Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chai-Tea Mini Cupcakes

I like tea. I might like chai tea if I actually knew what it is. I've seen it on the Starbucks menu on the rare occasion that I'm in a Starbucks. I'm not a coffee drinker and don't frequent places like Starbucks because I find them intimidating, there isn't anything on their menu that interests me (unless we're talking about desserts which I don't need) and I don't see the point in spending $4 or more on something I can get at home or at work for free. Call me crazy. After making chai-tea mini cupcakes (no recipe on Martha's website) I'm still not sure that I know what chai tea is, but my guess is something like black tea infused with milk, or maybe just black tea. Or maybe none of the above. Who knows.

Because I didn't (and still don't) know what chai tea is before I made these cupcakes I wasn't confident that I would like them and therefore I wasn't really looking forward to making them. But, the nice thing about this recipe was that I had pretty much everything I needed on hand other than black tea bags and sweetened condensed milk. Martha suggested the type of tea to get, Ceylon, but I just looked for the cheapest black tea I could find. We have a Keurig so we don't really use tea bags much anymore and Bobby is more of the tea drinker in the house, and he doesn't like black tea. So, I found a box of black tea bags for $1.25, used the 2 I needed and took the rest to work and left them in the mini cafe. Someone is bound to use them.

First order of business was steeping the tea. While the milk simmered and then steeped with the tea bags in it I combined all the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, and lined my mini cupcake pans with mini cupcake liners. Another recipe that didn't require me to butter and flour pans, I'm on board. Once the tea had steeped and cooled I combined everything together. The batter wasn't a pourable consistency so I used a tablespoon to fill each of the liners. The recipe said I would get 46 cupcakes but I would say I got around 36 or so. I may have filled the liners fuller than I needed to (Martha said three-quarters full) but the cupcakes all came out a good size, not too big, nice and rounded just like I like them. So, I was fine with it.

The recipe said to bake the cupcakes for 10-12 minutes and turning the pan once halfway through the baking time. Because you can't unbake something I started with 10 total minutes of baking time for the first batch. This ended up not being enough time so I added 2 minutes to the first batch and baked the second for 12 total minutes from the start. Perfection. The cupcakes cooled in the pans on a wire rack and then on a wire rack by themselves while I debated in my head about whether or not I wanted to ice them that day, or wait until the next day.

Eventually I decided to just make all my mess at once and get everything done. After all, the condensed-milk icing wasn't very difficult to make. It also yielded way more icing than I needed for the amount of cupcakes I had. Even if I had gotten 46 cupcakes from the recipe I still would have had more than I needed. It may have been that I didn't use enough icing on them, but I certainly wasn't stingy. I dipped the top of each cupcake into the icing and then placed them back on the wire racks so the icing could set. Of course I taste tested throughout the process and at no point did the cupcakes taste like tea. They just tasted like another variation of a spice cake which I very much enjoyed. Probably a little too much since I ended up eating way more than I wanted to. They're just such a perfect size for snacking, you forget how many you're eating. Good thing I had run 5 miles earlier in the day to balance it all out. Shedding for the wedding is going strong! Minus my mini cupcake episode of course. Shh... don't tell.