Category Archives: cardamom

Twenty Five Days of Cookies:  Cardamom & Pepito Chocolate Bark

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Christmas is just two days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

I’ve heard it said that chocolate brings everything together and this is definitely the case with this spicy and sweet chocolate bark. Although I’ve included a recipe here, consider it to be more of a method. I’ve used a combination of both dark and semi-sweet chocolate but you can use a single kind or a combination that excites you. The same goes for the stir-ins. I love the complex flavor of cardamom but it is definitely an acquired taste. Ground cinnamon makes a lovely substitution. I like to use a combination of crunchy and chewy for my nuts and fruit and toasted pepito seeds and tart and chewy cherries are my preferred flavors this season. However, in previous years I’ve included chopped candied ginger, toasted almonds, and sunflower seeds. The options are unlimited and so go ahead and experiment. That’s half of the fun!

CARDAMOM & PEPITO CHOCOLATE BARK

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 cups dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 cups pepito seeds, toasted
12 cup dried tart cherries
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted, 8 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from pan and stir in cardamom and half of the pepito seeds and half of the cherries.
  • Spread mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet into a 10” x 7” rectangle, about ¼” thick.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the remaining pepitos and cherries.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the salt.
  • Chill, uncovered, until bark hardens, about 2 hours.
  • Break into pieces to serve.

Yields 20-25 pieces

Blueberry Tea Cake

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I’m a huge fan of summer berries and going back to my Maine roots, blueberries are by far my favorite of all the berries. And because I am a native Mainer, when it comes to blueberries, in my opinion wild ones are far superior to cultivated ones. Smaller in size and darker in color, wild blueberries are sweeter and yield more of a “summer taste”. Unfortunately, fresh wild blueberries aren’t easy to find in many parts of the world so fresh cultivated ones will do in a pinch–because after all, fresh blueberries are better than no blueberries at all.

When you’ve had your fill of blueberry pies, pancakes and muffins and you’ve canned more jam than you can possibly eat and/or gift (can you tell what I do will all my fresh berries?), it is time to look for alternative uses for these sweet little berries.  And when that time comes, look no further than this easy and flavorful tea cake from Williams Sonoma. The cake comes together quickly and with just a hint of spicy cardamom and a generous amount of fresh blueberries, it is the perfect snack or lunchbox treat. Of course, fresh wild blueberries are best but lacking them, feel free to substitute cultivated ones or even frozen berries. If you do use the frozen version, be sure to lightly dust them in flour before adding them to the batter. This will prevent them from “bleeding”.

 

BLUEBERRY TEA CAKE

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 cup plain yogurt

2 cups fresh wild blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until thick and fluffy.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter, rum and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the yogurt, and stir until just smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with the spatula.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Yields: 1- 8 inch square cake

 

Salted Cardamom Oatmeal Cookies

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Cookies. Who doesn’t love a good cookie? I know I do. They are great with coffee, tea or milk; can be eaten as a stand alone dessert or a snack are the perfect lunchbox treat for kids of all ages. And just as much as eating them, I love to bake them. Cookies that come together quickly are my favorite as are those with interesting ingredients. And these cardamom infused oatmeal cookies from The Yankee Kitchen Ninja fit the bill on both fronts.

Cardamom is definitely an acquired taste; you either love it or you don’t. Personally, I love it. Cardamom is spicy with hints of pepper and ginger and adds a surprising punch of flavor to any dish. Although I most often think of it as belonging in savory dishes, when combined with salt and added to these oatmeal cookies it is absolutely fabulous. So if you don’t already have cardamom on hand, go buy some and make these cookies. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

SALTED CARDAMOM OATMEAL COOKIES

3/4 cup al-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extra

1 1/2 cups old fashion rolled oats

Coarse sea salt (for topping)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cardamom, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and using the electric mixer, beat on low-speed.
  • Fold in the oatmeal.
  • Leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie, drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with sea salt.
  • Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until the edges are browned and the middle of the cookies are still soft.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before moving the cookies to a wire rack.
  • Cool completely.

Yields: 32 1 1/2 inch cookies

 


 

Blueberry-Rhubarb Chutney

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Chutney is one of my favorite condiments. Chutneys are simple sauces that combine sweet with savory, a place where a healthy dose of spices combines with fruits and vegetables to create a flavorful sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to just about any meat or poultry. This chutney was inspired by one I found on the Epicurious website. At first glance the combination of ingredients may seem a bit strange. Blueberries and rhubarb are a sweet and sour pairing that makes sense but onion, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger? Absolutely. It is this curious combination of spices and flavors that makes chutney so wonderful. And chutney is so forgiving; you can add or substitute spices as inspiration hits. If your taste buds crave it there isn’t a wrong combination. Because it taste best served at room temperature it travels well and can sit on a dinner or buffet table for hours.

I served this chutney at room temperature alongside grilled ribeye steaks but it would be just as good with grilled chicken.

BLUEBERRY-RHUBARB CHUTNEY

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 cinnamon sticks

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1 cardamom pod

4 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped

3/4 cup dried blueberries

3 green onions, chopped

  • Combine the sugar, red wine vinegar, cinnamon sticks, ginger, orange peel and cardamom pod in a large sauce pan set over medium heat.
  • Cook until the sugar dissolves and just begins to boil.
  • Add the rhubarb, dried blueberries, and green onions and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the temperature and continue to cook until the rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, about 4 minutes.
  • Discard the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pod.
  • Cover and refrigerate until the chutney is cold, at least 1 hour.
  • Return to room temperature before serving.

Yields: 2 cups

 

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