Whole Wheat Chocolate Chai Muffins



I think I subconsciously sabotaged myself.

Two weeks ago, I couldn’t decide what kind of muffin to bake for my Brain Food 101 experiment. I debated between fruity and chocolatey. Back and forth between the two. Then back and forth once more for good measure.

As you may recall, I landed on apple cinnamon doughnut muffins. But then I ruined my experiment on the best way to store muffins.

You see, any good scientist knows that experiments are generally useless if you forget to collect data and make observations at regular intervals. Which I may or may not have done.

Clearly, I subconsciously sabotaged the experiment so that I would have to make more muffins. This time of the chocolate variety. And now my cravings for both fruity and chocolatey muffins have been satisfied.



Whole Wheat Chocolate Chai Muffins

Based on my Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

1 3/4 cup low-fat milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons instant chai powder (see Savvy Tip)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Olive oil and turbinado sugar, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease and flour a mini or regular muffin tin.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk and vinegar and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and chai.

Savvy Tip: If you don’t have instant chai powder, grind some chai tea in a spice grinder. Alternatively, steep two bags of chai tea in the milk for 10 minutes before you begin. Remove the tea and add the vinegar, as instructed above.

Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, olive oil and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs and beat well. Beat in half of the dry ingredients and all of the liquid ingredients. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients until just blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin up to the rims. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Bake 14-16 minutes for mini muffins, or 16-20 minutes for standard muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brush the still-warm muffins with olive oil and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Savvy Tip: This batter also makes a wonderful quick bread. Grease and flour a loaf pan, add the batter and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Here’s how to store your quick breads and muffins!


  1. says

    These cookies sound and look lovely! I just love whole wheat flour! I so much tastier and healthier than white flour, i don’t even even understand why doesn’t everyone use it for everything.

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Using all whole wheat flour makes it taste too grainy for my taste sometimes, and I think that’s why a lot of people don’t use it. But I love the added health benefits and the nutty taste, so I usually do 1/2 – 2/3 whole wheat and use white flour for the rest…can hardly tell the difference!

      • says

        Julie, try using whole wheat pastry flour. It’s fluffier than regular whole wheat flour and doesn’t have that same graininess. I use it all the time in pancakes, muffins, cakes, etc. You can usually sub it 1-for-1 with APF so you get all the lovely benefits of whole grains without the toughness.

          • says

            I looked this up and forgot to reply!
            Per 100 grams (just under a cup, so way more than a serving)
            APF: 3 grams dietary fiber, 10 grams protein
            Whole wheat flour: 12 grams dietary fiber, 14 grams protein
            Whole wheat pastry flour: 13 grams dietary fiber, 10 grams protein

            APF tends to be fortified after it’s stripped of nutrients. My favorite description is, “It’s like giving someone a dollar and getting 60 cents back.”

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I believe (never)home maker had a post about making your own chai mix!

  2. says

    Nom Nom! these sound marvelous…I used to make chocolate chai biscotti every year…they on the other hand – only required the spices usually present in chai (ginger, cinnamon, etc).
    Another chai cupcake recipe I have does just what you suggested though, to steep the chai in the milk before adding it to the batter. I see that you use vinegar and milk… could one use buttermilk instead do you think? I love it, and always have it on hand now, and on the calorie side, buttermilk has only 0.25% fat. Lot less than milk! Last thing: I dont own a spice grinder, do you think a coffee grinder would do the same job? Or i better use my mortar and pestle and then pass it through a small seive?

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I think either the coffee grinder or the mortar/pestle would work. I used to add the tea without grinding it into powder, but then you’d get a bite with a big chunk of cloves or something. So as long as you get it down to a fine powder, it should be fine.

      And yes, you can use buttermilk as a replacement. I almost never have buttermilk on hand, but always have 1% milk and vinegar in my kitchen, so that’s why I use the combo 🙂