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Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of trees. It’s a popular spice around the world, used in savory dishes like Middle Eastern cuisine and sweet dishes like desserts. Amongst the many popular spices used around the globe, cinnamon lends an incredible spicy-sweet kick when added to many of our recipes.
Whether you intend to cook a sweet or savory dish, a dash of cinnamon will never go unappreciated. You can use cinnamon sticks, or ground cinnamon powder, though I always find that cinnamon powder tends to provide a more potent flavoring when added to my dishes.
Cinnamon powder can even be added to a mug of hot milk, for a hint of spicy sweetness. If you’re wondering why is cinnamon spicy and sweet, then we’re here to answer your question!
Table of Contents
- What is Cinnamon?
- Different Types of Cinnamon
- Why is Cinnamon Spicy?
- Sweet Cinnamon Recipes
- Spicy-Sweet Cinnamon
What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several species of plants from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment or flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, breakfast cereals, snack foods, teas, and traditional foods. The aroma and flavor of cinnamon derive from its essential oil content which consists mostly of cinnamaldehyde, providing this popular spice with that phenomenal spicy kick.
Different Types of Cinnamon
There are many different species of cinnamon, and the types that you’ll find at your local grocery store will vary depending on where you live. The most common varieties include:
- Cinnamomum Loureiro
- Cinnamomum Burmannii
- Cinnamomum Verum
This cinnamon is known as Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamon. You may have heard of this type of cinnamon before, and for good reason. Saigon Cinnamon is the strongest variety of cinnamon. This means that it has much more of a potent flavor compared to its other types. In fact, one could say that Saigon Cinnamon is the supreme version of this spice because it has a higher oil content, therefore providing more flavor.
Due to its prominent flavor profile, a dash of cinnamon powder added to any recipe would mean that it can stand out, with very potent flavors. Even when mixed with other pungent spices like allspice, cloves or nutmeg; Saigon cinnamon can add an intense kick to any dish!
Native to Southeast Asia, Indonesian cinnamon is less spicy than Vietnamese cinnamon. Its thick quills are red-brown on the outside and grey-brown on the inside. The flavor of Indonesian cinnamon is described as milder than that of Vietnamese cinnamon, but still unmistakably warm and sweet. Indonesian cinnamon is used in beef rendang, which originated in Indonesia but has become a national dish throughout Southeast Asia. Other dishes you might find it in include stews and curries as well as baked goods like cookies or cakes
Cinnamomum verum, which is also known as true cinnamon, is extracted from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. It is native to Sri Lanka where it still grows today, although you may find it labeled as “Ceylon” cinnamon in England or Mexico. In the United States, Ceylon became less popular until recently when Americans started enjoying pastries made with this type of cinnamon instead of cassia.
Why is Cinnamon Spicy?
Cinnamon is sweetly pungent, better thought of as a sharp flavoured spice, obtained from the dried inner bark of a bushy evergreen cinnamon tree. Cinnamon sticks are spicy because they contain cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for giving cinnamon its taste and smell. Cinnamon sticks or quills have this compound, so that when you bite into one you get an instant hit of spice, with a beautifully sweet aftertaste.
Though many wouldn’t bite right into a cinnamon quill, you’ll notice that the strength of the spice seems heavily amplified when it’s being munched as a whole spice. Though if you were to try and scoop some powdered cinnamon into your mouth, the overpowering spicy kick might just turn you into a coughing mess.
Sweet Cinnamon Recipes
Cinnamon is an active spice in a huge variety of desserts, pieces of bread, pies, and more! Here are some recipes for you to try!
- Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Cookies
- Cinnamon Apple Cake
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
The cinnamon roll is a classic dessert that can be found in many bakeries around the world. It consists of soft, fluffy dough and a sweet cinnamon filling. These ingredients combine to create an amazing taste that you won’t forget! These Cinnabon rolls, really are a tremendous way to utilise this fantastic spice, that can make any dish worth savouring.
When you want a quick dessert that’s both sweet and spicy, look no further than these cinnamon cookies. They’re soft and chewy, lightly spiced with the unmistakable warmth of cinnamon, and baked until the edges turn golden. The addition of white chocolate chips makes these cookies even more delicious! These are great by themselves but have been known to make great friends with ice cream or chocolate sauce when leftovers are concerned.
Cinnamon Apple Cake
This cake is so moist, and perfectly flavoured with both brown sugar and cinnamon; brimming with chopped apples. They’re especially great when made in mini loaf pans because it’s so much easier to slice up for serving later on, but you can also bake this in a 9×13-inch pan or two 8-inch round cake pans if you prefer that look.
If you prefer a more even distribution of spices (and who doesn’t?), then try baking these tiny pieces of bread on parchment paper instead of greasing your baking dish or loaf pan – there will be less chance of anything getting stuck at the bottom! Make sure to follow the cooking directions carefully; otherwise, your final product may come out dry in place of the moistness you anticipate.
Cinnamon is spicy because it contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its flavour. The element of appreciation in this instance is that cinnamon is incredibly spicy, sweet, and pungent all at once. It’s a great ingredient to add to your cooking repertoire, whether you use it in the form of whole sticks or ground powder.
Is Cinnamon Considered Spicy?
Cinnamon can be added to sweet dishes, as well as savoury recipes. Cinnamon has a warm, slightly spicy taste that compliments a wide variety of dishes well.
Is Too Much Cinnamon Spicy?
Different types of cinnamon provide distinct levels of spiciness. Cinnamon Cassia has been used in lots of savoury cooking, containing 95% of cinnamaldehyde, providing this stick with its potent spicy flavour.
What Type of Spice is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of the tropical Cinnamomum tree, and can be sold as rolled sticks, or ground into fine powder.