Friday, August 31, 2012

How many different kinds of cinnamon are there anyway?

Do you know how many different kinds of cinnamon there are? Until recently, I didn't. I also thought they were all the same. Then I bought some in bulk from a specialty grocery store. I thought the cinnamon was old, or a poor grade. It was so bitter, not at all the warm cozy spice I love. Then it happened, a Penzey's Spices was built in our town. The first time we visited I made a bee line to the baking section and was amazed to see FOUR different kinds of cinnamon. All claiming to taste slightly different! Boy, did we have fun smelling them all! I just kept sniffing until I narrowed it down to the one that smelled warm, cozy, sweet and spicy. Now you my be thinking, they ALL smell that way. Not at all, if you have them all in a row for a test, you will see!
Sweet and mellow, Indonesian cinnamon is the type of cinnamon we all remember from our childhood. Fragrant Indonesian cinnamon is as strong as China cinnamon, but smoother and not as nippy. (from Penzeys Spices.)
Complex and fragrant, with a citrus overtone and rich buff color. Although Ceylon cinnamon is less strong, its hint of citrusy flavor and lack of any bite whatsoever makes it the favorite in both England and Mexico where it is preferred for all uses. (from Penzeys Spices.)
Extra sweet, spicy and strong. Perfect for everything from cinnamon rolls to apple pie, Christmas cookies to French toast. (from Penzeys Spices.)
Vietnamese cinnamon is the strongest, richest, and sweetest cinnamon around. For traditional cinnamon recipes such as gooey cinnamon rolls, the vibrant flavor of Vietnamese cinnamon really shines. It is so strong, that in most recipes it should be cut back by about a third, but it is perfect used full strength in any recipe where cinnamon is the main, delicious flavor. (from Penzeys Spices.)
My favorite is the China cinnamon. My sister, who loves spices and likes to have them bite back at her, buys the Vietnamese variety. I haven't tried the Indonesian or Ceylon Cinnamon yet. In the store when I smelled them, the Chinese smelled the nicest, so I have stuck with it. Someday I might try the other ones.
The first thing one thinks of when talking about cinnamon, is Cinnamon Rolls! So I am sharing our favorite recipe. This is our go to recipe when we need a fast breakfast or a quick comfort food fix.
Quick Cinnamon Rolls
4 cups flour
8 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup melted butter
1 1/3 cups milk
Pretty much just dump everything in a bowl and mix into a dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until not too sticky. Roll out into a square about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle sugar (we usually use brown or a mixture of brown and white) and cinnamon over the dough in a nice layer. Starting at one end roll up the dough into a log. Slice into pieces, placing cut side down on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 8-12 minutes.
They best way to eat these is right out of the oven with butter melted on top! Yum!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Carla! I honestly didn't have any idea either until I thought "what am I eating? this isn't cinnamon!"