Two words: golden milk.

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I love this time of year, when I start to dream of all the holiday cooking and baking that I want to do. Which means I also start stocking up on key ingredients like flour, eggs, and butter at scale, and pantry needs like spices, seasonings, oils, nuts, and chocolate chips. Now I'm here to tell you to add one special ingredient that has transformed my holiday cooking and baking: golden milk spice mix.

What is golden milk spice mix?

Golden milk spice mix is an Indian blend that was originally designed to make a healthful and calming hot drink infused with turmeric and spices often called golden milk. The spice blend can vary from home to home for those who make it themselves, or from brand to brand. Common ingredients added to the turmeric are black pepper, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg.

The golden milk drink that the blend was designed to create can be made with regular milk or plant-based milk alternatives and can be sweetened with sugar, honey, or other sweeteners to make it something of a treat or left unsweetened for soothing and calming. Once made it can also be chilled or served over ice for a refreshing drink. But as much as I love this application, the spice mix has become the thing I reach for again and again for holiday baking!

Spice cookies
Credit: Getty / istetiana

How to use golden milk spice mix in holiday baking

With notes of seasonal spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in the mix with the turmeric, golden milk spice mix is a fantastic swap out for more traditional fall spice blends. I love substituting it for pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice in everything from pies and cheesecakes to sweet breads. I roll sugar cookies in a combo of the golden milk spice mix and sugar to make golden snickerdoodles. A teaspoon or two in a pie dough or rolled onto a puff pastry make a glorious sunny and flavorful crust.

In general, anywhere you would use cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, or a combination of these spices, golden milk spice mix will work in a 1:1 ratio. So, you can really play with all your holiday baking recipes. 

How to use golden milk spice mix in other holiday dishes

Beyond baking, it sneaks into all sorts of places. I add it to Hanukkah noodle kugel where the spices give it oomph and the color makes it festive. I now always use it for seasonal soups, from sweet soups like pumpkin or butternut squash to brothier recipes like chicken soup. 

Since the blend was designed to go into milk, any dairy dish is enhanced by the mix. I add a pinch to creamy sauces like bechamel or cheese sauce the same way I would usually add a tiny bit of nutmeg. That beautiful complex and musky undertone works well with everything from mac and cheese to creamed spinach.

But it also enhances meats! I add it to the glaze for my hams, and if you want a next-level turkey, mix it into softened butter to go under the skin of your holiday bird, and then melt that same butter to baste with.

Spicewalla
Credit: Courtesy Spicewalla

A great golden milk spice mix to buy right now

Once you start to play with this terrific blend, you will find a zillion ways to use it! You can find a recipe to make your own preferred blend or you can purchase a pre-mixed version. My favorite is the Golden Milk Blend from Spicewalla.  Their version has turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, and roasted coriander, which adds a toasty note that I particularly love. You can get a large 3.6-ounce tin for under $10, and the refills for the tin are even less. I buy them in pairs so that I am never without this delicious mix! 

Buy it: Spicewalla Golden Milk Powder ($9.89), amazon.com