilla pod seeds (saved from the chai tea)
  • 230 g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • pinch of salt

For the icing:

  • chai tea
  • 100 g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ gas 6. Place cases into a muffin tin. If you don’t have any cases to hand, grease the muffin tin well with butter instead.

Put the sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat on low for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure they incorporate well. When the sugar is no longer granular (about 5 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in the chai tea. Save the remaining chai tea for the icing. Leave to cool whilst you get the other ingredients ready.

In a small bowl, crack the eggs and include the scraped seeds from the vanilla pod (if using). You do this by using a sharp knife to cut the pod lengthways and then use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds out. Beat the eggs and vanilla seeds together.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Make a well in the middle. Add the now cooled butter, sugar and chai tea mixture, and the eggs. Stir well. Carefully spoon into the muffin cases. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

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To make the icing, mix together the icing sugar and a small amount of the remaining chai tea. Try not to make your icing too thin. If you can be bothered, put the icing into a sandwich or freezer bag and snip off the corner to create an icing bag and decorate the muffins. If not, simply use a spoon and create a drizzle on the top of each muffin.

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