Tender, moist, and subtly spiced, these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chai Muffins are my new go-to snack. I dare you to stop at just one!
I’m just going to place these adorable mini muffins right here, and go ahead and apologize in advance.
Are mini muffins as hard for you to resist as they are for me? I mean, there’s the adorable factor. And then there’s the poppable factor. And then there’s the delicious factor.
Too much goodness in one little package!
So, why exactly am I apologizing?
New year’s resolutions. That’s why.
While you may think: “SWEET! They’re mini! That means I’ll eat less of them!” I’m here to tell you that you can check your new year’s resolutions at the door. Because when it comes to these pumpkin chai mini muffins, there is NO stopping at one…. or 3…. or even 10.
Wish I was exaggerating, but exaggerating I am not.
Now, I feel that I must clear the air in regards to one little thing (but no apologies for this one): PUMPKIN ?
Because, um, HELLO LEAH, pumpkin season is soooo 3 months ago. You may be right BUT promise to hear me out:
(a) These little babies aren’t pumpkin in the sense that they are pumpkin spice. Just plain pumpkin. Two very different things, my friends. I had this funny moment with my brother-in-law last year, when he told me he “hated pumpkin things” right after he had eaten no less than 6 of my white chocolate chunk pumpkin cookies and raved about how good they were (recipe coming soon!). Those pumpkin cookies have pumpkin IN them, but they are not pumpkin spice, which fooled him.
Like my BIL, when people think about pumpkin in the fall, I betcha they are thinking pumpkin spice not PUMPKIN. Regular, plain ol’ pumpkin? Totally acceptable year round (I’d argue the same for pumpkin spice, but a few of you might shoot me down on that one 😉 )
(b) Pumpkin works WONDERS in gluten-free baking. Miracles, even. Moisture can be hard to come by in gluten-free baking. And texture? Even tougher. But add a little pumpkin into the mix and both problems are magically solved. Really! Make these muffins; be amazed.
Now that we have the PUMPKIN elephant out of the way, let’s talk about what makes these mini muffins so spectacular: the chai aspect.
I don’t know about you, but I am a SUCKER for chai any and every thing. When we lived in DC, Anthony and I used to take walks all the way to Baked & Wired (a 6-ish mile trek roundtrip) more frequently than I would like to admit, just so I could get one of their chai tea lattes. (At least burning them off wasn’t an issue with all that walking!?)
I realized recently that, despite my chai love affair, I had never actually baked anything with chai involved by myself. THE HORROR! And once chai was on my mind, there was no stopping until that craving was satisfied (obviously). Only problem? The only thing I had on hand was masala chai black tea bags. But like I said: no stopping.
So, I decided to infuse my pumpkin with chai spice, by soaking the masala chai tea bag contents in the pumpkin. Weird? You betcha. Tasty? There aren’t even words.
When you’re looking at your tea cabinet looking for the perfect tea bag contents to add to this recipe (again: weird, I know, but trust me), try to find a chai tea that is of the black tea variety and is very finely ground. None of that huge loose leaf tea nonsense. You want a thinner, finer grind. These are the ones I used for this recipe. And they worked like a charm!
Bonus: like a fine wine, these pumpkin chai mini muffins actually get better with time! Something you usually can’t say about gluten-free baked goods, as they tend to perish quickly. BUT the longer these mini muffins sit, the more the chai flavor infuses into the muffins. And the pumpkin does a phenomenal job of keeping them moist and delicious for days on end ?. For me, it’s a toss up over whether day 2 or day 3 is better. You’ll have to let me know your thoughts.
Again, my sincerest apologies to your resolutions.
Actually, on second thought – #SorryNotSorry 😉
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 masala chai tea bags (contents of - about 2 teaspoons)
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Combine pumpkin puree and contents of chai tea bags in a small bowl. For best flavor, allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin tin with paper liners.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, canola oil, and chai tea infused pumpkin puree. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the gluten-free flour blend, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well.
- Scoop the batter into the mini muffin tin, filling each hole ¾ full (about 1 Tablespoon of batter).
- Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
PS – Don’t you love those little spring-time mini-muffin liners? In protest to winter, I just had to bust them out (even if this has been the mildest winter ever so far in the north-east!) A pumpkin (aka fall) recipe, posted in the winter, decked out in springtime gear. Yup, I’m officially losing it. But more proof that these muffins are good in ANY season! Truly!
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