Looking for a chai-infused, dense, sweet, and moist dessert that is intensely intoxicating and satisfying? We’ve combined and created a one-of-a-kind Stargazer Chai muffin recipe that incorporates some of my favorite flavors to create an epic, out-of-this-world chai dessert.
Made with our very own Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai, cream cheese, caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon. They certainly make this dessert a unique blend of flavors that are sure to please!
Chai Love: What's in a Chai Spice Blend?
Chai is this amazing blend of spices that I cannot get enough of. You’ve seen it featured in lattes, teas, and recipes. Ever wonder what spices are behind the creation of this earthy, spicy, intoxicating flavor? Let me tell you…
Often, you’ll find cardamom. Depending on your preference, some use green cardamom and some traditional black cardamom. The difference between these two is not only the color but the flavor as well. Green cardamom has a milder flavor profile, whereas black is much more earthy and smokey in flavor. Neither is wrong for chai. It just depends on which you find gives it the right balance for your tastes.
You’ll also find cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes black peppercorn and/or anise. We’re all familiar with cinnamon and cloves in a mirage of recipes, but what about black peppercorn in chai? It’s going to give it that little bit of extra spice if used right.
As for anise, sometimes people will use fennel seed instead, but I prefer anise. It’s reminiscent of black licorice, and in the perfect quantity, whether you like this flavor or not, can provide a little bit of the “hmmm…. what’s that something extra I pick up on?” to your favorite chai.
I can promise you will find all the depth and yummy you’re looking for in these stargazer chai muffins!
What Makes a Muffin a Muffin?
For those of us that love our sweet treats—we usually have a love for them all, don’t we? Doughnuts anyone? I am oddly a sucker for a good doughnut! With the base ingredients of a cupcake and muffin being quite similar, how can the two be all that different? The short answer is—yes, they truly can be!
The major difference is the texture of the two—mixing more, versus mixing less. Cupcakes do contain more sugar and butter (in general) than muffins. Secondly, when mixing cupcakes, a person creams together the butter/oil and sugar to make a nice fluffy batter that minimizes air bubbles for a uniform batter. Smooth and creamy!
With muffins, uniformity is not the key here. Muffins are mixed, often by hand, to create a blended but lumpy batter that gives muffins their density we all have come to know and love as the staple of a good muffin. Personally, I’m a sucker for all desserts and breads that have a dense texture. Our household go-to for a loaf of bread is potato bread, as it has a dense consistency that is not only quite tasty but sure fills the belly up a bit more.
What I truly enjoy about this stargazer chai muffin recipe is the density, coupled with the little extra sweetness that is more reminiscent of a cupcake.
Definitely the best of both worlds!
Fantastical Tea Pairings
This chai muffin recipe encompasses so many great flavors that choosing a tea to complement it is a fun endeavor!
I truly enjoy the balance our Housewarming Blend black tea brings to the table when served alongside these chai muffins. This tea is also known as our ‘Vanilla Crème Brulee’. With hints of creaminess and caramel, it really draws on the cream cheese and caramel incorporated into this recipe.
I often choose the incorporated tea in recipes I’ve created as a featured pairing tea, and this recipe is no different. There’s something about the light, yet defined, complexity these teas bring to the recipe that allows for a perfect pairing as well. With that being said, make sure you try a cup of the Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai alongside these muffins.
If you’re looking to have a late-night snack (guilty here), then you may also be looking for the perfect caffeine-free tea companion. Our Vanilla Crème herbal tea will do the trick! With a natural creamy vanilla flavor, this tea really draws out each of the unique ingredients found in this chai muffin. I cannot get enough of it!
Stargazer Chai Muffins Recipe
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon salted butter at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai
- 15 soft chew caramels
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
On low heat in a small pan, while stirring consistently, bring the heavy whipping cream and Stargazer Caramel Maté Chai to a simmer.
Just before the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat, and let steep until it cools down to room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
Once cool, strain the tea mixture through a sieve and use a wooden spoon to squeeze out all the steeped heavy cream. Set aside 1/8 cup of this mixture for the muffins.
Directions for Cinnamon Swirl:
Take a 1/2 cup of the batter and add to a small bowl.
Mix in the cinnamon and milk until combined.
Directions for Crumb Topping:
In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Directions for Muffins:
Preheat oven to 330 °F. Line your muffin pan with liners.
In a mixing bowl using your paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla.
Slowly add the cake flour and mix until combined.
Pour in the cooled milk tea mixture and mix by hand just until incorporated.
With a tablespoon, put a heaping dollop of the plain cream cheese and tea batter in each muffin cup.
Take a teaspoon and put a heaping dollop of the cinnamon swirl batter in each cup.
Repeat by adding another tablespoon of plain batter to each muffin cup.
Take a skewer or toothpick, and gently swirl each muffin cup.
Gently place a soft caramel chew in the center of each muffin.
Using a butter knife, carefully smooth the batter over the top of each caramel.
Sprinkle a little of the crumb topping on to each muffin.
Bake for 23-25 minutes. Set aside to cool before removing from pan.
Yields 12-15 cupcakes.