Friday, January 1, 2021

Lemon cardamom bars + food trends for 2021


This is a sponsored post by Challenge, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

And just like that, it's 2021! Happy New Year! Somehow 2020 both dragged on and flew by. Regardless, I am ready to kiss it goodbye! Or should I say quiche it goodbye? (Bad pun!) As we enter the new year, I'm sharing some food trends we can expect to see, as well as some recipes for incorporating the trends into your cooking at home. 

1. Bigger emphasis on breakfast: As more people continue to work from home and no longer have to worry about a long commute, they're finding they have extra time in the morning to focus on breakfast. So long are the days of grabbing a piece of toast or a bagel "to go." Pancakes, waffles, and omelets are no longer just for the weekends. 

2. Kicking up home cooking with gourmet condiments: As more people prepare meals at home and try to replicate restaurant experiences, cooking with gourmet condiments will be a big trend. Condiments are an easy way to add flavor to simple ingredients, plus they have a long shelf life. You can buy the condiments or find a way to make it yourself.

A recipe that combines the first two trends is this southwestern quiche with hot honey!

3. Coffee beyond the mug: Coffee-flavored products will pop up more and more in 2021. You will soon be able to get your coffee fix in the form of granolas, yogurt, and even alcohol. You'll find the flavoring in both sweet and savory treats.

4. Global flavor exploration: International travel is still a no-go, so more home cooks will experiment with global flavors at home. Eastern Mediterranean, North African, East/Southeast Asian, and Indian cuisines are the top influencers for trending ingredients. Personally, I've seen cardamom popping up more and more in the past month. Cardamom is an ancient spice native to Southern India. It's made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. It's incredibly diverse and used in both sweet and savory dishes.

This recipe for coffee cardamom nuts combines the previous two trends!

I also wanted to showcase a sweet option for using cardamom. My mom used to always make cardamom bars to give out to neighbors during the holiday season, and they were so good and unique. Recently, I tried a lemon cardamom roll from my new favorite Indianapolis bakery, Leviathan Bakehouse, and the flavor was combination was heavenly! Cardamom is a high-impact ingredient that brings a level of warmth and earthiness to the sweet-tart notes of the lemon. The pastry inspired me to incorporate lemon juice and zest into my mom's cardamom bar recipe, and I'm so glad I did. 

Lemon cardamom bars


For the bars
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Challenge unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 egg, white and yolk separated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
For the glaze
  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Lemon zest for topping, if desired


For the bars
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream butter and sugars together. Add egg yolk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, cardamom, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Spread mixture evenly in 7-by-11-inch baking dish.
  5. Brush mixture with beaten egg white and sprinkle pecans on top.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
For the glaze
  1. While the bars are baking, melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Continue to heat the butter until you notice light brown specks at bottom of pan. This should take around 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar, milk, and lemon juice.
  3. Glaze should be drizzling consistency. If it is too thick, add more milk.
  4. Immediately after removing bars from oven, drizzle glaze over top.
  5. Allow to cool before cutting. Top with lemon zest before serving.

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