Sweet Somethings

Tasmanian Cherry Ice Cream

Summer: Too many eggs in the coop + an early bumper-crop of cherries + a fresh shipment of Tasmanian Pepperberries = Ice cream party!!!!


This is an awesome flavor combination, sweet cherries pair perfectly with the subtle tingle of Tasmanian pepperberries. You can also add chocolate chips into the mix, or maybe even a caramel swirl. Happy Summer!

Cherry Ice Cream with Tasmanian Pepperberries

Yield: About 1 1/2 pints


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup + 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbs whiskey (optional)
  • 1pound fresh, pitted cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 tbs Tasmanian pepperberries


  1. In a saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, and whiskey (if using), and let simmer until the cherries have just broken down and a little of the water has cooked off- about 10 minutes. Too much water will make for ice crystals in the final product.
  2. Crush the pepperberries in a mortar and pestle. In a medium sized pot, gently simmer cream, milk, sugar, crushed pepperberries, split vanilla bean (scraped seeds and the pod), and salt until the sugar has dissolved and the cream has taken on color from the berries. Remove pot from heat.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  4. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, or 10-15 minutes).
  5. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a large bowl. Mix in the cherry compote and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic, leaving no room for air, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Churn in ice cream maker of your choice according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve fresh for soft serve, or freeze in an airtight container for a few hours for a firmer ice cream.


For creamier ice cream, omit the milk and add just a half cup of buttermilk instead. If it's for a party, make a double batch.


cherry ice cream


Categories: DIY, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | Leave a comment

Banana Upside Down Cake

This Banana Upside-Down Cake sounded so delicious that we just have to make it for our “Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond” Cookbook Club Meet & Eat!

From the authors, “In Brazil there are many types of banana cakes: cuca, a German cake with a rich, crumbly topping; banana bread; bolo cakes, which are sometimes made in a ring shape and often spread with cinnamon; and our favorite, the upside-down cake. Like the French tarte tatin, this indulgent cake is cooked with a layer of caramelized bananas at the bottom, then turned upside-down to show its sticky-sweet banana topping. Perfect as a teatime treat.”

banana upside down cake blog final


Banana Upside-Down Cake


  • For the banana caramel:
  • 11/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 4–5 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the cake batter:
  • 2/3 cup soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 11/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 11/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup unrefined superfine sugar
  • 2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a heavy 9-inch diameter springform cake pan, then line it with baking parchment.
  2. To make the banana caramel, put the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy pan and cook over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let it boil until thickened to a golden-brown caramel, taking care not to burn it. Remove and immediately pour it into the cake pan, tipping the pan slightly from side to side until evenly coated.
  3. Peel the bananas and halve them lengthwise. Arrange them over the caramel in a neat pattern, trimming as necessary, then dust with the ground cinnamon.
  4. For the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a bowl.
  5. Put the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk to stiff peaks.
  6. Put the butter and sugar in another large bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Fold in the mashed bananas, followed by the dry ingredients. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before unmolding. (It is easier to unmold while it is still warm, before the caramel base hardens). Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan. Put a large flat plate over the top and, holding the pan and the plate, invert it, gently lift off the pan and peel off the baking parchment.
  9. Serve warm.


Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is the June selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond is currently available for purchase at our retail store.

Reprinted with permission from Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond, published in 2014 by Sterling Epicure. Text © 2014 Cabana; Photography © 2014 Martin Poole. All rights reserved.

Categories: Cookbook Club, Hot Topics, Latin America, Notes from the Field, Recipes, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | Leave a comment

Nutty Chocolate Chile Thumbprints

We have a new go-to cookie recipe! If you love the marriage of nuts and chocolate (and who doesn’t?), try these for easy baking, gifting and be sure to leave some out on 12/24. These delicious morsels are topped with little bit of salt and infused with mellow chile heat. In this recipe, we’ve mellowed the peanut butter with some almond butter, and added just the right measure of urfa biber to the chocolate ganache. Enjoy a few with your next cup off eggnog – it’s a tasty combination!


Nutty Chocolate Chile Thumbprints

Yield: About 6 dozen cookies

Nutty Chocolate Chile Thumbprints


    For the Cookies:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup almond butter, creamy or chunky
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Ganache:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon urfa biber
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Maldon smoked sea salt flakes, crushed, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and nut butters together until they are smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat until smooth. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and beat until completely combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture while beating on low speed, and then increase the speed and beat until the flour is completely incorporated and a dough ball forms.
  5. Scoop out the dough in rounded balls of about 2 teaspoons each and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2" apart. Using your finger, press a deep well into each dough ball, supporting the edges of the dough ball with the fingers of your other hand to keep the edges intact.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookie begin to darken, but the center is still a little soft. Remove the pan from the oven and, if needed, deepen the well in the center of each cookie by pressing with the back of a teaspoon. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache.
  8. Ganache:
  9. Combine the dark chocolate chips, urfa chile and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Using a double boiler or water bath, melt over medium heat, stirring frequently. The ganache is ready when the ingredients are completely melted and smooth.
  10. When the cookies are cool, spoon a small portion of warm ganache into the center. Allow the ganache too cool a little bit, and then sprinkle with a small measure of the smoked Maldon sea salt. Note: If the ganache is too hot, it will melt the sea salt.


We've made these cookies several times lately- sometimes using gluten free flour, sometimes using all almond butter, sometimes creamy and sometimes chunky. They always come out great!




Categories: Holiday, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | 1 Comment

Advieh Fig Preserves

Figs are such a versatile fruit, conjuring both exotic images of relief under shade trees in a desert oasis and the comfort of a fireside holiday treat. We’ve whipped up a spiced fig preserve that lives up to that reputation. Rich with wine, balsamic vinegar, orange, spices and honey, this spread is worthy of the finest table yet easy to make. Here’s the recipe, just in time for holiday entertaining.


Advieh Fig Preserves

Yield: Makes 7 half pint jars.

Advieh Fig Preserves


  • 4 pounds black mission figs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • zest from 1/2 of a small orange
  • 4 teaspoons ground Advieh, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Rinse the figs, remove the stem and chop into halves.
  2. Combine the figs, water, balsamic vinegar, red wine, orange zest, and 2 teaspoons of Advieh in a large pot. Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the mixture thickens to a jam consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Using an immersion blender, pulse the mixture to your desired consistency. We make ours quite chunky---just blending enough to beak down any large pieces of fig.
  4. Return the pan to the stove over low heat and add the honey and 2 remaining teaspoons of Advieh. Stir to combine.
  5. If the preserves thinned after blending, then simmer again to your desired consistency.
  6. Use a pressure or water bath canner to preserve.


You can make preserves in a water bath or pressure canner, but rest assured they won’t last. We’ve gobbled up three jars in the first week and are hoping we have enough left for our Thanksgiving guests. Paired with Dukkah encrusted goat cheese and crostini they make a delicious snack. We plan to serve them alongside roast meats, too, for a sublime and unexpected combination.


For this rainy day canning session we had help with the canning AND photography from our good friend Leah Manzari. Thanks, Leah!

Categories: Course, Global Cuisines, Holiday, Mediterranean, Middle East, Recipes, Sides, Snacky Bits, Sweet Somethings | 2 Comments

DIY Chai

chaiThe chai teas from India are legendary, and the warm aroma of simmering spices will instantly transport you there. Like many great slow-foods, the perfect cup of chai can’t be reduced to an “instant” occurrence. The assembly of essential ingredients (spices, tea, milk and sweetener) just doesn’t lend itself to short-cuts if you want full flavor. The good news is- it’s easy! And doesn’t require a plane ticket.

The first tip for making really tasty chai is starting with whole spices and loose tea. These already have more flavor potential than the powders found in tea bags because when spices and tea are ground up, they lose flavor more quickly. Next, make sure to use boiling water, and a pot or pan that will allow the water to circulate freely around the spices and tea. The boiling water extracts the most flavor from the spices and tea, and the more freely it circulates- the more flavor you get. Using these starting points as a guide- just simmer, steep and strain and you’ll have a great brew. Read on for more particulars….


Classic Indian chai is made with black tea, strong spices, whole milk and LOTS of sweetener. The spices and tea are simmered on the stove top and then strained, and warm milk and sugar are added. This is a great brew, but not my idea of a perfect cup because of the excess of sweet. The reason for the loads of sweet is that when you boil tea it becomes bitter- and the sweetener tones that down. Many chai concentrates are excessively sweet for the same reason.

There are several ways around this but the easiest is to simply brew the spices and tea in stages. Begin by simmering your spices for 3-5 minutes in a small saucepan- this brings out all their glorious flavor- then add the tea and remove the pan from heat and simply allow the tea to steep an additional 3-4 minutes. Strain the brew and add warm milk and sweetener to taste. One convenience we like is to transfer the mixture to a French press pot for the final steeping because it makes the straining easy! How much spice and how much tea? Start with 1-2 teaspoons of spice per cup of water, and 1-2 teaspoons of tea for the second stage. If this sounds strong, remember- you’ll be adding milk as well.

The beauty of this DIY Chai is that you can customize it in so many ways to suit your taste. Traditional chai spices include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, pepper and clove but don’t stop there. We’ve tried everything from star anise and fennel, to coriander and orange peel with great success. The spice possibilities are endless. We keep our bestsellers, Classic Chai and Roast Chai, on hand year round. You can also switch up the proportion of spices and tea to highlight one or the other.


When it comes to selecting a black tea to go into your chai, Assam is our hands-down favorite. The bold flavor stands up well to the spices and makes the perfect base. If you want to try an herbal to avoid caffeine, Rooibos is an excellent choice, too. It also provides a solid base and unlike black teas does not become bitter with longer steeping times, so you can simmer or steep without that bitter edge creeping in.

You’ll also find several varieties to choose from for the last two essential ingredients- milk and sweetener- and let your own preference be your guide. We make our World Spice Classic with whole milk and honey. Whether you like it spicy or sweet, taking the time to make chai fills the house with intoxicating aromas- it’s the quickest trip to India you’ll ever take. Enjoy.

Categories: Course, Global Cuisines, Indian Subcontinent, Recipes, Sweet Somethings, Tea | 1 Comment

Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala

It’s time to celebrate! World Spice at Home is hot off the presses and we are sharing one last sneak-peek with this incredible cake recipe. Enjoy!

Kashmiri Garam Masala Carrot Cake

Sometimes change is good—and in this case the flavor is what’s new. Fans have deemed this the best carrot cake they’ve ever had! Serving a favorite dessert that is known and loved, like carrot cake, with a new twist is the joy of exploring with spice. Kashmiri Garam Masala lends roasted spice flavors of pepper, cardamom, and clove to this classic preparation, and the coconut oil adds wonderful moisture and a velvety texture.

Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala

Carrot Cake with Kashmiri Garam Masala


    For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground Kashmiri Garam Masala
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ cups coconut oil, melted
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans, plus more for garnish
  • For the frosting:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with greased parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and garam masala.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars. Add the melted coconut oil and whisk 1 minute more. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Fill the cake pans with equal portions of the batter and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back to a light touch. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with an electric mixer), beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and continue mixing until the frosting is thick and smooth. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little milk if it is too stiff, or more sugar if it is too runny.
  5. We recommend a rustic presentation for this cake, so frost only between the layers and on top, leaving the beautiful colors and texture visible on the sides. Garnish with chopped nuts and serve.

*(c)2014 By Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne. All rights reserved. Excerpted from World Spice at Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes by permission of Sasquatch Books.

Categories: Course, Curries & Masalas, Global Cuisines, Holiday, Hot Topics, Indian Subcontinent, Recipes, Sweet Somethings | 3 Comments