Pumpkin Chai Muffin Tops

I have always really liked baking for as long as I can remember. Cookies, pies, muffins, cupcakes…you name it, I like to bake it. As far back as elementary school I daringly embarked upon crazy tasks, like making my own red, white, and blue striped chocolate shavings for a 4th of July cake (with the help of my grandma, of course. After all, I was only 11).

It always seems to be holidays and events that inspire me. During my senior year of high school, my mom found me on more than one Thursday evening in the fall baking enough chocolate chip cookies for the entire football team. Why? I’m not really sure, other than the obvious fact that my boyfriend and most of his teammates were a very complimentary demographic when it came to giving them free cookies.

But really, I got to thinking about what it is about baking that I really love. First of all, nothing says “loving” like something from the oven!

Okay, seriously. Baking itself relaxes me. But have you ever given someone a perfectly created muffin you made yourself? It makes them happy. And I like making people feel happy. Giving away the stuff I bake feels like spreading a little bit of joy.

On Sunday, I caught the baking bug again, this time pumpkin and fall-inspired. I made up two recipes: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin muffins (which you can see here) and something I’m now calling “Pumpkin Chai Muffin Tops.”

There comes a time in every amateur baker’s life where you have to decide not to ask mom or call grandma and just throw caution to the wind and create something. There’s a good possibility that what you make could taste really, really bad, or you could create something AWESOME.

I was fortunate that my Pumpkin Chai Muffin Tops turned out awesome. Their texture is just as it sounds – it’s like cutting the top off of a moist, soft muffin, except I topped them with Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses. The batter resembles that of a cupcake, and the finished product looks more like a cookie, making that first bite a delightful surprise.

Because this is a nutrition blog, I must note that, while these are still a dessert, they do have some healthy benefits. Nowadays, I try not to make any baked goods without redeeming factors. Gone are the days of chocolate chip cookies and in are the days of oatmeal craisin cookies and the like. Because of the pumpkin, these cookies will get you 20% of your daily Vitamin A. This essential vitamin helps prevent our eyes and skin from drying out and it promotes vision, growth, and overall immune function.

So here it is, folks – hope you enjoy them as much as my friends and family did!

Finished product – so yummy!

Pumpkin Chai Muffin Tops

A Nicci Brown Original Recipe


  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter (8 T.) (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 cup regular Sugar
  • ½ can Libby’s Canned Pumpkin (7.5 oz total)
  • ¼ cup Oregon Chai concentrate (found at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Whole Foods)

  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 cups regular Flour
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 1 ½ t. Cardamom
  • 1 ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¾ t. Ginger
  • ¼ t. Cloves
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • 32 Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses


  • Ahead of time, let butter sit out for a couple of hours to soften.
  • Preheat oven to 325° F.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, pumpkin, chai concentrate, vanilla, and egg with a hand mixture until thoroughly blended.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate smaller bowl.
  • Add flour mixture slowly to pumpkin mixture, mixing thoroughly.
  • In a small Tupperware-like container with a lid, combine cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Put lid on and shake to mix.
  • Refrigerate dough for about thirty minutes to thicken consistency (and in this spare time, unwrap the Kisses).
  • Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking pans – dough should mostly hold its shape without spreading prior to baking.
  • Bake for a total of 17-20 minutes.
    • After about 5 minutes, open oven and sprinkle cinnamon mixture on the tops of the muffin tops (I used a tea leaf steeper because it was handy and it had the perfect size tiny holes).
    • Continue baking for remainder of time.
    • Muffin tops should be golden and very slightly brown around the edges.
    • As soon as you remove muffin tops from the oven, gently place a Hershey’s kiss in the middle of each muffin top.
      • *It is important that you do this while the muffin tops are still on the pan before you transfer them to a cooling rack – the delicate structure of the muffin tops will not hold up to the pressing down of the Kisses without the support of the pan beneath them.
    • EVER SO GENTLY transfer the muffin tops from the pan to the cooling rack, taking special care not to disrupt the Kisses – they will be very soft from the heat of the muffin tops.
    • Let cool for a really long time (upwards of four hours) before storing to let Kisses cool and reset.
    • Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 Muffin Top
Calories: 105
Total Fat: 4 grams
Sat Fat: 2.5 grams
Unsat Fat: 1.5 grams
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Sodium: 35 mg
Potassium: 10 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16 grams
Dietary Fiber: .5 grams
Sugars: 9 grams
Protein: 1.5 grams
Vitamin A: 20% daily value
Iron: 2% daily value
Calcium: 2% daily value

On another side note, if you just made one batch of these, you now have a lot of Oregon Chai Concentrate leftover. On the side of that box, there is a delightful recipe for Chai lattes. They are a delicious fall drink and will complement your muffin tops nicely.

Happy Autumn!

One Response to “Pumpkin Chai Muffin Tops”
  1. Sarah says:

    Good call on the Oregon Chai, that is the best tasting kind!!

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