Scent and Spice: Figgy Chai Muffins

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

-I so rarely ever start with lists...-

Some things you may not know about me:
  • I hate when people call me Gary. Given, I’ll use the name Gary when the kid at Jamba Juice asks me for it as they always mishear me and shout the name Derek when my order is ready. Other than that, no, please do not call me Gary. I will have to punch you in the throat.
  • I don’t have a type. When I was dating my only pre-reqs were that any potential mates had no criminal history and didn’t do drugs (if it was a hookup then these rules were negligibly a bit more lax). Things like race and body type aren’t huge factor to me; personality is. Points if potential mate can pull off a well-tailored vest.
  • I would go straight for Lucy Lawless. Unquestionably. BF is aware of this fact and has made his peace with it.
  • I lick the salt off chips before I eat them. It's a very strange habit and I have to remind myself not to lick my chips in public otherwise people look at me funny.
  • I find the following distasteful: grocery store tomatoes, Ann Coulter, tabloid magazines, people who read tabloid magazines, western novels, repeats of 80’s comedies, overly aggressive drag queens.
  • I find the following to be rather enjoyable: repeats of Xena: Warrior Princess, Lucy Lawless (see item 3), the 10th Doctor, Kit Kat bars, Jane Austen novels, overly aggressive drag queens.
  • I love a fine cologne. Preferably with hints of citrus, sandalwood, raspberry, or any number of spices such as clove or cardamom. Gush.

-Also, I love a good back rub, but that's not the topic of this post.-

The latter is particularly true about me. Combined with item number 2 in that list any man wearing the right cologne can simply cause me to ride right off my wagon and go tumbling into the sheets. It’s rather embarrassing though I can’t say I mind it. Consider Happy for Men my slutty kryptonite in a smart orange-glass flask.

One particular friend knew how to smartly apply cologne using techniques that probably required more forethought than a home loan. He would spritze the air leaving a perfumed cloud of mist to hang momentarily and, before it began to descend, he would briskly walk through it. A quick spray on the wrists so that in case hands went roaming later in the night with some unexpected someone a hint of nutmeg would entice. Lastly, and quite clevery I might add, a small amount on the back of the neck. When dancing closely with said unexpected someone their nose would be enticed by a spot of scent, the prey engaged and caught.

Throughout the night I could smell him and I must say his technique was rather effective.

BF learned from him how to properly apply cologne. He uses the knowledge to its ultimate. Simply enough, cologne, particularly the spices within them, drives me bonkers.

-A kiss of Calvin Klein's Obsession is quick to put the spurs to me, too.-

It's not too much of a surprise, really, just how much the scent of spices can affect someone. In his book, Spice: The History of a Temptation, Jack Turner chronicles not just the history of the spice trade but why spices influenced the world. Spices were used monetarily and could be used to even buy or end lives. Religions framed traditions around them. Traders made fortunes trekking them across oceans and mountains. Lovers married into kingdoms with bags of cloves and baskets of mace.

Spices are one of those unique things in the world that dwells in opposites. Spices like ginger and cinnamon are comforting and warm, they remind you of fragrant flavors and holiday cakes enjoyed with friends. Yet, at the same time their intoxicating, heady aromas are both wanton and intriguing. Sexy, even.

-Damn sexy.-

Is it any wonder bakers have fallen so head over heels for the cologned scent of a cardamom-laced spice cake or financiers studded with cracked allspice berries? Even chocolate with a hint of crushed pink pepper can make most men swoon.

Personally, I can find few scents more intoxicating than a good chai mixture. Embracing cinnamon, musky cloves, exotic cardamom, spicy black pepper, and celebratory points of star anise with striking tips as sharp as needles. Plus the bitter scent of tea (not a spice, but, lord, why nitpick?).

Chai is the pinnacle of spice blend. It is lovely, wild, and a dab behind the ears is enough to make me melt; yet, a mug of it warm in bubbling water is softer than a downy blanket.

A good baker knows to use chai, as one can with these muffins. Figs (also both sweet and sexy) make for a rightful pairing and make the cupcake a perfumed work in and of itself. Erotic and comforting I promise that making these for your love won't just garuntee you a good cuddle, but the wild stuff that comes before it, too.

Figgy Chai Muffins
Adapted from my Oatmeal Muffin Recipe at Simply Recipes

1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 chai tea bags
1/4 cup of chopped figs
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted and cooled
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a twelve-slot muffin tin or line the slots with paper baking cups.

2. Mix together the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, contents of the chai tea bags (toss the paper), and figs. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and butter.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir together. Be sure not to over-stir as that will cause the muffins to develop too many gluten bonds. It should be thick and gloppy. About 10 seconds of stirring should do; just enough to barely bring the ingredients together. Scoop into prepared muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tray for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins.


  1. Sounds like a lovely combination!
    And thanks for the tips on cologne application, a recipe & a lesson on how to woo a mate?! What a great post ;)

  2. I agree. This flavor combination does sound delicious. I love chai and figs so how can these two things together possibly be bad.

    I'll admit I do have a type though. Physically, no, but personality-wise, absolutely.

  3. I am SO going to make these next weekend when I have to bring snacks for a breakfast meeting :) And I will admit that the scents that score way higher on the man-lure scale are baking scents! I get more attention from a little cinnamon or nutmeg scent I leave behind than any bvlgari can muster. I will admit to being both thrilled and repulsed by aggressive drag queens too... It's mostly jealousy, I'm sure, as I know I will never pull of mascara and heels the way they do...

  4. I'm with you on the chips thing .. Luckily, I haven't done it in public in quite a while. Some people just don't understand.

  5. Hey, I read that Jack Turner book the summer before last—it was super fascinating!

    I've never commented here before, but I've been following your blog for awhile and it's good fun, I love your stories. This is definitely a post after my heart; combining awesome things: books, spices, tea, tempting men, and that recipe looks great. I'd have to substitute homemade chai mix for the bags, though...

  6. I have a half basket of figs I've been wanting to use and I love chai! Thanks, I'll be making these tonight!

  7. Gorgeous muffins! And I totally forgot how much I love kitkat bars, definitely going to get a bag on the mini ones asap.

  8. I love cologne like that too, but it gives me hives, which is not exactly alluring. Those are some seriously good-looking figs.

  9. I'm a little late reading this Garrett, but my favorite wintertime cologne is Jo Malone's Nutmeg & Ginger. Unisex and deliciously spicy!

  10. Love it! do you have something sinfully espresso, chai, and dark chocolatey?... altogether? hehe

  11. Recipe looks delicious. I can't wait until figs are in season - and to make these muffins! I appreciate your post, as I actually read the entire thing. Loved the list, by the way. Lists are my thing. (=

  12. I made these muffins and they were incredible! The batter was a lot runnier than in your picture but they came out very moist and delicious 10/10


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger