Chai-Spiced Almond Muffins

These chewy chai-spiced muffins are from my favorite breakfast and brunch cookbook, Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café. I’ve made almost half the recipes in this cookbook over the many years I’ve owned it and they’ve all turned out wonderful.

chewy chai-spiced muffins

I tweaked the original recipe just a smidge: I upped the almond factor and I used grapefruit instead of orange zest.  The chewy texture comes from mixing in cooked brown rice into the batter. I used my favorite brown rice from Massa Organics. It’s the best brown rice I’ve ever made. It’s slightly sweet and it has a nice chewy texture. I can’t find it at my local grocery, so I order it online.


These muffins freeze well, too. I usually make a big batch to freeze so that I always have a quick and easy breakfast nibble with my morning tea.

chai-spiced muffins and tea

Happy cooking and sipping!

Chai-Spiced Almond Muffins

Adapted by Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie from the Spiced Basmati-Almond Muffins recipe in Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café Cookbook.

 Makes 12 muffins


nonstick cooking spray

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon grated grapefruit zest

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ cups cooked brown rice, cooled

1 cup blanched slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Spiced vanilla bean sugar (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin pan that has 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and grapefruit zest in a medium bowl. Add the brown sugar, crumbling it in with your fingers to break up any clumps. Add the rice, and use your fingers to distribute it throughout the dry mix. Then stir in the almonds.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, almond extract, and grapefruit juice. Slowly pour the wet mixture and melted butter into the dry ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined; just don’t overmix.

4. Fill the muffin cups with batter and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with spiced vanilla bean sugar (if using) when you remove the muffins from the oven. Allow the muffins to cool before serving.


  • Try mixing in other cooked grains in place of the brown rice, such as quinoa.
  • The grapefruit zest and juice give these muffins a bitter bite, which I really like. For a sweeter, tangy bite, try orange zest and orange juice instead.
  • You can use any other type of nut instead of almonds, and vanilla extract can replace the almond extract.
  • These muffins freeze really well.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Laurie says:

    I’ve never used grapefruit zest in baking. i will have to give it a try.

    1. Tea Foodie [by Zanitea] says:

      Laurie, let me know if you try grapefruit zest as a substitute in your baking and how it turns out.

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