Spice of Life – Warming Spices

Sugar, spice and everything nice! Season this first winter month with a variety of spices that take the chill off. Literally! Warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, star anise, ginger, and nutmeg—one at a time or as a blend—can actually raise your body temperature. And as a bonus, they add just the right touch of flavor to the holiday season! Here are some great recipes to try with spices that will warm your spirits and your palate.

Mulled Apple Cider

  • Fresh apple cider
  • Fresh ginger
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Star anise
  • 1 orange, sliced

Start by pouring one gallon of fresh apple cider into your Crockpot and set the heat to medium. Chop or slice fresh ginger to add to the pot, add in two cinnamon sticks, and one tablespoon of star anise. Slow cook the cider for about four hours, especially if your cider is pasteurized and straight from the farmstand.

If you like your cider a little peppery, add a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns as well, or add some allspice berries. Cloudy apple cider or unfiltered apple juice works best for this slow cooker recipe. You can also substitute the cider for red wine for Hot Mulled Wine! Cheers!

Spiced Granola

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir in the maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and molasses. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the granola in the pan evenly to about a half inch thickness. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the granola is lightly toasted on top. Chop and spread cranberries and candied pecans over the top, pressing in lightly, and allow to cool. It will continue to firm up as it cools. When cool, break the granola up into bite sized pieces to snack on or use as a topping for a cool bowl of vanilla yogurt.

Garam Masala Blend

Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, coriander, and black peppercorn can easily be mixed to create a perfect garam masala blend to season lamb chops, soups and stews, or to sprinkle on sides!

Simply toast each ingredient (separately) in a skillet until it gives off a faint aroma. Set them aside to cool, then use a food processor or spice grinder to grind them into a fine powder and blend them together! You can use as much or as little of each as you like and experiment with some other ingredients as well. Try adding thyme or caraway, or turmeric or cayenne for a different twist on the flavor.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Custard

  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
  • Chopped pecans

Beat eggs and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir in pumpkin, evaporated milk, brown sugar, spices, and vanilla. Mix well and stir in Cool Whip. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on low for three and a half hours, or until the edges are set and the center is just a bit loose. Allow to cool and serve with a dollop of Cool Whip, chopped pecans, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Spiced Acorn Squash Soup

  • 31 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Halve and seed acorn squash and place cut side down in a shallow baking dish with a little water, about 1/4 inch. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly and remove the skin. Set aside.

In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in butter until tender. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add in squash and use an immersion blender to puree ingredients in the pot. Season the soup with allspice, ginger and nutmeg, then stir in the half and half until well blended. Allow the soup to heat through, but do not let it boil.

  • Serve topped with fresh chopped parsley, and use salt and pepper to taste! pounds acorn squash
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
December 8, 2020