Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinnamon (sticks and ground) / Homemade Apple Pie Spice Blend - Margaret Ullrich

Cinnamon is probably the most popular spice in the world.

It's mentioned in the Bible:
All thy garments smell of myrhh, aloes and cassia (cinnamon) - Psalm 45
It's even mentioned in ancient history:
In Rome in 65 A. D. the funeral rites for Emperor Nero's wife used up the 
entire year's supply of cinnamon.

No, I don't know why her funeral needed so much cinnamon.
And I don't know what's meant by an entire year's supply.
Who's year's supply?  
Nero's?  His baker's?  Rome's local grocery store?
Something must've gotten lost in the translation.

Cinnamon is harvested from the bark of an evergreen tree growing in Indonesia.
But, it sure didn't stay there.
The Pennsylvania Dutch sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on tomatoes.
Indians add cinnamon to curries.
Mexicans add it to chocolate.
Greeks simmer it in stews.  

There are dozens of uses for ground cinnamon.
So don't be afraid to buy a large container.
Sprinkle cinnamon over hot chocolate or cappuccino.
Stir it into pancake batter or chocolate frosting.
Fold it into vanilla ice cream and serve on warm apple pie.

Ground cinnamon can be used in practically everything: 
cakes, buns, breads, cookies, desserts, fruit cakes and pies.
It's a great  addition in practically any chocolate recipe.
It also goes well with mashed sweet potatoes and baked squash.

For a quick treat:
Mix ground cinnamon with sugar and sprinkle on hot buttered toast.
Run the toast under the broiler for a few seconds for a crusty topping.

Wondering what to do with cinnamon sticks?
Add 1 or 2 to beef or lamb stew one half hour before it's done.
This is especially good if the recipe includes prunes, apricots or red wine.
You can add a stick when heating pancake syrup.
Add a stick as a garnish in a mug of hot chocolate or cider.
The stick is especially good with hot clear drinks.  
Ground cinnamon gives a cloudy look.

Apple Pie Spice Blend

1/4 Cup cinnamon
2 Tablespoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Makes 1/2 Cup

Apple Pie Spice would also add a nice touch to apple cobblers and warm apple sauce.

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