cayennepepper‘Tis the season to spice things up by adding chili peppers to your recipes. If Starbucks is doing it with their Chile Mocha, then we should follow suit, non? The chili family boasts many members, such as Anaheim, banana, cayenne, Fresno, habanero, jalapeno, padron, piquillo, poblano, red Thai, serrano, and shishito. The good news is that if you are afraid of spicy food, some of these peppers are on the milder side, such as the poblano and piquillo. In this article, however, we are going to spice to a medium-high level with recipes that include cayenne and jalapeno.

Sweet Stuff

Instead of starting with the savoury, I’m gonna get all sweet first. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed it when chocolates or sweets have an unexpected kick. It’s fascinating. We need more of it.

Cayenne Buttercream CupcakeCupcakes are a guest favourite. How about trying a Bloody Mary Cupcake with Cayenne Pepper Buttercream? This recipe would be perfect for Halloween, especially for adult parties. I’m not saying that because there is spice in it, but because it also calls for vodka. DAMN! Have you ever used vodka in a baked good recipe? Bourbon, yes, but not vodka. If you have, please share in the comments. I need to know!

Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
Cayenne Pepper Buttercream, recipe follows
Sprinkles or other favorite decorations, for topping

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular cupcake or muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne pepper into a medium bowl. Set the bowl aside. In a small bowl, combine the tomato juice, 1/4 cup vodka, lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Set the bowl aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the granulated sugar and horseradish sauce, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add 1 egg at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the flour and tomato juice mixtures, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and mix for 30 seconds.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until baked through, 15 to 18 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons vodka and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Use a pastry brush to brush the vodka mixture over the warm cupcakes. Cool the cupcakes completely, about 30 minutes.
Put the Cayenne Pepper Buttercream into a pastry bag and cut 1/2-inch off the tip. Frost the cupcakes once they are completely cool. Top with your favorite sprinkles or decoration.

Spicy Chili Chocolate CookiesNext to cupcakes, cookies are extremely popular. I’m into these Spicy Chili Chocolate Cookies, especially for Christmas. (I know, I’m thinking too far ahead.) For any baker, putting a full teaspoon of chili into cookie dough is definitely going beyond your comfort zone. It feels exciting yet dangerous!

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup (169 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup (56 grams) cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup (1 3-ounce, 85 grams bar) chili chocolate, chopped
  • Coarse sugar, for rolling (optional)

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium high speed until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. Add to the mixer and mix until combined. Stir in the chopped chili chocolate. The dough will be very thick.
  4. Roll into rounded tablespoons and roll in the coarse sugar, if desired. Place on the prepared sheet and press down on the rounds so that they have a flat top. Bake until tops are cracked and edges are set, 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Store the cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

 

If you have a love for baking, it might be worth investing on the ultimate kitchen gadget for any baker: KitchenAid Artisan Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. It comes in so many colors such as blue, red, white, black but I love this Metallic Chrome version. It’s chic and can match with any kitchen. That is if you like to leave it out as a piece of kitchen décor – no shame in that. Not only is it stylish, it’s powerful. Perfect if you want to make bake a lot of goodies. To give you perspective, it has a large 4.73-litre (5-quart) stainless steel bowl that has enough space to mix dough for 9 dozen cookies, 4 loaves of bread, or 7 pounds of mashed potatoes in A SINGLE BATCH!

Drink It Up.

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 5.27.50 PMSince Starbucks has the Chile Mocha, I’ll start with something along the same lines. This Spicy Hot Chocolate Mocha is from Diethood. You’ll thank me when the weather gets cold. I love how this recipe mixes coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. That’s a lot of flavours.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Place all ingredients, except the toppings, in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, constantly whisking, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.
  • Pour into two coffee cups or glasses and top with whipped cream, marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, chocolate syrup and caramel syrup.
  • Serve.

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 5.29.10 PMNext, I’ll be talking about spicing up those boozy cocktails. My personal favourite is adding jalapeno to a margarita. I’m writing this at 11 a.m. and I want one right now. Even though a margarita may seem like a summer drink, when you add jalapeno, it becomes a great winter cocktail. Enjoy this Fresh Lime & Jalapeno Margarita by Fed and Fit.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (no exceptions!)
  • 1/2 large green jalapeno pepper, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces silver tequila
  •  2 ounces honey
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 lime wedges for garnish
  • 2 sprigs cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In the bottom of a pitcher, muddle the jalapeno slices with the lime juice. 10-12 presses with a muddler or back of a wooden spoon will do!
  2. Add the tequila and honey, stir to combine thoroughly – or until all the honey is dissolved.
  3. Pour the sea salt in the bottom of a small bowl. Dip the top of each glass in the margarita mixture, let it drain off, then press the top of the glass into the bowl of salt. Gently tap the glass with your hand to knock off any excess.
  4. Fill each glass with fresh ice and pour in the margarita mix.
  5. Garnish with the fresh lime and cilantro.

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 5.48.40 PMLet’s stay with the tequila theme, but instead use cayenne pepper. Check out this Red Chili Martini recipe from Creative Culinary, which calls for cayenne salt to put on the rim of the glass. Wow, that sounds potent. It also uses fresh mango, which is an interesting combination with the cayenne.

Ingredients:

  • Cayenne Salt for the Rim (blend 3 Tbsp of margarita or kosher salt with Cayenne to taste; I added 1/2 tsp)
  • 5 oz of Tequila
  • 2 oz of fresh Mango
  • Chili Powder
  • Juice of one lime

Directions

  1. Rim glass with some juice from lime and dip in the cayenne salt
  2. Chill glass in freezer
  3. Make mango puree; blend fresh mango with chili powder to taste; I added three shakes
  4. Put tequila, mango puree and lime juice into shaker; shake and strain into chilled martini glass
  5. Garnish with small red chile

Every great cocktail recipe, needs great glassware. Is this an oversight? Because I hate drinking wine in a non-wine glass, it kills my vibe. Non? I love this glass set from Rona Drinkmaster. It’s a stem-less martini glass. It’s great because it works for martinis and any other types of cocktails. I love cool glasses but living in an apartment, I’m limited on shelf space. So, I love when products can serve more than one purpose.

Snacks

Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 5.44.15 PMI love snacks. I prefer to have a bunch of tapas as my meal rather than sticking to just one entrée. However, if you are dieting, the calorie count can skyrocket without your even realizing it. This is probably the reason why my weight-loss plan hasn’t worked out. Anyway, let’s start off with this Spiced Walnuts recipe from Martha Stewart. Cayenne, sugar, and honey—oh my! Spiced Walnuts recipe from Martha Stewart. Cayenne, sugar, and honey—oh my!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat honey, oil, and 1 tablespoon water over medium heat. Add walnuts; toss to coat.

  2. Sprinkle the sugar, salt, cumin, coriander, and cayenne over the nuts. Cook, tossing and stirring until the nuts are well coated and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool completely.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries—yes, please! The title of the recipe sums it up. The problem with this is that it’s addictive. It’s super easy to prepare if you have the right spices, such as cayenne pepper, paprika, brown sugar, onion, and garlic powder. Let’s get to it!

Ingredients:

1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large sweet potatoes (for 2 people)

Directions
Bake at 450 degrees F on a 11″x17″ non stick sheet on top of a baking sheet for half an hour and then optionally broil on high for a few minutes watching carefully until brown. Your oven may take longer but do a test to make sure they’re cooked through before starting to broil. Add a little thyme and rosemary if you wish. Make these with other potatoes as well, we often make them with red potatoes.

The next to-die-for snack is these Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Peppers. They’re cheesy, creamy, crispy, spicy, and just so damn delicious. These would be lethal to your diet, only because you can’t stop at one.

There you have it, a list of ways to add more kick to your culinary flavor. I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite recipes that include a chili pepper? Or are you afraid of foods with too much spice? Please comment below.