When you think of desserts, the first thought that comes to your mind is the variety of flavors—chocolate, vanilla, or fruit. But did you know you can add more depth and nuance of flavor to your desserts by adding a little touch of herbs and spices? If you love your desserts as much as we do, you must know which spices and herbs to use and how. So let’s dive in and explore how you can create an amalgamation of sweetness and spice to make things extra nice!
The delicate floral aroma of lavender not only adds a sophisticated scent note to your desserts but also gives it a refreshing taste. Be it ice cream, custard, or cake frosting, lavender-flavored syrups result in a beautiful flavor. If you’re baking a cake, you could also sprinkle dried lavender flowers on top of the cake for decorating as well as for the aromatic twist.
While rosemary is mostly used in savory dishes, it works surprisingly well with desserts too. The piney notes of rosemary balance out the typical sweet flavors of desserts, leaving behind a beautiful aftertaste. You could add finely chopped rosemary into caramel sauce or while making shortbread cookies to enhance their complexity of flavors.
Cinnamon infuses warmth and richness into any dessert you make, especially for recipes that involve apples, pumpkins, and pears. Just sprinkle a little bit of ground cinnamon on top of your apple pie, cookies, cakes, or homemade ice cream, and you’ll feel the difference in taste and flavor. If you want your desserts to stand out, this is a secret ingredient you must have handy.
Widely used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, cardamom is a rich and vibrant spice. On days when you feel like adding an exotic twist to your desserts, this is exactly what you need. You could use ground cinnamon to enhance the taste of custards, cookies, or rice puddings. The distinct piney, peppery, and citrusy notes can make even the simplest desserts taste amazing.
The zesty flavor of ginger brings about a lively taste to your desserts. Finely grate ginger and add them to cakes, muffins, or gingerbread cookies, and you’ll be mesmerized by the beautiful balance of sweet
and spicy flavors. Ginger works great with citrusy flavors, so you could also use lemon or orange in these recipes.
The delicate minty and earthy note of thyme is usually incorporated in savory dishes, but you could add it to your desserts to give your taste buds a pleasant surprise. Sprinkle thyme leaves on top of fruit tarts, or add them into syrups to drizzle over cakes.
Basil's fresh and aromatic flavor is incredibly versatile. Combine finely chopped basil with strawberries or peaches to create a delightful fruit salad. You could also infuse basil into homemade ice cream for a refreshing and unexpected treat.
Saffron, with its vibrant golden color and delicate flavor, is often considered the king of spices. Infuse saffron threads into milk or cream to create a fragrant base for puddings or ice creams. You could also sprinkle a few strands of saffron on top of rice-based desserts, like rice pudding or kheer, to elevate their visual appeal and flavor.
When you’re experimenting with different spices and herbs, start small, and adjust the amount as suited to your taste buds. Some herbs and spices have a mellow flavor, while others have a strong and distinctive aroma—the key is to find the perfect balance. In the initial days, be mindful of how much of these ingredients you’re adding to your recipe. With some trial and error, you’ll soon understand which herbs and spices to add to which desserts and what’s the ideal proportion.
So the next time you’re planning to make your favorite sweet dish at home, don’t hesitate to be a little creative. Have these spices and herbs in your pantry, and get ready to elevate the taste of your desserts!
Need to stock up on fresh herbs and spices? Check out the preservative-free, farm-to-table products from The Spice Way.