The whole nine meters of mayonnaise biscuits
The best winter spices
When the house smells of cinnamon and vanilla, we think of Christmas. On quiet evenings in front of the fireplace. Bake cookies. And of a hot cup of punch, which we can enjoy snuggled under a fluffy blanket. We show you the best Christmas spices and what you can conjure up from them.
The as The royal spice of Christmas bakery well-known anise is reminiscent of liquorice in taste. The sweet seeds season sweet pastries as well as bread. In addition, the fruit is indispensable for aniseed schnapps. It gives Greek ouzo, Turkish raki or French pastis their unmistakable taste.
Anise is a real spice dinosaur and one of the oldest known condiments of the world. It is part of an ancient Egyptian recipe collection and is said to have been eaten as a snack during gladiator fights. The Greeks administered it in ancient times as a remedy for coughs and bronchitis.
Despite the similarity in names, star anise and anise belong to different plant families. In terms of taste, the essential oil anethole plays the main role in both spices, but star anise develops a bit compared to the sweeter anise more intense and sharp aroma. Thanks to its eight-pointed star shape, it is also optically a real eye-catcher and is often used as a fine scented decoration for hot winter drinks such as punch or mulled wine. He also makes up a fifth of what is becoming more and more popular with us Five-spice mix from China out.
Immediately revitalized: the galangal, which is rather unknown compared to other winter spices activates the cardiovascular system. One of the most prominent galangal advocates is the healing Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen, who administered the hot spice as a warm and medicinal heart remedy as early as the 11th century. The galangal is a root and belongs to the ginger family. It triggers a pleasant stinging sensation on the tongue, but tastes less hot than a ginger tuber. In the kitchen, galangal refines soups, pizza or Asian dishes as well as biscuits, cakes and hot drinks.
No Christmas without vanilla cookies. In the trio with aniseed and cinnamon, vanilla is one of the Christmas must-have spices. In terms of taste and fragrance, real vanilla cannot be compared with anything. The Aztecs grew them 4,000 years ago in what is now Mexico. Vanilla served them not only as an exclusive spice, but also as a means of payment. Even today, real vanilla is still expensive. This is due to the extremely complex cultivation. The sweet vanilla is obtained from the vanilla orchid, which only opens its flowers for a few hours. During this time it is pollinated by hand. The fruit pods are not harvested and fermented until nine months later.
Vanilla can then be bought finely grated and pure, as bourbon vanilla sugar mixed with sugar or as a whole pod. When cooking, you get the fullest aroma if you cut a whole pod sideways and scrape out the pulp with the knife. The sweet vanilla goes well not only with desserts, biscuits and cakes, it also goes well with fish.
When looking at the inconspicuous black, wrinkled fruit, one would hardly suspect that star chefs use the dried tonka bean as a seasoning highlight. But behind the wrinkled facade, gourmets can expect a unique one sweetish-bitter tastereminiscent of vanilla, almonds, marzipan, caramel, liquorice and woodruff. The tonka beans from the South American rainforests are the seeds of a mango-like fruit. This grows on the tonka bean tree, which can be up to 30 meters high in the tropical climate. After the harvest, the beans are soaked in rum for a day and then dried. This also gives them a slight rum note.
The exotic bean goes well with desserts, hearty meat dishes and fish. To process you can use the hard tonka bean in three ways:
- Finely grated with the nutmeg grater: This is how you eat the beans
- Chopped or roughly ground: In this way you can flavor sauces, cream, milk or other liquids. To do this, you simply cook the tonka beans, then let it sit for a few hours and then remove them before further processing.
- As a whole: the second way to flavor dishes. In contrast to the chopping method, you can wash the beans again after cooking and use them up to ten times.
Where does the cinnamon come from? A secret has long been kept around the answer to this question in order to keep the price of the spice high. Accordingly, many legends have grown up around the mystical plant. In fact, cinnamon comes from Asia. There are two types: the bitter cassia cinnamon from China and the sweet and more aromatic Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka. The spice is extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree. To do this, the bark of the young shoots of the tree is peeled off and then the inner bark is peeled off. It rolls up into the characteristic cinnamon stick when it is air-dried.
The grated cinnamon that you can buy from us is mostly Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka. Cinnamon becomes culinary classic for refining desserts used. Whole cinnamon sticks can also be cooked in cocoa, compotes, fruit puree, punch or mulled wine for flavoring. If you like it spicy, you can add cinnamon to gravies or pumpkin soups.
Gift tip: Homemade Christmas spice mix
With beautifully wrapped gifts from your kitchen, you are guaranteed to bring joy. A warming Christmas spice mixture is also ready in no time. We'll tell you about our homemade punch or mulled wine spices.
Ingredients for a glass:
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ½ vanilla pod
- 1 tonka bean
- 2 dried orange slices
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- Lightly press the cardamom pods open with the back of a knife or pound a little
- Halve the vanilla pod and cut open to the sides
- Roast the tonka bean in the pan without fat so that the essential oils are released
- Put all the spices together in a jar, close it and decorate as you wish
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