living the sweet life

French Vanilla Chai Doughnut Muffins

What are doughnut muffins you might ask? Well, they are muffins that taste like doughnuts and have a similar texture. Basically, they’re awesome.

What’s also awesome is that it is RAINING! It’s raining in LA!!! Falling asleep to the sound of pouring rain and waking up to that sound was amazing. I’m not only excited because we’re in such a terrible drought already but because.. it’s weather. LA finally has weather that’s not just sunshine. I know that sounds terrible of me to complain, but it’s so nice to occasionally have bad weather so that I for once feel justified for staying in with hot tea and a few TV shows. Usually I just feel guilty when I’m inside and it’s yet another beautiful day outside.

Besides, I’ve always loved the rain. I remember whenever it used to rain in NJ, I would run outside and run around and dance and get soaking wet. There was one summer where I was drenched all the way through. I had had on a big T-shirt and capri pants (Could I have been more 90s/early 00s?) and I just went for a walk in the pouring warm rain. It was magical. Not to mention the countless times where I would take my horse and we would still ride through the rain. I didn’t mind getting soaked.

So I guess it’s the nostalgia and the general wonderfulness that rain brings. Except for driving in it. People in LA don’t understand how you’re supposed to drive in the rain, so I avoid it if I can. I don’t have time to teach millions of people how to drive.

Anyway, this past week I was craving muffins but I was lazy. I didn’t want to go out and have to buy any ingredients, so muffins that needed yogurt or fruit or other basic ingredients that I just don’t have on hand were axed. I know.

But then in my search for inspiration, I saw a recipe for donut muffins. And guess what has been on my recipe wish list? Chai spiced donuts (Or donut muffins). So, I made that happen and these bad boys were born. The chai spices are subtle (I know I should have had ginger, cloves, and/or allspice in there..) and the vanilla flavor from the chai tea and the vanilla sugar is delicious. The texture is dense enough that you don’t feel like you’re just eating a random cupcake; it actually tastes like a muffin AND a donut. I love it. A match made in heaven, especially for this lazy and indecisive baker.

French Vanilla Chai Donut Muffins

makes about 16 muffins

1 cup vanilla almond milk
3 French Vanilla Chai tea bags
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

For cinnamon-sugar topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat almond milk. Careful not to scald or boil the milk. Remove from heat and steep the 3 tea bags in the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze out liquid from the tea bags. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, vegetable oil, and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs and beat until mixed in. Add in baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla sugar. Stir until combined.

Add in flour and almond milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.

Scoop batter into liners until 3/4 full (roughly 1/4 cup batter). Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and tops are golden. Rotate pans once halfway through while baking.

Remove muffins from the tin and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Brush melted butter over the top of muffins. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the top and let cool completely.

[source: recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour]


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