Savory and sweet flavors are classic opposites. In this new feature, we take an iconoclastic look at our standard definitions of what comes with sugar, and what comes with salt. In this week's first installment, croutons were given a sugary makeover, and caramelized cardamom croutons were born.
Making the croutons: I cubed a three-inch section of a day-old baguette, and tossed them in a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. It's a lot of oil, but I wanted to make sure that all sides were covered. Next, they went into a bowl with about a tablespoon of cane sugar and half a teaspoon of cardamom, and I tossed again. I baked them in a 375 degree oven for five minutes, turned them over with a spatula, and put them in for another five minutes.
The result: The croutons were as crunchy as I'd hoped, but even better, the sugar caramelized on the corners, and smelled heavenly. Additionally, the cardamom was a fragrant touch-- not overpowering and complex. I served them for breakfast on top of Greek yogurt, which I sweetened with apricot jam, and raspberries and plums that had macerated in a mixture of lemon juice, cane sugar, and mint. Normally, I wouldn't have served Greek yogurt at brunch, but the croutons were exactly the elegant finish it needed.
I used ingredients I had on hand to make the croutons, but they would be delightful with different spices, butter instead of the coconut oil, and different kinds of sugars. (Try cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla, anise, or nutmeg, for example.)
For more recipes to serve with these sweet croutons, try: