I love cardamom. I made the Cardamom Coffee Cake muffins last week (see my blog from last week) and then came across a recipe in Bon Appetite for Cardamom Crescents. I have also tried to make Cardamom bread from Saveur twice, once a disaster, once a success. So I thought I would have a day of Cardamom making (and throw some potato chowder into the slow cooker).
But first, why do I love cardamom so much. First, its amazing and delicious. But its also nostalgic. When I was in progressive hippy school back in the day, we went on many overnight trips. In 5th grade I distinctly remember going on a trip to one of my classmates’ beach house in Santa Cruz. The teacher made chai. I don’t know how related to actual traditional chai it was, but it was made with lots of whole milk, sugar, and spices. I think it was the first time I had a sweet warm drink that wasn’t hot chocolate. I remember the smell of the tea, and when I smell cardamom I am taken back to that time. I think it rained the whole time we were there, in typical California fashion, and that smell is comforting and cozy for me. When I smell cardamom, I want to curl up in a warm bathrobe, drink tea, and eat something with that smell. And I have recently discovered some wonderful options. They all go well with tea, too.
If I were to make these again I would pay closer attention to how I shape the cookies. I thought they would flatten out more when in the oven. But once I dusted them with the second round of powdered sugar, they looked pretty. And they taste SO good. Like I bought them at a bakery or something.
Braided Cardamom Bread
When I decided to embrace domesticity I decided I wanted to learn how to make bread. This is one of the first ones that I tried, and oh boy was it discouraging. The first time I made this bread I followed the recipe and it didn’t all fit in the Kitchen Aid bowl! I sort of mixed it and let it sit there (it looked like brains) and of course it didn’t rise. So the next time I made it I split all the ingredients in half. It worked better that time. Still, a challenging bread to make. I was hoping this time, with more baking and bread making experience under my belt, it would go better. And it was almost a success. I had the right amount of everything (split the egg by using one whole egg and one egg white).. the dough looked good, rose well, and I braided it beautifully.
I took it out of the oven after 25 minutes and it looked like this. Okay, I need to work on my egg wash and making it even but looks good and baked, right?
Then I cut the end and tasted it after it cooled down and it looked like this. And it tasted delicious.
Perfect right? Then I cut it in the middle, and it was doughy! I hadn’t cooked it enough. So my wife picked through it when she got home and we ate the leftovers.
So sad. Next time I’m going to cook it on lower heat and for a little longer. Overall the day of cardamom cooking was fun and definitely a learning experience. These are both great recipes if you want to try them.