Cinnamon in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Cinnamon is the dried bark of various laurel trees in the cinnamomun family.
Possibly most the common baking spice, Cinnamon is used in cakes, cookies, and desserts throughout the world. Cinnamon is also used in savory chicken and lamb dishes from the Middle East. In American cooking, Cinnamon is often paired with apples and used in other fruit and cereal dishes. Stick Cinnamon is used in pickling and for flavoring hot beverages.
For a fragrant pilaf, cook rice in Cinnamon flavored broth and stir in chopped dried fruit and toasted nuts. The sweetspicy flavor of Cinnamon enhances the taste of vegetables and fruits. Cinnamon is a perfect partner for chocolate; use it in any chocolate dessert or drink. It is also used to mellow the tartness of apple pie. Ground Cinnamon should not be added to boiling liquids; the liquid may become stringy and the Cinnamon will lose flavor.
Cinnamon has a sweet, woody fragrance in both ground and stick forms.
True Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. The Cinnamon used in North America is from the cassia tree which is grown in Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and Central America.
There was an ancient belief in something called the Cinnamon Bird that supposedly lived in Arabia and used cinnamon to build its nests. Herodotus wrote that these birds flew to an unknown land to collect the cinnamon and took it back with them to Arabia. The Arabians got the cinnamon from the birds by tempting them with large chunks of raw meat. The birds took the heavy pieces of meat back to their nests, which caused the nests to fall and the cinnamon to rain down and be collected by the people.