These Are the Best Substitutes for Cardamom, Hands Down

Cardamom is a powerful, extra-special spice that can add warmth to savory and sweet dishes alike, from challah and roast poultry, to blondies, hot chocolate, snickerdoodles, and rice pudding. “Think about creative ways to use cardamom and make it a go-…

Cardamom is a powerful, extra-special spice that can add warmth to savory and sweet dishes alike, from challah and roast poultry, to blondies, hot chocolate, snickerdoodles, and rice pudding. “Think about creative ways to use cardamom and make it a go-to spice. It can be a substitute for cinnamon, rather than the other way around,” says Angel Anderson, owner of The Spice Suite in Washington D.C. Ahead, learn all about what makes cardamom unique—and, should you ever run out, the best spice substitutes to use in its place.

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom is a spice that adds warmth to sweet and savory dishes. There are two types of cardamom seeds that you’ll find in a grocery store or spice shop—green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom is the type that home cooks and bakers are more likely familiar with, but both varieties of this expensive spice have a place in savory and sweet dishes. Because it can be pricey to buy both whole and ground cardamom (Anderson notes that it’s the third most expensive spice in the world), you’re more likely to come across recipes that call for green cardamom, so that’s the best variety to have on hand. “Even if you’re not a baker, you can add ground green cardamom to French toast, pancakes, or biscuits—things that most people make all the time—when you’re tired of cinnamon,” she adds.

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Easy Kitchari (Instant Pot Friendly!)

There’s a lot to love about kitchari, the cozy Ayurvedic porridge made with rice and lentils. It’s comforting, nourishing, infused with warming spices, and incredibly customizable. Our inspired take is Instant Pot friendly, making it a 1-pot and 30-min…

Easy Kitchari (Instant Pot Friendly!)

There’s a lot to love about kitchari, the cozy Ayurvedic porridge made with rice and lentils. It’s comforting, nourishing, infused with warming spices, and incredibly customizable. Our inspired take is Instant Pot friendly, making it a 1-pot and 30-minute dish! Let us show you how it’s done.

What is Kitchari?

Kitchari (also known as khichurikhichri, or khichdi) is a dish with ancient roots in India.

Easy Kitchari (Instant Pot Friendly!) from Minimalist Baker →

Mint Zhoug

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t…

During the lockdown, I found myself with all sorts of things that needed to get used up sooner than I expected. I would buy too many lemons, thinking I’d need them. Then realize I had too many and make lemon curd. The grocery shopping delivery service that I use inexplicably had jalapeño peppers on their website (and a few times, padrón peppers!) and I couldn’t not buy those, since those are very rare around here. And because I’ve been doing Instagram Live apéro hour videos, I was concerned about running out of fresh mint, so bought them by the bundles (plural), until one day I realized I had way too much.

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Graham Crackers (vegan option)

Light, crisp and sweet with a hint of spices to balance them, these graham crackers are surprisingly easy to make and very moreish! Whenever we visit the States, my mum and I always buy a box of Graham crackers to snack on (and some to bring home to the UK!). They have such a light, airy texture to them and a strong scent of vanilla, it’s very easy to eat a lot of them in one go. What is the UK equivalent of a graham cracker? We don’t really have anything that is specifically like a graham cracker in the UK. In cheesecake bases where recipes indicate using graham cracker crumbs, we would typically use digestive biscuits. Digestives are slightly similar in that they are quite plain, wholegrain-y, crisp ‘biscuits’/cookies. They have a very different flavour and texture though so it’s not really the same thing (however they will do in recipes like the cheesecake base mentioned). What is the ‘graham’ in graham crackers? Unlike what me and Andy joke about, ‘Graham’ is not just some dude who realllly likes crackers. It refers to the specific type of flour – graham flour- used in the crackers. It’s a fine, whole […]

The post Graham Crackers (vegan option) appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

homemade graham crackers separated on a baking sheet

Light, crisp and sweet with a hint of spices to balance them, these graham crackers are surprisingly easy to make and very moreish!

a bowl of ingredients for making homemade graham crackers

Whenever we visit the States, my mum and I always buy a box of Graham crackers to snack on (and some to bring home to the UK!). They have such a light, airy texture to them and a strong scent of vanilla, it’s very easy to eat a lot of them in one go.

What is the UK equivalent of a graham cracker?

We don’t really have anything that is specifically like a graham cracker in the UK. In cheesecake bases where recipes indicate using graham cracker crumbs, we would typically use digestive biscuits. Digestives are slightly similar in that they are quite plain, wholegrain-y, crisp ‘biscuits’/cookies. They have a very different flavour and texture though so it’s not really the same thing (however they will do in recipes like the cheesecake base mentioned).

homemade graham cracker dough with hands holding it

What is the ‘graham’ in graham crackers?

Unlike what me and Andy joke about, ‘Graham’ is not just some dude who realllly likes crackers. It refers to the specific type of flour – graham flour- used in the crackers. It’s a fine, whole wheat flour which seems pretty hard to get hold of outside of the US. I just use a wholemeal pastry flour which has a low protein content to make sure the crackers are tender. You can’t use a wholemeal bread flour here as that will make the dough heavy.

What gives graham crackers their flavour?

In regular graham crackers, the flavour comes from honey, cinnamon and vanilla. I’ve found that the vanilla flavouring used commercially is an artificial vanilla flavouring which is particularly strong. So, if you want to mimic that specific flavour, you’ll need to get some of the clear vanilla imitation flavouring (e.g. this Wilton one). You can use a ‘real’ vanilla extract in the dough but it will taste less like the shop bought ones.

I’ve used golden syrup in these crackers instead of honey as I prefer the flavour and I like the very crisp texture you get in the end. I’ve tested them with a runny, light honey too and that works well (plus is easier to get in some parts of the world).

cutting out graham cracker dough
docking graham cracker dough with a chopstick

How are graham crackers made?

A dough is formed from dry ingredients of the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt, sugar and raising agents. I like to use baker’s ammonia (ammonium bicarbonate) as the raising agent as it provides the lightest, crispest texture to baked goods like this. However, you can use bicarbonate of soda as I know most people won’t have baker’s ammonia to hand! I add a lil bit of ground cardamom to the dough as well for a slightly spicy, background note.

We rub butter (or vegan butter) into the dry ingredients which coats the flour particles in fat, preventing some gluten formation once the liquids are added. That helps to give a nice ‘short’ (i.e. crumbly, snappy) texture to the crackers and prevents them becoming chewy.

Last of all, the wet ingredients – some syrup, a bit of milk and the vanilla. That’s mixed until we get a soft dough and then chilled so it gets less sticky and easier to roll out.

I like to roll the chilled disk out on a piece of baking paper so that I can get the dough really thin. I score the dough and then bake it straight on the same piece of baking paper. I also dock the dough before baking – I used a chopstick end (a la Bravetart) to get a more authentic look. You can use a fork to dock it though to speed things up! The docking helps the dough rise more evenly and become less puffy when baking. I bake the dough as one huge sheet so that as it spreads, the lines stay straight. If you cut them and bake the crackers as individual squares, the edges spread out and become less clean. This is also why I leave the uneven edges in place as the cracker bakes (plus it provides a buffer for if any of the dough around the edges darkens too much).

Once baked, you can finally snap the huge cracker along the score lines into lil squares! Pop them into an airtight container and they’ll actually stay crisp for ages – a few weeks at least.

snapping a large homemade graham cracker sheet into smaller crackers

Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers

Yield: 70-80, 5cm (2-inch) square crackers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 120g (1 cup) plain white (all-purpose) flour
  • 110g (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) wholemeal (whole wheat) pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or bakers ammonia
  • 1/4 tsp fine table salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 70g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • 75g (3 1/2 tbsp) golden syrup (see notes)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk or non-dairy milk (I use oat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. Combine both of the flours, the bicarb (or ammonia), salt, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl. Bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar to break them open, push out the seeds and discard the papery skin. Grind the seeds in the pestle and mortar into a fine powder. Add this to the bowl of dry ingredients too. (If you want to make the dough in a food processor, see the recipe notes below)
  2. Cut the butter into smallish cubes and add to the bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is crubmly. Add the golden syrup, milk (start with 2 tbsp for now) and vanilla extract to the bowl. Use a spoon to stir together to make a moist, soft dough. If it seems too dry, drizzle in a bit more milk and knead it in with your hands.
  3. Divide the dough in half, form into 2 balls and then flatten into disks. Place into a reusable sandwich bag and chill for at least 30 minutes so the dough can firm up.

Roll, shape & bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (320°F) and grab a large cookie sheet/baking tray (I like to use one without a rim for this but a rimmed sheet is fine).
  2. Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of your baking tray. Place the baking paper on your work surface and dust with some plain flour. Take one disk of dough from the fridge and place onto the baking paper. Dust with more flour. Use a rolling pin to roll it out until the dough is about 2mm thick, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it sticking to the rolling pin.
  3. Cut into 5cm (2-inch) squares and leave them connected like this. We will bake the dough as one big sheet so that the crackers stay in a neat shape, then break them up once they're baked! Dock the crackers all over with a fork (or the small end of a chopstick if you want a more authentic look).
  4. Lift the sheet of dough up with the baking paper still underneath it, and lay onto your cookie sheet. Get them into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet so that the crackers can bake evenly. Lower the oven temperature to 140°C fan (280°F) and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and break along the score lines into squares. Allow to cool and then transfer to an airtight container. Repeat with the remaining disk of dough as above.
  6. They will keep for a couple of weeks like this, if they start to soften just lay on a cookie sheet in an oven at 120°C fan (250°F) and bake for 5-10 minutes until crisp again.

Notes

- Make the dough in a food processor: combine the dry ingredients (as in step 1) but place them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse together until no large pieces of butter remain. Add the syrup, milk and vanilla and blend until you get a soft dough.

- You can also use a light, runny honey in place of some/all of the golden syrup (although this won't be vegan).

- I add cardamom to the dough for a bit more of a fragrant flavour. You don't have to do this if you don't like it though.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

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Easy Masala Chai Recipe

Behold, a seriously dreamy cup of chai. It’s creamy, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, caffeine optional, and perfectly spiced.
We already have recipes on the blog for Caffeine-Free Chai Mix and a Vegan Chai Latte. But as we’ve played around…

Easy Masala Chai Recipe

Behold, a seriously dreamy cup of chai. It’s creamy, dairy-free, naturally sweetened, caffeine optional, and perfectly spiced.

We already have recipes on the blog for Caffeine-Free Chai Mix and a Vegan Chai Latte. But as we’ve played around more with customizing the spices and perfecting the flavor, we came up with this version, which uses fresh ginger and whole spices.

We must say, this is our perfect cup of chai. Swoon!

Easy Masala Chai Recipe from Minimalist Baker →

Sourdough Cardamom Rolls Are Our Ideal Weekend Baking Project

Award-winning author Sarah Owens’ latest cookbook, Heirloom, is not about heirloom tomatoes—although you do see one peeking its way into the cover, and you will find a couple recipes using them, like kvass soup and tangy bread salad, when you flip thro…

Award-winning author Sarah Owens’ latest cookbook, Heirloom, is not about heirloom tomatoes—although you do see one peeking its way into the cover, and you will find a couple recipes using them, like kvass soup and tangy bread salad, when you flip through.

“While those beloved plump orbs of the nightshade family are indeed a fine place to begin our exploration into the superior flavor that most heirloom plants possess,” she writes in the introduction, “this book encompasses more substantial topics.”

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Easy Vegan Eggnog

The holidays are upon us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some seriously rich, comforting eggnog.
Let us show you how easy it is to make this 6-ingredient, 1-blender, naturally-sweetened vegan eggnog, perfect for the…

Easy Vegan Eggnog

The holidays are upon us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with some seriously rich, comforting eggnog.

Let us show you how easy it is to make this 6-ingredient, 1-blender, naturally-sweetened vegan eggnog, perfect for the holidays and beyond!

What is Eggnog?

Eggnog is a rich, seasonal beverage traditionally made with eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, and bourbon.

Our version, however, is a little different.

Easy Vegan Eggnog from Minimalist Baker →

Chai Sugar Cookies

Chewy Sugar Cookies with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice and black pepper.

The post Chai Sugar Cookies appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Chewy Chai Sugar Cookies pack a flavor punch with a blend of chai-inspired spices. If you love chai, these are the cookies for you!

Glass of milk next to chai sugar cookies scattered on a piece of parchment paper

INTRO
(more…)

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Claudia Fleming’s Stout Gingerbread

I could probably name about a dozen people who could be called baking legends. One of them is Claudia Fleming, who was the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, and whose book, The Last Course, became a cookbook classic. Claudia was known for desserts that managed to balance seasonal fruits, as well as chocolate, spices, herbs, grains, and even vegetables, not by using fancy techniques, but…

I could probably name about a dozen people who could be called baking legends. One of them is Claudia Fleming, who was the pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, and whose book, The Last Course, became a cookbook classic.

Claudia was known for desserts that managed to balance seasonal fruits, as well as chocolate, spices, herbs, grains, and even vegetables, not by using fancy techniques, but by presenting them with contrasting or complementary ingredients. The Last Course is a compilation of some of her best desserts, which came out in 2001. (My copy, above, is a first edition and I’m proud to say I was one of the first people to buy it.) As books do, this one eventually sailed out of print and used copies went for steep prices. I held on to mine, resisting offers to sell it. But I’m happy to report that The Last Course is back in print, and available to all.

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Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry

Excuse us while we dive head-first into this creamy, luxurious, 1-pot Massaman-inspired curry.
What makes this recipe easy, you ask?

It’s made without store-bought Massaman curry paste, which can be difficult to find, utilizing red curry paste …

Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry

Excuse us while we dive head-first into this creamy, luxurious, 1-pot Massaman-inspired curry.

What makes this recipe easy, you ask?

  • It’s made without store-bought Massaman curry paste, which can be difficult to find, utilizing red curry paste instead!
  • It uses ingredients you likely have on hand right now.
  • We include protein options for vegans, pescatarians, and meat-eaters so you can customize and simplify as needed!

Easy 1-Pot Massaman Curry from Minimalist Baker →