Thursday, April 24, 2008

Return of the Forgotten Spice

My post title sounds like a bad movie sequel- in reality this is a tale about my spice cabinet (which really isn't much of an improvement in terms of my lameness, haha). Anyway, I have a fairly extensive spice cabinet. I like to buy in bulk and then label pretty glass jars for my spices, (and here I go down the lame trail again), but I'm proud of my collection :) Seeing as there are so many little jars crowding my pantry, sometimes spices get lost. Such was the case with cardamom. I've only ever used it a couple of times when making Chai, so I had pretty much forgotten I even had it until I stumbled upon a recipe for Cranberry-Cardamom muffins. Of course I tinkered with it extensively, so here is my version:

Cranberry-Cardamom Muffins

1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
generous 1/4 tsp cardamom
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup applesauce
generous 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
almond slivers
coarse sugar

(1) Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine flour, all of the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Stir to combine, then add in cranberries and mix.
(2) In another bowl, lightly beat eggs and then add in sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined.
(3) Fill well-greased muffin pan 3/4 of the way full with batter. Top with almond slivers and coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until a tooothpick inserted into muffin top comes out dry. Makes 12 muffins.

My review: These were quite good! Not my favourite muffin ever, but definitely different- I've never tasted cardamom in baked goods before and it lends quite a nice, spicy note. Even after healthifying and defatting, they rose up tall and cakey with a great taste and texture. If you wanted to make them a little richer, sub in some white flour for the whole wheat, use full-fat sour cream and butter instead of applesauce. I had some minor problems with sticking to the muffin pan, so I recommend letting these babies cool for a few minutes before you begin the extraction process (I had to say that, sounds so geeky and technical and more like tooth pulling than muffin removal). Do NOT leave out the almond slivers and sugar topping- they make the top so crunchy and sweet, definitely the best part! I think I'd even add some cinnamon into the topping, just to throw another complimentary flavour in the mix. Fresh cranberries made these muffins a little tart, so if you prefer a sweeter taste I think I'd use dried cranberries soaked in some orange juice for plumpness as a substitute. And I know this one is tough, but I really encourage you not to judge them based on how they taste fresh out of the oven- a couple of hours were needed for the flavours to really develop. All in all, a great breakfast muffin. I found them to be filling and delicious both with a little butter and even with peanut butter (but then again, what isn't good with peanut butter?!?)
Last exam tomorrow!!!! Have a great day everyone, and thanks for all of the good luck wishes for this last test :)


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Sounds like a horror movie.

I can't think of anything that isn't good with peanut butter. Certainly it makes a good topping for a giant banana! (Do I have a one-track mind, or what?)

VeggieGirl said...

"My post title sounds like a bad movie sequel" - HAHA!!! That made me laugh out loud - no worries though, I bet it'd sell out at the box office ;0)

You know, out of all of the spices that I've tried/have stocked in my pantry, I have yet to try cardamom; and since you gave that muffin recipe such a rave review, I think I must purchase some cardamom soon!!

Monica said...

oh those muffins look delicious! i have to add those to my list!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Six to eight weeks?! Why didn’t you ship them Fed Ex?! Serious lapse of judgement on your part, my friend…

LOL with the melons AND bananas, we’d just be *too* cool!

Jill said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm, muffins!

Sheltie Girl said...

I do love the flavor of cardamom, but I don't tend cook with it as often as I probably should. I'll have to endeavor to bake with it this weekend.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten a Go Go

Anonymous said...

Love the title of your post hehe...

Yum... pb & muffins = explosion of flavor!

Good luck w/ the last final! So exciting!

Kelly T said...

ive never tried cardamom but the fact that there is peanut butter in a muffin is enough for me to give them a shot.