Ah, spring. The sun seems to shine brighter, the birds begin to sing louder, and the world starts to wake after the sleepy days of winter. The scents of spring awaken the senses; the heady scent of lavender, the sweetness of honey, the sharp and vibrant smells of fruit. Spring is a season of bounty, with plenty of rich and delicious spices bursting with flavor for any home baker or cook with a spice grinder and a taste for trying something new. Discover four simple dishes full of flavorful spices perfect for spring.
Carrot Cake Quick Loaf with Freshly Ground Cinnamon
Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned carrot cake? But what if you could have carrot cake for breakfast? With this simple recipe, you can have your (carrot) cake and eat it for breakfast, too!
1 ¼ cup of All-Purpose or Bread Flour
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Freshly Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Himalayan Sea Salt (or Kosher Salt)
½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Ginger
½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1 cup of Granulated Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 cup of melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
2.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
½ cup of raisins (golden, sultana, or traditional seedless)
.5 cup Full-Fat Cream Cheese (softened)
2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened, not melted)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of Powdered Sugar
¼ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Himalayan Sea Salt
Part One: The Bread
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- Grind all fresh spices well. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg to a bowl. Whisk together well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until combined. Mix in the vanilla and coconut oil.
- Mix in wet and dry ingredients until just combined.
- Gently fold carrots and raisins into the mixture.
- Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Place in the center of the oven rack.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
- Turn out the loaf onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before proceeding with frosting.
Part Two: The Frosting
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese mixture until smooth.
- Add the vanilla and salt.
- Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one spoonful at a time. Mix until smooth and thickened to desired consistency. The frosting should not run off a spatula or spoon.
- Spread the finished frosting onto the thoroughly cooled loaf. Garnish with freshly ground cinnamon or extra raisins.
- Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place - that is, if there’s any left!
Tarator (Bulgarian Cucumber Soup) and Freshly Ground Pepper
Cucumbers and sunny days go together like peanut butter and jelly. This delicious soup brings the freshness of cool cucumbers into a cold bowl of this Bulgarian soup. What? Cold soup? Don’t let the temperature hold you back from giving this a try. There’s nothing better than an excellent bowl of this soup on a warm spring day!
1 Large English Cucumber (diced)
3-4 Garlic Cloves (to taste)
½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Salt (or to taste)
2 cups Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
2 cups of Walnuts (shelled and well-chopped)
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons of Freshly Ground White or Black Pepper (or to taste)**
½ cup of Cold Water
- Place diced cucumbers into a colander, season lightly with salt. Allow the cucumbers to sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Mince garlic and mash into a pulp. Mix in ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground salt.
- In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, oil, and garlic mixture until smooth.
- Add water and lemon juice, whisk until smooth.
- Add in the remaining salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the cucumbers and soup mixture. Chill for one hour.
- Serve with an ice cube or a drizzle of olive oil.
**A Note on Pepper: White Pepper and Black Pepper come from the same plant, the piper nigrum, but white pepper has a milder flavor than black pepper. For a milder taste, use white pepper in this recipe.
Honeyed Vinaigrette with Freshly Ground Paprika
There’s nothing better than a fresh salad full of garden veggies to kick off spring. Add some zest to your salads with this easy-to-make dressing.
½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
⅓ - ½ cup of honey (to taste)
½ teaspoon of Minced Garlic
1 tablespoon of Freshly Ground Mustard
¾ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¾ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Salt
1 ½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Spanish Paprika
¼ cup of Chopped Red Onion
¼ teaspoon of Oregano
¼ teaspoon of Basil
½ cup of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
- Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Slowly mix in the olive oil and lemon juice until combined.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Drizzle liberally on your favorite salad, chicken, or roasted veggies.
Zesty Lemon and Freshly Ground Cardamom Cookies
Mmmm, lemons. These delicious yellow fruits provide all the "oomph" a recipe needs to add some zest to your spring picnic! The hint of cardamom makes these little cookies bites of pure, blissful sunshine.
2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 cup of Unsalted Butter (softened)
1 teaspoon of Freshly Ground Cardamom
1 tablespoon of lemon zest (about ½ a medium lemon)
¾ cup of Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoon of Freshly Ground Sea Salt
½ cup of pistachios (well-chopped)
- Combine the dry ingredients: flour, freshly ground cardamom, powdered sugar, and sea salt with the lemon zest.
- Cube the butter into small pieces and add it into the dry mixture.
- Place mixture into a blender, food processor, or get handy with a fork. Mix until a rough dough forms.
- Mix in pistachios until well-combined.
- Remove the dough from the processor and shape it into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to eight hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the dough into ½ inch thick cookies. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until golden at the edges.
- Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack before storing them in an airtight container.