It's All About the FoodChristmas Baking with SusieJ

Flavor combinations

The classic flavor combinations appear again and again in baking: cinnamon-rasin, mint-chocolate, "pumpkin spice." So ubiquitous are they, they show up even in supermarket brand flavored coffees (perhaps not the cinnamon raisin). There are many other classic combinations that can easily dress up any plain recipe, like scones, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, spritz cookies, and layer cakes or cupcake.

Chocolate-orange: Not always one of my favorite combinations, I've grown to like it more in recent years. Try the chocolate-orange lebkuchen

Chocolate-cherry: This can be more than just sickly sweet chocolate-covered cherries. Schwarzwalderkirschkuchen might be the next best know example of this flavor combination. It's lovely in cookies with chocolate chips and dried cherries. It the primary flavor of Dettinger Schokoladekirschkuchen

Chocolate-cinnamon: This often called "Mexican" chocolate, which over-simplifies Mexican cuisine and flavors. That said, it is still delightful. Try it in hot cocoamandelbrotscones

Chocolate-clove: Nick Malgieri's recipe for XXXX was my first introduction to this flavor combination, and it's equally delicious in hot cocoachocolate-orange lebkuchen.

Chocolate hazelnut: Nutella! Who doesn't like nutella? You can recreate it with the hazelnut variation of mandelbrot, or by dipping Haselnussbroetchen in chocolate.

Chocolate coffee: Often referred to as mocha, it originated as name of a Yemeni port for which a local coffee was named, and only later became associated with the chocolate-coffee pairing (The Penguin Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, ed.). Found in chocolate rollmokka.

Cherry-almond: Cherries and almonds are related plants, which might explain this unexpected (to me) pairing. For almond flavor I prefer ground or whole nuts to extract, but use what you have on hand. In cakes, jarred cherries work well. For drier items like scones, use dried cherries. Taste for yourself in Dettinger Schokoladekirschkuchensconesalmond Stollen with added dried cherries

Lemon-ginger: Wonderfully bright flavors I first encountered in a cookie in a Chinese fusion cookbook. That recipe was the only thing I've kept from it. Found in my son's favorite scones and Pfeffern¨sse.

Cranberry-orange: If you make your own cranberry sauce for the holidays, you'll have often seen this orange paired with cranberry. Another scone staple.

Mixed spice: Sometimes, I just want a plain spice muffin or cookie, without the trouble of adding pumpkin or apple or raisins or what-have-you. Cinnamon is the main ingredient of most spice mixtures. For German Lebkuchen, cloves are always present. American pumpkin and apple pie spice both include nutmeg. I prefer to measure each spice individually, to get the flavor I want. Try any Lebkuchen recipeSpeculaaspumpkin breadmolasses spice spritzPfeffern¨ssefruitcakehot apple ciderGl¨hwein

Chocolate and red wine: You get yourself a bit of nice chocolate and a glass of nice red wine ("nice" is however you define it). Take a nibble of chocolate, a sip of wine, a nibble of chocolate. No recipe needed

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