Spicy Bakes

Get Spicy with Spicy Food, Even Spicy Desserts!

Publish Date February 2, 2024 2 Minute Read

Are your dinners feeling blah, like they need a little kick to make them more exciting? It is time to add some spicy food to your regular rotation. Adding a little spice and a little heat is not only tasty, it is good for you, too.

Spiced Vs Hot, What’s the Difference?

There is a wide world of spices, each one with a unique taste and aroma. A dish can be seasoned with spices and not chilies, and be “spiced.” Think of Spiced Cider, or Spiced Nuts, which are often not hot.

In between spices and chilies are the Cruciferous spices, like hot mustard, wasabi, and horseradish. Their heat is of the sinus-clearing variety. Once you start adding dried or fresh chili peppers, you’re in the territory of “hot.” The difference matters, since you might be cooking or baking for people who are sensitive to chilies or hot mustard, but who can still enjoy other spices, like cumin or cinnamon.

Is Spicy Food Good For You?

Chilies and spices are healthy foods, and each kind brings a mix of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that support health. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat, has many documented health benefits. If you’ve ever eaten a salsa so hot that it made you sweat, that is the capsaicin increasing your circulation and raising your metabolism a bit. The reason that the cuisines of hot, Tropical countries often rely on hot sauces and seasoning is that perspiration helps you cool off, as the liquid evaporates. Most chilies are high in vitamin C, and 1 average red chili has 18 calories, and 108% of the USRDA of vitamin C. It’s also got a respectable amount of Beta Carotene and Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are protective antioxidants.

If you have a low tolerance for hot foods, you can change it. People who grow up eating hot food become accustomed to it as babies. As you eat hot food, your tolerance grows, and each time you will be able to enjoy a little more heat.

Of course, what you mix your chilies with makes all the difference, and some spicy dishes are high in fats and carbs, so enjoy them in moderation.

Are Hot Foods Dangerous?

You may have heard about the Paqui One Chip Challenge, in which participants ate one intensely hot tortilla chip. In September of 2023 a teen died after eating the single chip, and the family blamed the death on an overdose of capsaicin. Experts speculate that it would take 3 pounds of intensely hot Ghost peppers to kill a 150 pound person, and most people would become too sick to eat that much. Enjoying hot foods in normal quantities poses no risk unless you have an underlying condition.

What Are Some Spicy Foods?

Some of the most popular foods in the world are spicy. In the US, dishes like Southwestern Chili and Louisiana’s Jambalaya and Cajun food are hot and spicy. Americans flock to Mexican restaurants, to eat spicy salsas, tacos, sopas (soups) and more. Dried Chilies are used to make Moles, which are spicy pastes used to flavor sauces and other dishes.

Indian restaurants are famous for serving spicy hot curries. Southern Indian food is a bit more chili hot-to go with the warmer climate. Vindaloos and Andhra Chili Curries are famously hot.

In China, Sichuan and Hunan foods are notoriously spicy, with Sichuan Peppercorn Chicken and Hunan Spicy Beef delivering the heat. Thailand offers up Red, Green and Yellow curries, as well as spicy soups and stir fries. Indonesia and Malaysia share spicy Sambals, sauces known for their kick, and a stewed dish called Rendang that combines coconut milk with spices, chilies and

Korea is famous for their spicy Kim Chi, stews and Gochujang Sauce.

Jamaica is famous for Jerk, and other foods made with Scotch Bonnet Chilies. Morocco is famous for Harissa Sauce and other spicy dishes. Berbere spice is a blend from Ethiopia.

Can Pastries Be Spicy?

There is growing interest in sweets with a little spice and heat. Chocolate originated in South America, where Aztec Emperor Montezuma was known to drink cups of unsweetened cacao brewed with hot chilies and cornmeal. Chocolate, spices and chilies can make a delicious dessert, like these Spicy Chile-Cinnamon Brownies.

What Is Spicy Sweet?

Spicy sweet is just what it sounds like-a combination of sweet and hot that soothes even as it tingles. The new trend toward “swicy” food has resulted in new syrups, sauces, and dishes with a combination of sweet and hot. Cocktail bars are jazzing up their sweet drinks with hot syrups and chili pepper garnishes. Hot honey is a popular example, perfect for drizzling on grilled chicken, or a peanut butter sandwich. Hot Honey Peanut Butter Cookies are a perfect way to explore the joy of spicy sweet, as the familiar flavor of peanut butter is followed by a growing warmth in your mouth.

Montezuma was right, chocolate and chilies go together, so you can always try adding some cayenne to a favorite chocolate cake or other chocolate dessert.

What Is A Good Dessert After Spicy Food?

A classic remedy for an overdose of heat is a glass of milk, or in India, a spoonful of yogurt or Raita. The fat in a cool dose of dairy products helps to absorb some of the chili oils that are coating your tingling tongue. To cool off after a spicy meal something like cheesecake or creamy pudding can serve as a comforting counterpoint. Or go all in with a spicy sweet, like a pineapple upside down cake with added heat in the topping.

Heat Things Up With Spicy Foods

If you’re ready to try adding some heat to your meals, it’s easy to take baby steps. Try some hot honey, hot sauces, or a recipe for a Curry or Chili. Adding a little more hot sauce each time will increase your tolerance, and you’ll be enjoying healthy food with a bonus. People all over the world love the thrill of spicy foods, and you can, too.