How to Use Cinnamon in Cooking
Cinnamon is probably one of the most commonly used spices in the kitchen today. This slightly sweet powder is actually extracted from the back of the bark of certain trees that are native to the cinnamon family. The bark is dried and then scraped for the cinnamon powder, which is then used in a variety of dishes.
The spice itself has been around for centuries; it was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 B.C., and is even mentioned in the Bible. In ancient times, spices were often traded or used for currency and cinnamon was one of the most valuable. It was put in oils to make them sweeter and smell better, and these oils were used on skin and hair to make them soft. It was even burned in incense for its sweet smell, and was added to many dishes during baking.
Today cinnamon has any number of uses when it comes to sweet dishes or beverages. You can add it to just about any baked good, from cakes to cookies to muffins. A touch of cinnamon can enhance the flavor of apple, pumpkin, and many other fruit pies. Cinnamon is also used in most chocolate preparation, so any chocolate dessert can benefit from a pinch of cinnamon, including pies, cookies, and pudding.
Cinnamon also adds some sweetness to what you drink. You might add a small amount to your coffee beans when you brew coffee, or use a cinnamon stick in your cider or tea. Cinnamon also works well in apple juice or in a nice hot toddy.
The spice is a good accompaniment to fruits including apples, pears, and citrus fruits. You might sprinkle some cinnamon on apples and bake them in the oven for a sweet, low calorie treat. Sprinkle some cinnamon on a grapefruit in the morning to cut down on the tartness. If you enjoy citrus flavored herbal teas, try a touch of cinnamon.
You can also add cinnamon to any dish that needs a hint of sweetness, such as your morning oatmeal or a peanut butter sandwich. Use a bit of cinnamon in a wide variety of dishes when you need some extra tang.