Chai Spiced Apple Streusel Muffins

Makes 12 regular-size muffins.

For these muffins, we use our Lunar Chai as a baking spice — its black tea and spices, along with nutty browned butter, add a hint of Indian flavor to this otherwise American-style recipe. Serve these cozy muffins for a breakfast treat (or a working-remotely snack). If you prep the dry ingredients and streusel the night before, the muffin batter can be made in no time the next morning! 

Note: For this recipe, you'll need to grind the chai into a powder to use it as a spice — an easy task using either a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. We’ve included instructions for making browned butter at the end of this recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup diced apple + 1 apple, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup light brown sugar
7 tablespoons browned butter or ghee, melted
2 eggs
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons Lunar Chai, ground to a powder

For the streusel:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon Lunar Chai, ground to a powder
1½ –2 tablespoons ghee or browned butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Set a paper cupcake liner into each cup of a ‘regular’ size, 12-hole muffin tin. (Alternatively, you can skip the liners and butter the tin heavily.) Set aside.

Prepare the components  Put the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine; add the diced apple and nuts and stir to distribute throughout. Set aside.

Working into a separate mixing bowl, grate the apple using the small, v-shaped holes of a box grater until you have ¾ cup of grated apple. Stir in the lemon juice, then add the sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and ground chai to the bowl and whisk until fully combined. Set aside.

Put the dry streusel ingredients into a small bowl and stir with a fork to mix them. Drizzle in 1½ tablespoons of melted ghee or butter, then stir with a fork until evenly moistened. Pick up a bit of the mixture and squeeze — it should form a crumbly lump (if it doesn’t, stir in an additional ½ tablespoon of melted butter). Set aside.

Make the batter and bake the muffins  Scoop the grated apple mixture into the flour mixture; fold them together using strong, quick strokes until just combined into a thick batter. (Do not over mix or the muffins will be misshapen and tough, as is true with most quick-bread batters.)

Fill each muffin cup ¾ full with batter, about 1/3 cup. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of streusel on top of each muffin.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350° F and bake until the tops are rounded, lightly golden, and spring back when poked gently, another 7–10 minutes. (A cake tester poked into the center of a muffin should come out mostly clean and the internal temperature will be 200° to 205° F.)

Set the muffin tin on a cooling rack and let the muffins rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Although best eaten on the day they’re baked, these muffins will keep for two days at room temperature, tightly covered.


How to make browned butter 

You can do this far in advance of using it — tightly covered and refrigerated, browned butter keeps for ages. We think that you might as well make a big batch with a pound of butter because it’s such a delicious addition to so many, many things!

Use a very clean saucepan with a shiny interior over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Once the butter melts, gently swirl it in the pan, then let it cook undisturbed until the bubbles subside. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until you notice small, browned particles drifting to the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma emanating from the butter. Remove it from the heat and carefully pour the melted butter into a clean bowl or container, as much as possible leaving the browned bits behind in the saucepan.


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