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1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line twenty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a medium bowl stir together flour, Chai Spice Seasoning, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in cranberries.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. Frost with Chai Cream Cheese Frosting. If desired, garnish with Sugared Cranberries and cinnamon stick shards. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator. (If using cinnamon stick shards, remove before eating cupcakes.) Makes 20 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.
1. Using an electric spice grinder, small food processor, or clean coffee grinder, finely grind fennel seeds and whole cloves. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground black pepper. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.
1. Roll frozen cranberries in granulated sugar to coat. Place on waxed paper; let stand until dry.
1. Allow cream cheese and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, Chai Spice Seasoning, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1-1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 2-3/4 cups.