5 ways to elevate your baking with spices

EEliza September 17, 2023 7:01 AM

Baking is a delicious art form, and spices are the color palette that brings your creations to life. Whether you're making sweet treats or savory delights, incorporating spices can enhance and amplify the flavor profiles of your dishes. Here are five ways to elevate your baking with spices.

1. Know your spices

Understanding the flavor profiles of different spices is key. Some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom are sweet, making them perfect for desserts. On the other hand, spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika lend themselves well to savory baked goods. Experiment with different spices to discover unexpected and delightful flavor combinations.

2. Use fresh spices

Freshness is crucial when it comes to spices. Fresh spices have a stronger, more vibrant flavor than their older counterparts. Always check the expiration date when buying spices, and try to use them within a year. Grinding your own spices can also help retain freshness.

3. Incorporate spices in the dough

Spices don't just have to be sprinkled on top of your baked goods. Incorporating them into your dough can infuse your entire dish with flavor. For example, adding cinnamon to the dough of a cinnamon roll can help distribute the flavor more evenly, resulting in a more satisfying bite.

4. Use spice-infused sugar or syrup

Spice-infused sugar or syrup can add an extra layer of flavor to your baked goods. This method involves infusing sugar or syrup with your chosen spice and using it in your recipe. It's perfect for creating subtly spiced baked goods or for adding a hint of spice to a recipe without overwhelming it.

5. Experiment with spice blends

Don't be afraid to mix and match spices. Spice blends can bring a unique and complex flavor to your baked goods. For example, pumpkin pie spice – a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice – is a classic fall favorite that works well in a variety of sweet baked goods. Similarly, za'atar – a blend of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds – can add a savory twist to bread or pastries.

Spice Best used in Notes
Cinnamon Sweet baked goods, like cakes, cookies, and pastries Sweet, warm flavor
Nutmeg Desserts, particularly those with cream or custard Sweet, nutty flavor
Cardamom Breads, cakes, and pastries Sweet, slightly citrusy flavor
Cumin Savory baked goods, like breads and biscuits Warm, earthy flavor
Coriander Cookies, cakes, and breads Sweet, slightly citrusy flavor
Paprika Savory baked goods, like breads and biscuits Sweet or smoky flavor, depending on the variety

Remember, when it comes to baking with spices, it's all about balance. Too little and you won't taste them; too much and they can overpower your dish. So start small, taste as you go, and adjust as needed.

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