In hopes of starting the New Year with a sweet and steeped memory, I hurried into my kitchen to whip up a quick tea–infused treat. Faced with several perfectly ripe pears, chocolate chai tea and whole grain flower (that never made its way into holiday cookies), I decided to give a basic muffin a delicate, tea-infused twist. The perfect breakfast bite, these Whole Wheat Pear & Chai Crumb Muffins are slightly addicting (I dare you to make more than 6 and see how long they last…I say that while typing with crumbs that are dangerously close to finding their way into my keyboard crevices).
Fragrant pears are mixed into the somewhat savory whole wheat batter to add a hint of natural sweetness. The chocolate chai tea adds a pop of warming spices to the basic crumb topping, the real star of the treat (but don’t tell the pears). The first bite reminded me of soft yet satisfyingly hearty cornbread with a dainty dab of spiced pear jam. But maybe that’s just me. You’ll have to take a bite while it’s still warm from the oven (with just the tiniest bit of unsalted butter) and tell me what you think. And if you add a chocolate chai latte to the mix, well, you’re just spoiling your taste buds.
Keep reading for a Cacao Chai Giveaway from Zhi Tea & My Full Recipe
But before you head into the kitchen, let’s take a peek at the subtle star of the muffin masquerade, the cacao chai tea from Zhi Tea. One of my favorite wintry steeps, this spicy and rich tea blend begs to mixed into your favorite baked treats. Zhi Tea effortlessly blends malty organic assam black tea that lingers with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pure vanilla and organic Ecuadorian cacao nibs. It’s pure chai perfection with a dark chocolate taste that is rich and oh so far from cloyingly sweet.
Needless to say, I’m excited to share three 2.4oz samples of the Cacao Chai Tea that Zhi Tea so generously sent me to share with my readers. So, if you’re craving this steep all you need to do is leave a comment below noting your email address and what recipe you might make with this sweet and spicy blend. On January 15th, I’ll randomly pick 3 lucky readers.
And now for the recipe...
Whole Wheat Pear & Chai Crumb Muffins
(makes 6 muffins)
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flower
- 3/4 cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 1¼ cup pears, peeled and diced
Chai Crumb Topping
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, cubed & cold
- 1.5 teaspoons cacao chai tea
NOTE: To amplify the chai flavor, bring ¼ of milk to a boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer, add 1 tablespoon of chai tea and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the chai tea blend from the milk, and let milk completely cool before mixing with the egg and grapeseed oil.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tins with butter or cooking spray.
Combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix grapeseed oil, egg and milk (remember to let milk completely cool if you are infusing it with tea). Combine wet and dry ingredients together and mix in the diced pears.
Add the cacao chai tea to a food processor or spice grinder and grind into a find powder. Add ground chai tea, brown sugar, and flour to the food processor and pulse to combine. Add cold, cubed butter and pulse until the mixture forms pea-sized clumps.
Fill the muffin tins with the batter and evenly sprinkle the chai crumb topping. Bake for 21 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm, or let completely cool and store in an airtight container.