Friday, December 9, 2011

Cardamom / Sugar & Spice Christmas Blend - Margaret Ullrich

When it comes to spices, Swedes are big spenders.
I've already said enough about Saint Lucia and saffron.
Making real Swedish saffron buns is still on my Bucket List.

Saffron is often not found among the usual spices.
I've heard of women asking, weeks in advance, if it could be ordered for their 
holiday recipes.
Tradition is a bitch.

Now we're going to take a look at cardamom.
Don't panic.

Cardamom can be found year round.
Well, it can, if your grocery store has a large spice section.
It's costly, but a little goes a long way.

In Scandinavia cardamom is used in pastries, much as North Americans use cinnamon.
A favorite in India, it was brought to Scandinavia by the Vikings.
East Indians use cardamom in curry and desserts.

Cardamom is a member of the ginger family.
It's often sold as is, in pods.
Each pod holds about 20 tiny black seeds.
Open the pods over a bowl.
At these prices, you don't want to lose even one.
Bruise 2 or 3 seeds and add to coffee grounds while brewing.

The seeds can be ground and used the same as you would any ground spice.
Cardamom combines well with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in cakes and cookies, 
as well as in pumpkin and apple pies.
Ground cardamom is also excellent in mashed potatoes and squash.
Mix it with sugar and sprinkle on French toast, or on hot or cold fruit compote.
Add some cardamom to waffle batter.

You can also nibble the seeds after a rich meal.
Just like anise, which the Romans chewed after a big meal.
Handy at this time of year.

We'll get to anise later this month.
Just in time for New Year's.

Sugar & Spice Christmas Blend

1/2 Cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Makes a scant 2/3 Cup

Sugar & Spice Blend would also add a nice touch to rice pudding.
Or egg nog.

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