Thursday, January 8, 2009

CINNAMON, Types, Uses and One Sweet Recipe!

Cinnamon is an aromatic and warm spice that is available in two forms - the cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon powder.
The spice is actually obtained from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. The bark is stripped from the tree and allowed to dry in the sun. Whilst drying, it rolls up into a quill and this is what we know as a cinnamon stick. Some of the quills are then ground down into a power and this is what we know as ground cinnamon.

There are two main types of cinnamon that are used in cooking today, although around one hundred different types of cinnamon tree actually exist in the world.

True cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon), which has a lighter, sweeter and more delicate flavour, is native to Sri Lanka where it is very popular in savoury dishes such as curries. It is also produced in India, the Caribbean and Brazil. You can use this sweet cinnamon in all types of cakes, biscuits, crumbles and breads.

The other main type of cinnamon is obtained from the cassia tree, which is found in Southeast Asia in countries such as Indonesia, Burma, China and Vietnam. Cassia (Chinese cinnamon) is less expensive than the true cinnamon and perhaps spicier and more pungent. It is therefore preferred in exotic meat dishes, curries and other savoury foods.



CHOCOLATE ORANGE POTS DE CRÈME WITH CINNAMON (Taken from Gourmet Magazine)

1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 1/2 to 7 ounces orange-flavored bittersweet chocolate such as Lindt Excellence Intense Orange, finely chopped
6 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
Equipment: 8 (4- to 5-ounce) ramekins
Accompaniment: whipped cream

Preparation:

Bring cream, milk, and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until melted.
Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt, then whisk in chocolate mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel and put ramekins on towel.

Divide custard among ramekins and add enough boiling-hot water to pan to reach halfway up them. Cover pan tightly with foil and poke a few holes in it. Carefully transfer pan to oven and bake until custards are set around edge but slightly wobbly in center, about 30 minutes.
Cool custards on a rack, uncovered, about 1 hour, then chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Now, PIG OUT!

21 comments:

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

HI Michelle!

Thanks so much for visiting me and leaving your sweet words!! you are welcome anytime to my home, just call when you are in NY :)!!

and omg, I never knew there was that much to Cinnamon , but I can tell you this much, its my favorite scent besides vanilla! thanks for sharing sweetie! I hope you have a great weekend! Hugs, Cynthia

Heather said...

that looks so yummy! i love me some cinnamon. and it's healthy too!

Tracey said...

That sounds fantasticly rich!! YUM! I love chocolate and cinammon is my favorite spice. It just the perfect touch for almost any winter comfort food. Great recipe and great pictures..

Kathleen said...

Ah, Billie Holiday....sounds so good! THe recipe is divine. Sounds like a great dessert for Valentine's Day. Also thank you for the info on cinnamon...I never knew there was more than one kind. I learn so much from my blog friends!! Blessings, Kathleen

Anya said...

Thats Yummmmmmmmmmy, I cooked very match with cinnamon its delicious
and healthy too ;)
And with chocolat very exquisite hahaha......... but not good for someone be on a diet hihihi......but i'am normally I cant have it ;P

Teresa R said...

Can you pretty, pretty please make that for me? 8) I loved getting re-acquainted with cinnamon through your post!

Michelle said...

Cynthia, you are most welcome! Going to your post is like going home. :) Vanilla is my favorite scent of all!

Michelle said...

Heather, ya the cinnamon is definitely healthy proably without the chocolate. Come to think of it, chocolate is an antioxidant too isn't it! Heck, we can probably call this a low fat recipe! ;)

Michelle said...

Tracey, cinnamon is definitely my favorite spice too! I haven't made cinnamon toast in so long but I may have to make some this weekend.

Michelle said...

Hey Kathleen,

I just learned about all the different kinds of cinnamon as well! I never knew there was a cinnamon heaven out there. ;) Gotta love Billie Holiday, huh?

Michelle said...

Hi Anya,

Two of my favorite combinations rolled in one. I love cinnamon/chocolate and orange/chocolate...but to have all three is Heaven!

Michelle said...

Teresa you must be mistaking me for a great cook. I just post the recipes for ya'll to try. If Quincy saw a coyote his eyes would bug out more than you've seen in his pictures. ;)

By the way everyone, I noticed I didn't capitalize Heaven in my response to Kathleen. SO SORRY! I hope God isn't angry with me. :O

FourOf5zs said...

That looks so good.

I remember Daddy bringing home cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans from work to show us children. We were very poor money-wise and those things were something Mama didn't cook with. Daddy worked as an electrician for Merck Chemical Co. They used the spices in their medicines.

FourOf5zs said...

Oh... the recipe looks delicious!

soulchocolate@hotmail.com said...

Cinnamon with orange, that's totally comfort food!!! I love this!

Granny Two Shoes said...

oh I love this recipe

Catherine Holman said...

Thanks for the info. I never knew where cinnamon came from. The recipe sounds great!
Hugs,
Cathie

fairmaiden said...

Wow, I learned alot from that history of cinnamon. Thank you for sharing. There are cassia trees in Africa too, but I don't know if they are the same. I always thought cassia would be a pretty name for a daughter and she could be called cassie or kizzie for short. I studied the African culture while in College because I had signed up with the Peace Corp and because I got a minor in Ethnic Studies(African emphasis). My hubby and I we're stationed to move to West Africa until I got pregnant with our first born and then they wouldn't let us go. I've yet to go there. Someday, if I can get over my fear of flying.

AndreaLeigh said...

And how many calories? A trillion? That's ok b/c it looks delicious.

Chrissy said...

Oh my gosh... they sound gooood!!! I love anything with cinnamon, just wanted to say have a good weekend!! Talk soon.

Teresa R said...

Michelle, I think you're just being modest and that you're a much better cook than you let on (you just don't want us to know so that we don't keep asking you to cook for us...haha!). I'd love Quincy no matter how chicken he is. :)

And if God is as merciful as He is supposed to be, He wouldn't care whether you capitalized heaven or not.