Herbs and Spices for Your Desserts

Without spices, your desserts would lack the flavor, punch, and sparkle that you’ve come to expect. Experimenting with different spices will create desserts that help you think out of the box. If you’re looking for new ideas on how to use herbs and spices in your desserts, consider the following suggestions.

Allspice: Allspice gets its name because it offers a taste similar to cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The dried spice berries come in whole or ground form. The spice is ideal for spice cakes and cookies. For pies, use in plum, peach and apple creations. Allspice also works well in flavored breads and steamed puddings.

Anise: The small seeds of anise add a licorice flavoring to cookies, cakes and breads. This spice comes in dried whole seeds or a powdered form. Examples of desserts with anise include Anise Biscotti and Anise Mousse served with tropical fruit.

Cardamom: You tend to see cardamom used in a lot of Indian dishes, but the fragrant, cinnamon-like seed can add pizzazz to your breads, spice cakes, and cookies as well. Use the spice in apple and pumpkin pies. Consider making Cardamom Rice Pudding or a rich carrot pudding for your next dessert.

Cinnamon: The spicy bark of the cassia tree offers a sweet, hot flavored spice for desserts – especially apple pie served during the holidays. Other desserts that benefit from cinnamon include spice cakes, cookies, custards, and other fruit pies.

Cloves: With a pungent and sweet flavor, clove is a spice that often emerges during the winter holidays. The dried whole buds and powdered form adds flavor to spice cakes, cookies, quick breads, and fruit pies. Try making Apple Butter Tarts or Greek Baked Stuffed Apples with cloves.

Fennel Seeds: Offering a slight licorice flavor, fennel seeds are a favorite for Scandinavian bakers who add the spice to their cakes, cookies, and breads.

Ginger: Adding aroma and tang to desserts, ginger is a versatile spice that appears in many cultural sweet treats. Depending on the recipe, you may use dried ground, dried whole, preserved, crystallized, or fresh ginger. Ground dried ginger is used to flavor cakes, cookies, custard, and fruit pies. Cakes and cookies (such as ginger snaps) blossom when crystallized and preserved ginger is added.

Mace: The outer covering of nutmeg is called mace, which offers a similar yet slightly milder flavor than nutmeg. The spice works well in spice cakes, cookies, and custards. Try adding to fruit desserts – especially those made with peaches, plums and apples. Mace Pound Cake could become your next crowd pleaser.

Mint: The refreshing scent of mint adds a cool, flavorful taste to desserts. There are more than 30 varieties of mint, including peppermint, apple mint, and lemon mint. Use in various fruit salad and dessert recipes, such as Mint Chocolate Pie and Peppermint Ice Cream.

Nutmeg: Nutmeg offers a sweet, nutty taste that livens up cookies, cakes, pies, custard, and pastries. The spice is also a flavorful component when making eggnog. Add to your pecan or sweet potato pie recipe. Since ground nutmeg quickly loses its flavor, it is recommended to purchase whole nutmeg and grate when needed.

Poppy Seeds: What is a lemon poppy seed muffin without the poppy seeds? A flower produces the tiny, blue-black seeds that can be used when making cakes, cookies, breads, and pastries. Interestingly, it takes 900,000 poppy seeds to make a pound. Sometimes, the whole seeds are ground into a paste that serves as a filling for some desserts.

Saffron: Swedish bakers add the fragrant spice to cakes and breads. Doesn’t Pears Poached in Saffron Vanilla Bean Syrup sound delicious?

Cinnamon Dessert Bread Recipe

Breads are not typically associated with desserts, however many “cakes” of the past were actually sweetened breads served as an after dinner sweet treat. The varieties are endless. Traditional dessert breads contain nuts, spices or fruits and are prepared for special occasions or during the holidays. Fruit cake is a good example of a traditional dessert bread. Dessert breads are a great alternative to a cake or pie because they can be topped with ice cream, homemade fruit spreads or served warm with fresh, creamy butter. They are also great served with coffee so you can eat your dessert for breakfast!

This cinnamon bread is incredibly cinnamon-y. It is a great addition to your holiday spread or would make a tasty coffee cake served at brunch. It is considered a quick bread recipe because there is no kneading of dough or proofing of yeast required. In other words, it is quick and easy but tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. Serve it warm with apple butter and coffee. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp butter

Directions

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined.

2. Pour into a greased loaf pan.

3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and butter until it appears crumbly.

4. Put the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the bread batter and swirl in with a butter knife.

5. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are a New England tradition with their pillowy cake “bookends” and thick, creamy filling. The first recipes hail from Amish cookbooks and were commonly included in children’s school lunches. According to Amish legend, the cake’s name was coined when the children would yell “whoopie” upon discovering the delicious treat in their lunch bags. Traditional whoopie pies are chocolate with a white, vanilla cream filling today’s baker has endless possibilities when baking this simple yet delightful treat.

These pumpkin spice whoopie pies are to die for. The airy cake has just the right balance of spice and pumpkin to make them extraordinary and the cinnamon cream cheese filling is out of this world. It is rich, cinnamon-y and creamy. It is a great frosting for other cakes as well. This recipe is easy and will please hungry mouths big and small. You might even hear a “whoopie!”

Ingredients

Cake:
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves

Filling
1 package cream cheese softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 dashes cinnamon

Directions

1. Combine brown sugar, sugar, oil and pumpkin until well blended.

2. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and cloves.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Blend until just combined.

5. Cut 4 inch squares of wax paper and layer on large cookie sheets. Using a pastry bag or ziplock bag with the corner cut, pipe the pumpkin batter in concentric circles to edges of wax paper.

6. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

For the filling:

1. Combine cream cheese and butter and blend until fluffy.

2. Add vanilla, cinnamon and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.

Filling each pie with the cream cheese filling and sandwich together.

Cinnamon Desserts: Cinnamon Apple Butterscotch Sticky Buns

This recipe is courtesy of Pastry Chef Rachel Going:

Before I get started with the recipe I’d like to say a word about butterscotch. When I close my eyes and think about the flavor of butterscotch, I taste the buttery, brown sugary, artificial vanilla sweetness of the bright mustard yellow, cellophane-wrapped hard candy that comes from the bulk candy section of the grocery store. To own the title of butterscotch, no other flavor will do. One might be surprised at how many recipes I tried to achieve this artificial flavor, using nothing artificial. But I think I got it. Except mine’s a little better.

cinnamon apple sticky bunCinnamon Apple Butterscotch Sticky Buns

oven 375
makes 12 buns

1 recipe brioche dough (recipe follow)
1 recipe spiced cinnamon sugar (recipe follows)
1 recipe butterscotch sticky bun butter (recipe follows)
2 granny smith apples, chopped and caramelized in a little sugar
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
2 tbsp milk or cream

Prepare a 9×13 baking dish. I prefer glass for no particular reason. Smear the butterscotch butter evenly on the bottom of the pan, Sprinkle caramelized apples and pecans over the top of it. Set aside.

Roll dough on a well floured surface into a 14″ x 12″ rectangle. Brush the dough with the milk or cream and sprinkle evenly with the spiced sugar mix. Roll up from the long side, brushing off any excess flour as you go. Push in the ends so that the whole log is of even thickness. For ease of slicing throw it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Slice into 12 even buns and lay cut side down in your prepared pan. Wrap loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees) until doubled in size. This should take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Bake about 10 minutes before opening the oven. If, at this point you feel that they are getting too dark too quickly, you can cover them loosely with foil. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Allow the buns to cool about 5 minute in the pan before inverting them onto a serving plate or clean cutting board.

Brioche Dough (Note: This is a 2 day recipe, don’t try to rush it.)
from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Dough Starter: (Sponge)
2 Tbsp (1 oz) water, room temperature
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup (2.5 oz)unbleached all purpose flour
1 large egg

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk by hand for about 3 minutes, to incorporate air. The result should be the consistency of a thick, sticky batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Measure out the ingredients for the flour mixture:

1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp (5.5 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, cold
1 stick (4 oz)unsalted butter, very soft

In a small bowl,whisk the flour, yeast, and sugar. Then whisk in the salt (this keeps the yeast from coming into direct contact with the salt, which would kill it). Sprinkle this over the top of the sponge, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 2 hours.

Scrape the dough into the bowl of a mixer, and add the cold eggs. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low until the flour is moistened. Turn it up to medium and continue mixing for 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth, shiny, and sticky. It will not pull away from the bowl completely. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each addition is completely incorporated before adding the next. The dough will be incredibly sticky, but don’t be tempted to add more flour. It will firm up when it’s chilled.

Scrape the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Chill the dough for about an hour, or until firm. When chilled, scrape the dough onto a VERY lightly floured surface and deflate into a rough rectangle using the palms of your floured hands. Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush and give the dough a business letter fold. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the closed side is facing your left. Give it a second business letter fold and round the corners. Wrap loosely but securely in plastic wrap, then place in a large freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days…

Spice Sugar Mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients.

Butterscotch Sticky Bun Butter
3 1/2 sticks (14 oz) salted butter
2 cups (1#) packed dark brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 cup bourbon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Lyle’s golden syrup or corn syrup

Using the paddle attachment, in the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter, vanilla bean and sugar until creamy. In another bowl combine all ingredients. With the mixer on medium speed. slowly add the wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Beat until creamy and slightly emulsified. This can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cinnamon Desserts – Cinnamon Galaxy Cookies Recipe

The Holiday season is here! So, we thought it would be a good idea to feature a few delicious cinnamon dessert recipes! We’ll start with Cinnamon Galaxy Cookies!

Yield: Approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
– 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 large egg
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup Love’n Bake™ Cinnamon Schmear
– Granulated sugar

Cinnamon Galaxy Cookies
photo courtesy of lovenbake.com

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and the 1 cup of sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle until lightened. Scrape the bowl then beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape the bowl then add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.

3. Scrape the dough into a uniform ball. Drop the Love’n Bake™ Schmear in 5 large spoonfuls on the surface of the dough. Marble the Schmear through the dough by running the mixer for a few seconds. (Overmixing will blend the Schmear into the dough, and you will not have the visible swirl in the baked cookies.)

4. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour up to three days.

5. Sprinkle some granulated sugar out onto a flat plate. Divide the dough into generous tablespoon-sized portions. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then roll it in the granulated sugar.

6. Place the balls of dough spaced two inches apart on the baking sheets. Twelve cookies per sheet works well. Press each ball of dough with the bottom of a glass to flatted them.

7. Bake the cookies until they are lightly browned, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.

*********

About: This recipe is courtesy of American Almond Products Company. Since 1924, American Almond Products Company has been crafting artisan-quality specialty nut ingredients for professional bakers, pastry chefs and chocolatiers. They recently created Love’n Bake™ to introduce home cooks to their products –all-natural almond paste, marzipan and hazelnut praline as well as its ready-to-use almond, chocolate and cinnamon Schmear™ fillings. The secret ingredient of professional bakers, Love’n Bake™ has been featured in the N.Y. Times, Food and Wine Magazine and newspapers nationwide. (In November, readers of O Magazine were treated to a Chocolate Pistachio Pie made with Love’n Bake™.)

In Transition Dessert Idea

I’ve been taking this past week to pack up all of my “junk” into boxes, lug it from one house to another, take that same “junk” out of boxes and attempt to get to life normally again. It’s ridiculously frustrating and what becomes even more frustrating is when you expect people over, and you’re totally unprepared.

This post stems partially from this evening and this past week, going from a larger kitchen to an itty-bitty one and attempting to slip back into things. For the past four years, I’ve taken my decent sized kitchen for granted. This new house has a little teeny-tiny kitchen and my parents decided to drop by for dinner and dessert tonight. What. To. Do?

Of course dinner was no issue, just bump up the recipe for the chili a bit and warm up a couple more rolls, no biggie. I hadn’t planned on dessert. I haven’t restocked my pantry from the move… what did I have on hand? What could I make? My lovely parents have been living in their camper for the past two months while building their new house, and definitely haven’t been able to bake to appease the sweet tooth that I inherited from them. I had to make something quick, with whatever it was that I had on hand!
Delicious & Easy!
Now normally, my posts here at 100CafeStreet.com don’t consist of recipes but… what happens when you’re in a pinch? What do you do? The other night I made these awesome fried taco bread things (for lack of something better to call them) and they were a cinch to make! I thought about those delightfully warm and delicious, doughy and wonderful breads and thought “I still have the ingredients on hand for those! I could do that and toss them in some cinnamon sugar!!”

So here, for a great “in a pinch” dessert is a few ingredients that I’m pretty sure everyone has on hand!

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of milk
Combine dry ingredients and then mix in the milk. Knead for about 3-4 minutes and then let rest for about 5 minutes. Break off pieces and flatten, fry on each site in about an inch of oil, shortening (or whatever you choose to fry in) until light golden brown. Let drain on a paper towel and then toss in cinnamon sugar.

Ridiculously easy. Ridiculously droolworthy. Top with a scoop of ice cream while still warm… Simply delicious! (and when I say “simply” I mean it in every sense of the word! These are almost TOO EASY to make!!)

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Bake Me A Wish!

We featured Bake Me A Wish! in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

Bake Me  A Wish, cake, gourmet food, gift, overnight

Founded in 2004, Bake Me A Wish! is a premiere on-line bakery offering handmade cakes based on award-winning family recipes.  Perfected by master pastry chefs and using the freshest and most decadent ingredients available, the cakes are priced between $20 and $66,  including shipping.  The fresh and mouth-watering delights arrive beautifully packaged in a customized box with a personal note.

Bake Me A Wish!icon has unveiled its Holiday Gift Cakes 2009icon.  Now you can celebrate the season by sending delicious cakes to your family, friends, clients and colleagues!  All of the cakes are decorated with an imported Belgian chocolate plaque, a “season’s greetings” salutation and are specially packaged in an elegant gift box to guarantee freshness. For corporate clients, Bake Me A Wish includes a customized gift card with the company’s logo accompanied by a personal message of gratitude. Best of all, Bake Me A Wish!icon cakes are both kosher and certified by Chof-K, perfect for this holiday gift giving season.

Here a few of the Holiday Gift Cakes 2009 offered that are under $35:

icon
iconCaramel Apple Crumb Cake
icon

A moist golden cake layered with apples, cinnamon and topped with a layer of thick, delicious, tender streusel.

Then, a layer of creamy caramel is drizzled on top.

Serves 6-8 people (7” diameter)

Price: $29.99

icon
iconCookies and Cream Cake
icon

A moist and fudgy brownie cake topped with crunchy chocolate sandwich cookie pieces .

Topped with a festive drizzle of white chocolate.

Serves 6-8 people (7” diameter)

Price: $34.99

icon
iconDouble Fudge Crunch
icon

A moist and fudgy brownie cake enrobed with mouth-watering chocolate chip and cinnamon oat streusel, with ribbons of dark chocolate glaze.

AS SEEN ON RACHEL RAY!

Individual Serving (4” diameter)

Price: $15.00

To order your gourmet cake gift or to inquire about Bake Me A Wish’s corporate loyalty programs, please call 888-987-9474.

Fluffy Baked Doughnuts Recipe

Today we customized one of the most delicious doughnuts recipes out there. The original recipe can be found here.

Preparation Time: approx. 20 minutes
Baking Time: approx. 10 minutes
Total time: approx. 30 minutes
Servings: 12

fluffy doughnutsIngredients:
#  2 cups cake flour
# 3/4 cup white sugar
# 2 teaspoons baking powder
# 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
# 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
# 1 teaspoon salt
# 3/4 cup buttermilk
# 2 eggs, beaten
# 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
# 1 tablespoon melted butter
# 200g milk chocolate
# 200ml fresh cream
# grated nestle peppermint crisp

Preparation:
#  Preheat oven to 338F/170c. Lightly grease a doughnut pan.
# In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and butter. Beat together until well blended.
# Fill each doughnut cup approximately 3/4 full. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Ganache:
# Bring the cream to boil, remove from stove and add your chocolate. Mix until all chocolate is melted.
# Dip cooled doughnuts into ganache and top with grated peppermint crisp.

My kids finished these within an hour…LOL. I got to taste just one.

Enjoy!! And let us know if you liked them!