Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used it, along with its inferior cousin cassia, in the embalming process (2,000 BC) and the spice is even mentioned in the Old Testament.
“I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:17).
Cinnamon was considered to be a valuable and precious commodity, a luxury of the very rich and so valuable that elaborate tales were circulated to keep prices sky high and the market under the control of only a few countries. Today’s cinnamon is as common as salt or pepper, accessible to anyone, and very inexpensive.
Today’s cinnamon is primarily used in baking (though it can be used as an air freshener, an insect repellent, and a beauty aid, to name a few) and, we've listed 8 classic cinnamon baking recipes for your noshing pleasure. Enjoy!
1. Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts
Baked doughnuts? Yes! Whether you're trying to cut down on fats and fried foods or just trying to eat healthier, you can have your doughnut and eat it too. Check out this flavorful yet guilt-free recipe by Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa, Ina Gartner.
The first printed recipe for the snickerdoodle goes back to 1889 and it is believed they're of Dutch or German origin, their original name schneckennudeln. Here’s a recipe for a soft, chewy snickerdoodle and, if you don't have cream of tartar, get some as it's indispensable for this cookie!
3. Cinnamon Rolls
No article on cinnamon recipes would be complete without mention of a cinnamon roll. The cinnamon roll is thought to have northern Europe origins. Swedes love their version of the roll, called kanelbulle, and even celebrate a cinnamon roll day on October 4th. All Recipes.com is a good resource for any recipe imaginable and this cinnamon roll recipe rates 4 stars among its readership.
4. Sticky Buns
Ah, the sticky bun. Ooey, gooey, finger lickin/ good fun! Originally called schnecken, the sticky bun is thought to be German in origin, brought to US near Pennsylvania by German Settlers in the 18th Century. Did you know that February 21st is National Sticky Bun Day? Why not celebrate with this sticky bun recipe by Bon Appétit?
5. Cinnamon Apple Pie
Another classic! You’ve heard the expression “as American as apple pie,” but I hate to burst your bubble: the apple is decidedly un-American in origin. The apple is indigenous to Asia, and it's thought that the Romans introduced apples to Europe with the colonists spreading them to the "New World." The only native apple in North America, at that time, was the crab apple, a decidedly not pie-worthy fruit. This recipe, however, is definitely pie worthy.
6. Cinnamon Baked Apples
Cinnamon baked apples are yet another classic apple recipe. Baked on a cold winter’s night, the house fills with the aroma of cinnamon and apples, creating the smells of the holidays and memories of family and good times. Create some memories of your own with this recipe from All Recipes.com. If you start with an intensely flavored apple, such as a Gold Rush or D’Arcy Spice, baking will concentrate the natural sugars and add a caramel note to the dish. If you can't find these varieties, ask your produce person which varieties that she has that fit the bill.
7. Cinnamon Baked French Toast
Who doesn’t like french toast? Sweet, doughy and delicious simplicity. I hate to burst your bubble, but, French toast isn’t French at all!
French toast’s origins are so old that it was around before France was even a nation, however; the exact origins of this breakfast classic have been lost to the sands of time. Bread has been a staple foodstuff for millennia and people were more conscious of not wasting food in ancient times, so stale bread was never wasted like it is today.
With this in mind, ancient peoples would find creative ways to make stale foods more palatable, including soaking bread in milk and egg then cooking it and this is thought to be how French toast came about. A 4th century Roman cookbook mentions Pan Dulcis, bread soaked in milk and egg then fried in oil or butter, exactly the same way we do in 2015! If you really like cinnamon, try this recipe from Epicurious.com, Double Cinnamon French Toast.
8. Cinnamon Chip Scones
Scones are a favorite, especially in countries like Scotland, Ireland, and England and it is thought they originated in Scotland. The first known printed reference to the scone is in a poem written by a Scottish poet in 1513. The first known bakery scone, a griddle fried oatcake, was served at McTavish Bakery.
This version, by SallysBakingAddiction.com is enhanced with the addition of cinnamon baking chips.
Cinnamon baking recipes are some of the most popular in cooking, and for good reason. Cinnamon adds a warmth depth, and homespun flavor to desserts and savory dishes alike. Be creative with cinnamon, as there are many uses for cinnamon other than for baking and you might be surprised just how useful this spice actually is if you do some research online.