I often use cayenne pepper in baking and never thought much about it other than to acknowledge it was, well, unusual.
But the other day Clare2e at the wonderful Women of Mystery blog made mention at the end of her post about accidentally using red pepper instead of nutmeg in an apple pie.
I’ve done that on purpose. I made one on the weekend that barely lasted two meals.
Hot pepper is great in hot chocolate. This was how the native South Americans before took it before the Europeans came along and added sugar. For the record, I use sugar too.
Knowing the traditional use and having eaten mole sauce, which contains chocolate, I decided to play a bit with it.
It’s lovely in brownies. The heat smoothes the chocolate and give a wee bit of an after bite. It’s very pleasant especially on a cold Canadian winter day.
It’s also absolutely stellar in gingerbread. I went to make some gingerbread last winter and didn’t have quite enough dried ginger. Rather than going out and getting some I paced a moment, drummed my fingers on the table and Ha! The obvious solution was revealed.
Ginger is hot. So’s the pepper. The trick is to get the mix right so the heat augments, not overpowers, the ginger.
I added about a one-quarter teaspoon to the mix. It worked fine and made it seem like I’d used especially strong ginger, nothing else.
I was so tickled with what I’d done it’s part of the recipe now. I’ve used up to a half-teaspoon of cayenne, but I increased the ginger to a teaspoon. If you like spicy, this is adequate. I love the hot/sweet combination and always have. We’ve got an old family recipe for mustard that uses sugar and turmeric that’ll clear your sinuses.
I find reasons to put it in other baking as it occurs to me. I’ve even thrown it in an ordinary loaf of bread.
Last winter I was taking cayenne capsules and discovered the cayenne warded off hot flashes. Sadly, my body adapted and that’s not working for me anymore.
But it still tastes good and with the autumn here and baking season upon us I’ll be finding even more uses for cayenne. Meanwhile, I may need to bake another nice, hot, apple pie.