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Chai-Chocolate Doughnut Muffins

Trail Snacks With Lentine Alexis

Sadly, it’s unlikely that there is a doughnut shop at your favorite trailhead. So why not pack a treat with you for your next hike?

This recipe starts with a simple sour cream doughnut batter, filled with a decadent Nutella center, baked to perfection in a muffin pan, and then rolled in spiced chai sugar. The result is a filled doughnut ready for your next trail adventure, camp brunch, or cozy breakfast at home as you plan fall forays.

Chai-Chocolate Doughnut Muffins

makes 12 muffins


for the doughnut muffin batter

  • Coconut oil spray or non-stick vegetable spray
  • 5 Tbsp. refined coconut oil, room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (packed; 67 g) coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½  tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups (281 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ⅔ cup hazelnut spread (like Nutella)

for the chai-cocoa coating

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp ground chai tea powder (preferably unsweetened)
  • ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt



  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly coat the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with coconut spray.
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in a stand mixer on medium-low speed, beat the coconut oil, butter, granulated sugar, and coconut sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again just to incorporate. Add the eggs, then increase the speed to medium, and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute (your batter may look a little curdled at this point – that’s okay). Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and beat until well combined and very creamy.
  3. Add flour in three batches, alternating with sour cream in two additions, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. When the last batch of flour is nearly incorporated, turn off the electric mixer and finish mixing in the dry ingredients by hand. This ensures that your doughnut batter doesn’t get overworked and that your doughnut muffins end up crumbly and fluffy. 
  4. Into your prepared muffin pan,  scoop 1 heaping Tbsp. batter into each muffin cup. Using a damp finger, flatten the batter in each into a mostly even layer with a slight dip in the center. This is where you’ll create a little pocket for the Nutella. Next, add 2 scant teaspoons of Nutella to the dip in each center, trying to keep the Nutella as contained in the center of the cup as possible. Lastly,  divide the remaining batter evenly among the cups (about 2 Tbsp. each). Using a damp finger, gently press the batter into the corners of each cup, taking care to seal in the Nutella as much as possible. Then, flatten the surface of each muffin.
  5. Bake muffins until golden brown, 17–19 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the doughnut muffins to cool at least 10 minutes in the pan before coating.
  6. While the muffins are cooling, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and set aside.  In a shallow bowl, whisk together the 6 Tbsp granulated sugar, chai powder, and cocoa powder until well combined.
  7. Gently remove muffins from the pan and place them on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet (this will contain any coating crumbs and sprinkles.). Brush the sides of each muffin with the melted butter, then roll in the chai sugar to coat. Then, brush the top of the doughnut muffin with butter and sprinkle with more chai sugar, working over the bowl to catch any excess. Repeat with remaining doughnut muffins, adding more chai sugar to bowl as needed.

Storage tip: muffins will last up to three days, covered loosely and kept at room temperature.

Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete & classically trained chef. The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well and adventure better. Find more recipes and info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis.