Cardamom Recipes

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Cardamom Spritz Cookies dipped in Mint Chocolate Recipe

I've made spritz sablé cookies before. The most recent variation was one made of orange and dark chocolate. The girls felt like baking today and they really wanted to make a fresh batch of the sablé cookies. I was all for it but I wanted to teach them to be creative and come up with a new flavor combination.

There was a tall pitcher of my mint and cardamom-flavored Arnold Palmer on the counter. Sunny, the eldest, looked over at it, then back at me, and said "why not mint and cardamom-flavor spritz sablé?". - I thought it was a brilliant idea. If you browse through the recipes on the website, you'll notice that I use cardamom in almost everything, from savory dishes, to drinks, to desserts. I knew it would make a perfect flavoring for the cookies.

I didn't want to add mint extract directly to the cookie dough because I thought it would be to overpowering. Instead, I used Guittard pink-colored mint chocolate chips to make a ganache, which I dipped the cookies in, once they baked and cooled. These particular spritz cookies are thicker and chewier than the orange and dark chocolate version. They both taste great so it's really a matter of personal preference. Try both and see which one you like!


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Poached Figs in Puff Pastry Recipe

Poached Figs in Puff Pastry

09.18.09 by Jackie

Our garden is very abundant with figs this season. I gathered a full basket of large brown Turkey figs; they're re fairly wide and about 3 inches long. I love their flavor; they have a copper-colored skin, pinkish pulp and very few seeds. They are simply delicious and perfect for baking.

I poached them first in heavy syrup and wrapped them in puff pastry. It's a pretty easy dessert to make but sure to wow your guests.


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Gajar Halva (Indian Carrot Halwa Dessert) Recipe

Halva means sweet in Arabic. India is home to many varieties of halva, and it can be found at almost all of our family gatherings.

This particular type is made with carrots. Lulu's aunt taught me how to make it. The base is a dense, sweet confection made of flour such as cream of wheat or garbanzo flour, nut butter such as tahini, or lentils like mung beans. My friend Carole, who is by the way the editor of the site, told me she loves this kind. Here's her feedback about carrot halva:

"Your halva was smoother [than the one I get at the restaurant], and at the same time more flavorful but more subtle, too. We loved it. I can't wait to see the recipe and what's involved. I have a sneaky feeling there's going to be more butter than I want to know about!"

I told Carole: "Well, don't be afraid, there are only two tablespoons of ghee". I prefer making it at home because the gajar halva found at restaurants tends to be too thin and cloyingly sweet. I suspect that the extra sweetness is used to conceal the lack of richness that one would expect from real gajar halva.

Gajar halva, like some Vietnamese desserts, is not always the most glamourous-looking sweet, but it is delicious. If you've never had it before, try making some at home. You will love it.


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Coffee and Cardamom Flavored Creme Caramel Recipe

Crème caramel is one of my favorite desserts. It's basically a rich custard with a layer of soft caramel. I dressed this one up with a little espresso powder and cardamom.

Making these desserts reminded me of my childhood. My mom would tell me every day not to eat anything before dinner, but after coming home from school, I would always make a beeline to the refrigerator when she wasn't looking. I would get one crème caramel, flip it onto a plate, and let the delicious caramel flow in every direction. It didn't last very long; I would inhale the dessert and lick all the caramel off the plate before I got caught. You would think that I wouldn't really have enjoyed the dessert because I ate it so fast, but there was something thrilling (and delicious) about sneaking a bite without anyone knowing.  Maybe that's why I named my site Pham Fatale.  I've been in the (food) espionage business for a long time!

These covert operations inevitably would make me too full for dinner. I know I was a terrible child! My parents always wondered why I never ate, and have probably been unaware of my antics until now. Sorry Mom!

I think, in America, crème caramel and flan can be used interchangeably.


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Mint and Cardamom Flavored Arnold Palmer (Lemonade with Iced Tea) Recipe

An Arnie Palmer is quite refreshing on those dog days of summer. The drink is named after the American professional golfer, Arnold Palmer. Legend has it that while golfing in his country club in Colorado, he requested that lemonade be added to his iced tea but the bartender initially refused.  After some cajoling, the bartender finally relented. And thus the Arnold Palmer was born.

I infused some fresh mint from the garden in the tea and some cardamom seeds in the lemonade. You can of course either just make a Morrocan tea or a cardamom lemonade but the combination of the two is simply divine.

This drink is dedicated to our friend Scott who is an avid golfer. Summer is on its way and I bet he's going to be back on the greens very soon. Scott: I promise that next time you stop by the house, I'll make an Arnold Palmer for you and Lulu.


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