Spice Up Your Valentine's Day Dessert

Winter is a great time to add heat to your dishes in the form of spice! But spices don't have to be reserved for your main dishes. They can show up in dessert too. For example, my Hot and Sassy Gingerbread includes powdered mustard and black pepper!

Check out these other common dessert spices to heat up your Valentine's Day:

Cinnamon: This aromatic spice has a moderately strong taste and is one of the best cordial, carminative and restorative spices. Cinnamon is the aromatic bark of a tropical Asian tree. This spice will conjures up images from youthful romances ignited by Red Hots.

Cloves: These are actually the dried, unopened buds of an evergreen tree, which is cultivated in warm regions around the world. Cloves are used as a whole or a ground spice. Adds a sensual air to any meal.

Cardamom: An Indian herb (not technically a spice, but exciting nonetheless) with aromatic seeds. The plant is actually a member of the ginger family. Make sure you buy whole cardamom pods, as ground cardamom loses its flavor very quickly. In many Middle Eastern countries it is added as a spicy hint to coffee.

Ginger: One of the most popular spices, ginger gives out a warm, energetic flavor. This spice is used fresh in Chinese and Asian savory food and dried in Western desserts.

Mace: An aromatic spice made from the dried, waxy, scarlet or yellowish covering that partly encloses the kernel of nutmeg. It is described as having a very intense nutmeg flavor and therefore very small amounts are used.

Nutmeg: The hard, aromatic nut of an evergreen tree native to the East Indies. The word nutmeg comes from Old French as an alteration of nois muscade, meaning nut smelling like musk.


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