Mr. Big Flavors and I just recently went on a spice shopping spree. And, I’m not talking about restocking the pantry with some staples that we were running low on. I’m talking $60 dollars in a whole new plethora of spices. We went to this great little shop called Penzeys spices. Maybe you’ve heard of it? We sniffed our way through the store, smelling almost every seasoning and herb in the place. We discussed the many uses for each spice with the enthusiastic saleswomen, and made a pile of potential candidates at the checkout stand. When all was said and done, we left with a pretty vast assortment of spices. For baking, I bought a bag of cinnamon chips, some pure vanilla extract, and real cocoa powder. And, we also picked up some savory spices, too, like turmeric, fennel, and coriander seeds (just to name a few).
One of my very favorite picks from this shopping trip was the jar of cardamom seeds. These tiny black seeds have a very distinct aroma and predominant taste. One whiff and you’re blown away by an intense smoky and peppery smell. Cardamom can be used in all sorts of different cuisines, from Indian to Vietnamese and in both cooking and baking. After this spice shopping binge, I began searching for new ideas and inspirations to highlight all of our new, unique spices. I came across this quick bread on Pinterest (where else!?) and quickly added it to my list of must-makes. I love having an easy baked good on standby for my morning breakfast, especially if that means not having to dirty any dishes before work. I also love having a sweet and savory treat that perfectly accompanies my morning cup of dark roast coffee.
This bread is a great balance of savory and sweet. The cardamom is definitely the star flavor and lends that bold and smoky taste. But, the honey and brown sugar keep the cardamom from being too overpowering or spicy. The addition of applesauce is more for texture than for flavor. It keeps the bread very light and moist but the bread still has more of a savory spice than apple flavor.
While the bread has a great texture on it’s own, I really wanted to add some sort of extra crunch factor. Since I practically fell in love with the granola bars I made last week, I thought it might work to add a granola-like mixture right to the top of this bread. This half-granola-half-streusel idea turned out great! (And, you know how much I love a streusel topping!) The chunks of walnuts, oats and pepitas bake up into an extra crunchy crust for each slice, creating a textural contrast to the bread’s moist and tender crumb. Plus, I’m a firm believer that streusel makes the world a better place (and this granola version makes this bread look much more rustic). So really, what are you waiting for? All it takes is a little cardamom to create a savory and sweet quick bread that’s perfect for breakfast or dessert!