Spice Kitchen: Cinnamon Recipes
Seven Tips for
Cooking with Cinnamon
There is only one rule for cooking with cinnamon or cassia: Don’t
use too much. Its astringency can overwhelm other flavors, creating
an unpleasantly harsh or bitter taste. Instead, treat cinnamon as a
mellow spice, one that will work behind the scenes to bring sweet and
savory flavors into a harmonious balance. You can always add more, but
keep tasting as you cook. Once you’ve gone over the line, there’s no
Use whole cinnamon or cassia sticks to infuse flavor into any dish with
a liquid base—tea, soups, stews, braises, puddings, tagines,
moles, fruit compotes, tomato sauces. To coax more flavor and aroma
from the cinnamon, dry roast whole sticks or quills in a cast iron pan
over medium heat, or fry them in a little hot oil with other spices,
before adding them to the liquid. A Rome apple baked with a cinnamon
stick in its hollowed-out core absorbs the spice’s warm, sweetly woody
Use ground cinnamon or cassia for baking cakes, cookies and pies, for
flavoring ice cream, for making cinnamon toast, and for sprinkling over
rice pudding. The most spectacular fried chicken is dredged in flour
mixed with black pepper and a teaspoon or two of Saigon cinnamon.
Buy small quantities of ground cinnamon or cassia and use it quickly.
The ground spice loses its flavor rapidly. Cinnamon and cassia sticks
will keep for a year or more, as long as they are stored in airtight
containers in a cool, dark pantry. Keep away from heat and light.
a subtle, warm,
woody flavor is desired. True cinnamon is often used in delicate
pastries, but also adds vibrancy to soups and stews. It is the cinnamon
of choice in Mexico for moles, Mexican chocolate, and tea.
when seeking a more pungent, straightforward “cinnamon” taste.
Great for cinnamon rolls, doughnuts and ice cream; its natural
astringency prevents sweet flavors from becoming too cloying.
Experiment with different types of cassia—sweet Chinese, intense
Vietnamese, or traditional Indonesian. Instead of adding more cassia to
a recipe, try using the same amount of a more pungent variety.
Experiment with spice combinations.
Cinnamon blends well with other sweet spices—cloves, coriander and
nutmeg—as well as spices which are peppery or pungent—licorice, ginger,
cardamom, allspice and dried chiles of all kinds. Cinnamon mixed
with any of these spices, plus salt and freshly ground pepper, makes a great
dry rub for grilled pork ribs or chops, chicken or duck.
Perfect Cinnamon Toast
Baked Apples with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Maple Sugar
Butternut Squash Soup with Serrano Ham, Smoky Paprika and Cinnamon
Spanish Chicken Stew with Capers and Olives (Estofado de Pollo)
Grilled Pork Chops with Moroccan Tomato Jam
Ruby Ortiz’s Cinnamon Rice Pudding
Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Cinnamon and Prunes
Fresh Apple Tarts in Puff Pastry with Cinnamon Ice Cream
Pumpkin Squash in Syrup (Calabaza en Dulce)