Freshly ground cloves yield a rich chocolatey brown powder with an intense aroma and a powerful warming flavor. Cloves contain a high amount of eugenol, which is the phenol compound that lends these dried flower buds a spicy eucalyptus-like scent as well as a sweetness. Other spices like bay, nutmeg, licorice and allspice, also contain eugenol, but the content in cloves is so much higher that eugenol is sometimes called "clove oil."
Not surprisingly, cloves pair well with these aforementioned warming spices and when blended can they complement cloves' sweetness with additional bite and/or savory notes. Ground cloves can therefore be used to create interesting sweet or savory dishes.
Ground cloves lend themselves easily to dusting desserts or beverages from chais to coffees and teas. In creamy sweets they add an edge of spice. Drinks and foodstuffs that have some fat will distribute the flavor compounds best. In fact, rich, creamy eggnog gets its “bite” from a dusting of ground cloves.
Ground cloves also offer complexity to spice combinations from Indian garam masalas to Chinese 5-spice recipes and are a signature spice for pumpkin lattes and other squash-flavored foods and beverages.
1.5 oz (43 g) per 1/2 cup
Less ground cloves are needed when substituting for whole. We suggest ¾ tsp ground cloves for 1 tsp of whole cloves.
In the early 1600s the Dutch fabricated clove scarcity and secured their monopoly by burning clove trees on the islands that they didn't control in the Indonesian archipelago.