Holiday Spices | Flavors of the Season

The holiday season is in full swing.  That means, once again, holiday spices are imbuing our favorite seasonal cakes, cookies, pies, cocoas, and eggnog with their heady aroma and nostalgic flavors. While an integral part of cooking and baking all year round, spices take center stage during the holidays.  With their bold flavors and hot-sweet nuances, spices certainly help to make the season memorable.

A few of my personal favorites that always seem to sneak into my cooking and baking during the holiday season are: cinnamon, nutmeg and black peppercorns.  Used together or separately, these spices add a wonderful element of heat and muskiness to both sweet and savory dishes.

Sweet Cinnamon: The two most familiar kinds are (i) Ceylon cinnamon, which is considered to be “true” cinnamon, and (ii) Cassia, which is called Chinese, Vietnamese or Indonesian cinnamon. Cassia is the most commonly used, as it is cheaper and widely available, but both kinds of cinnamon can be used interchangeably in cooking and baking.  I can’t get enough of the stuff.  I use it in everything: my oatmeal, my tea, my cookies and my soups and stews.

Musky Nutmeg: Did you know that nutmeg comes from the kernel of the fruit of a kind of evergreen tree? It has a warm, sweet, musky flavor that works well with other holiday spices such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Nutmeg also loves to be paired with dairy, in eggnog, ice cream or in a béchamel sauce.  A little freshly grated nutmeg goes a long way in adding that extra little unexpected element to a savory dish.

Hot Tellicherry Black Peppercorns: Considered one of the finest peppers in the world, Tellicherry black peppercorns come from the Malabar Coast of India.   These little berries pack a lot of heat.  Tellicherries are left on the vine longer so they develop a deep, rich flavor  Although most often used in savory dishes, freshly ground black pepper in sweet foods creates a subtle undercurrent of spicy-hot flavor.  I like to add black pepper to molasses or ginger cookies for extra zing.

What are your favorite spices to use during the holidays?


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  1. says

    Sylvieee!!! so great to see you here in the blogging world!! Love the site! the photos are simply stunning as expected :))) Looking forward to everything you create:))

  2. says

    Welcome Syliviee! :) As expected ur pictures are phenomenal and looking forward to ur posts. I love all the spices you mentioned, but I would undeniably add “cardamom” to the list. I can’t do without it !

    P.S. Great job with the blog.

    • says

      Thank you, so sweet of you to say. I haven’t made very many things with cardamon yet, but I have always been intrigued by it. I’ll have to experiment more.

  3. says

    Hi Sylvie,

    I don’t know you…I have the impression you have just started your blog.What can I say? Amazing!! & not only because your photos are superbes, but there is something more in it…something we cannot define, but that will surely attract maany readers like me! Great job!!

  4. says

    Hey Sylvie,
    Sorry for taking so long in visiting your gorgeous blog but I’m glad I finally got a chance! Well, its all what I or any other person who knows abt your talent might expect it to be! Gorgeous photographs and really good and informative post.
    Can’t wait to see what more you come with! Good Luck and welcome to the blogging world :-)

  5. says

    Hi. I just found your website through Chow and Chatter. What beautiful photos you have! I love cinnamon year round,but probably use a little more cloves,nutmeg, and cardamom around the holidays. I look forward to checking out more of your posts and photos!

  6. says

    Congratulations on an amazing blog, gorgeous photography and such a nice, elegant presence of yours!

    Thank you a million for your comment on my recent post. It’s certainly not easy living a life of awareness but it is worthwhile…and eventually through learning, the sad, negative feelings will be affecting us less and less…and we will be attracting more and more situations which are consistent with our own energies rather than opposite…

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Sylvie!
    I’m certainly glad to have met you :)

    Iro {Ivy}