Baking with exotic spices: Saffron, cardamom & more

NNicholas October 21, 2023 4:06 PM

If you're someone who enjoys baking, you're likely always on the hunt for new ways to bring surprising and delightful flavors into your creations. One way to do this is by incorporating an unexpected ingredient: exotic spices. In this article, we'll dive into the world of baking with exotic spices, focusing on two in particular - saffron and cardamom.

Understanding the spices

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the 'saffron crocus'. It's prized for its unique flavor, aroma, and golden-yellow color. This spice is often used in savory dishes, but it also adds a luxurious and distinct flavor to sweets and baked goods.

Cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum. It comes in two types - green and black. Green cardamom has a sweet, light flavor and is ideal for delicate pastries, while black cardamom has a strong flavor and is better suited for hearty, spicy dishes.

How to use saffron and cardamom in baking

When it comes to using these spices in baking, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Infuse the spice: For both saffron and cardamom, one of the best ways to extract their flavor is by infusing them into your liquid ingredients. Simply heat your milk or cream with a pinch of the spice, let it steep for a while, then strain and use the infused liquid in your recipe.

  2. Add to the dry mixture: Another way to use these spices is by grinding them into powder and adding them to your dry ingredients. This method is particularly effective for cardamom.

  3. Use in icings and glazes: For an extra hit of flavor, consider adding a bit of ground saffron or cardamom to your icings and glazes.

  4. Combine with other flavors: Both saffron and cardamom pair beautifully with a range of other ingredients. Try combining them with flavors like vanilla, citrus, or chocolate.

Exotic spice baking recipes

Here are some baking recipes which star our exotic spices:

  1. Saffron-infused orange cake: This cake gets its unique flavor from a saffron-infused orange syrup that's brushed over the top.

  2. Cardamom-spiced carrot cake: A classic carrot cake is given a spiced twist with the addition of ground cardamom.

  3. Saffron and cardamom shortbread cookies: These buttery shortbread cookies are subtly flavored with saffron and cardamom.

  4. Spiced apple muffins with a cardamom crumble topping: The warming spices in these muffins make them perfect for a cozy autumn day.

  5. Saffron and lemon drizzle cake: The tartness of the lemon balances out the richness of the saffron in this moist and flavorful cake.

Baking with exotic spices like saffron and cardamom can truly elevate your desserts, adding complexity and depth to their flavor profiles. So why not take a leap and start experimenting with these spices in your own kitchen?

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