Which Cinnamon is Best?
I love cooking and baking with Cinnamon but right now I have three to four different species of cinnamon in my pantry. I bought them during my many travels, in three different continents. I know they all belong to the genus Cinnamomum, family Lauraceae and they all have aromatic oils in their bark. Apart from the species Cinnamomum verum which is actually the true cinnamon and is commonly known as Ceylon cinnamon or Sri Lanka cinnamon (the rest are closely related species which are also sold as ‘cinnamon’). I couldn’t really figure out the rest, so I decided to do a quick search (it’s not exhaustive, please).
The true cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon is a native of Sri Lanka, but is also cultivated commercially, in Seychelles and Madagascar. Sri Lanka produces 80–90% of the world’s supply. It’s expensive and is the preferred in Mexico, Europe and Oceania (I bought mine in Europe). It has a lower oil content, a light aroma and a sweet, delicate and complex flavour. (it’s my cinnamon of choice. It gives a warm sensation to the tip of the tongue, also described as a warm flavour). Ceylon cinnamon quills have many thin layers of bark and can easily be made into powder using a coffee or spice grinder. True cinnamon is great for sweet dishes requiring subtle flavour. (A nice photo of the bark)
The second one, Cinnamomum cassia, (C. aromaticum) commonly known as Chinese cassia, Cassia or Chinese cinnamon, originates from southern China. Most of the spice sold as ‘cinnamon’ in the United States and Canada is Chinese cinnamon (C. cassia). C. cassia bark is used as a flavouring agent for confectionery, desserts, pastries, and meat; it is specified in many curry recipes, where Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon) is less suitable. C. cassia quills are extremely hard and are usually made up of one single coiled thick layer. It has a bolder, less subtle flavor than true cinnamon, so it is sometimes referred to as ‘bastard cinnamon.‘ It’s a better choice for savoury dishes.
The third one Cinnamomum loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia, or Saigon Cinnamon, is mainly produced in Vietnam. The bark has the highest oil content and commands the highest price. It’s used primarily for its aromatic bark which has a complex aroma with a spicier flavour. It is closely related to Chinese cassia.
The last one, Cinnamomum burmannii, also known as Indonesian cinnamon/cassia, Padang cassia, or Korintje is a Native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia. “Indonesian cinnamon” is the cheapest, because it has the lowest oil content and is most commonly sold, ground, in the US as cinnamon and the quills are one-layered. There are several other species sold as ‘cinnamon’, which I have not mentioned here. I am sorry for this lengthy description, I needed to get my jars of cinnamon correct. Now for the recipe for Apple cinnamon Sultana Muffins.
Please always remember to assemble all ingredients before you start
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda (bicarbonate of Soda), cinnamon (and salt if using).
Mix thoroughly and make a well in the centre.
In another bowl, whisk eggs, apple sauce, melted butter and buttermilk
Pour the egg-butter-apple mixture into the well,
stir until just combined (do not over mix).
Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared muffin tin (pan). I decorated with some almonds and cherries. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffins, comes out clean. ( I baked the muffins at 400°F (200°C) for 22 minutes.)
Remove, let stand for five minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes; Baking time: 20-25 minutes; Makes: 15 medium or 12 large muffins
- 250g (2 cups, 9oz) all-purpose flour
- 5ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt (If using unsalted butter)
- 180g (1 scant cup, 6½oz) sugar
- 50g (¼ cup, 2oz) sultanas
- 2 eggs
- 375g (1½ cups) unsweetened applesauce (I used 3 x 104ml (3.4fl oz) Mott’s unsweetened applesauce)
- 125g (½ cup, 4½oz, 1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter melted
- 60ml (¼ cup, 2fl oz) buttermilk
- I medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped or diced
- Optional: sliced almonds and cherries to decorate
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) ten minutes before using. Line muffin tins (pans) with paper cases.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda (bicarbonate of Soda), cinnamon (and salt if using). Add the sugar and sultanas. Mix thoroughly and make a well in the centre.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, apple sauce, melted butter and buttermilk until thoroughly mixed. Add the diced apples.
- Pour the egg-butter-apple mixture to the well, stir until combined (do not over mix). Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffins, comes out clean. Remove, let stand for five minutes and then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
- For cup measures: spoon the flour into the cup, heaping it up over the top, then slide a knife across the top to level off the extra. Be careful not to shake or tap the cup to settle down the flour or you will have more than you need. I use a 240ml, American cup.
Points to note:
- Please note that oven temperatures are given as a guideline only. You may need to add or reduce the suggested temperature depending on your oven. I baked the muffins at 400°F (200°C) for 22 minutes.
- The muffins are not very sweet. If you prefer more sugar, add 225g (8oz) of sugar or to your taste.
- Last Updated: 23 July 2018
Beautiful and yummy looking muffins! Your photos are wonderful!
Thanks for visiting 🙂
Thank you so much for your compliments Marianne. I really appreciate your kindness. Have a pleasant week and thanks for visiting too!
Beautiful muffins Liz! Thank you for the informative tutorial on cinnamon. Love your blog!
Thank you for liking the tutorial and my blog. I am so glad you found it useful. Hope to see you more often. Have a fabulous weekend!
A chef I worked for that specialised in Keralan cuisine used Cassia bark rather than quills in curries. I use both but prefer quills for baking. It’s virtually impossible to pick them out of a savoury sauce as they splinter so easily!
I am so sorry I took so long to respond. Using Cassia bark makes a lot of sense, especially with regard to splinting. I mainly use them in rice, because I can easily see them. I use both too depending on what I lay my hands on but I prefer the Ceylon cinnamon best. Thanks for visiting me. Have a wonderful weekend!
Anything with cinnamon is worth consuming, I think 🙂 Especially when apples are involved. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
I am sorry I took so long to respond to this message. The weekend has been rather busy for me. I love apples and cinnamon too. It’s always such a good combination. Have a fabulous weekend.
A beautifully constructed and tasty post Liz 😀 Ralph xox 😀
Thank you Ralph. How goes life? Have you recovered from the party? when are you throwing another one? Maybe I might just be close enough to catch it? Have a wonderful weekend, Ralph. Best wishes!
Life is fun. I am never alone blogging ……… I must get a life;) The latest party was last Thursday and I am still recovering from that one. None of your lovely muffins on the menu though 😦 If I do have another one here at home I will give you advanced notice so you can pick out your favourite party dress and I will sent a chauffeur driven moose to bring you to Spain from Canada. Deal ?? xox
Life is fun for you is an understatement. You know the quote: “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”? you are living it, completely and utterly. Please next time you have a party, place an order in advance. It will be mailed to your address. Now sending me a chauffeur driven moose, all the way from Spain is a damn splendid idea. I look forward to the ride. Please let me know in advance. Enjoy your life, Ralph. Life is what you make it!
I will take notes and will let you know where and when …… especially the muffins 😀
Okidoki, enjoy life, Ralph.
And you my friend 😀
I too learned something new about cinnamon. Thanks Liz.
You are welcome Beth. Have a lovely weekend!
There’s more than 1 type of cinnamon? Thanks for the lesson.
There is only one true Cinnamon, and several closely related species that are also sold as ‘Cinnamon’. Thank you for being a good student. Have a lovely Friday. Best Wishes.
Oh, how pretty are those muffins? Very pretty indeed Miss Liz! Geez, I wish we were neighbours!
Haha I wish I was your neighbour too. I love your recipes, too Thanks. Enjoy your evening.
Hi Liz, Love your elaborate recipe and photography…. I am going to try this recipe this week 🙂
Thank you so much for loving my photography and recipe. Please enjoy the muffins, when you try them, I still look forward to cooking from your blog too!
I always learn new things about food when I read your blog. Thanks for the great information on cinnamon! And these muffins look delicious!
I am so glad you found the information useful. Thanks for complimenting the muffins and have a wonderful week!
Fantastic post Liz. I’ve done a bit of reading on cinnamon myself but I always find it difficult to identify the quality in the supermarket or continental store. Often there are labels for ‘cinnamon’ and ‘cassia’ but never the types of cinnamon itself. This is such a beautiful recipe. I love how you’ve decorated the cupcakes, they look elegant… to good to eat! Thanks for all the extra cooking tips too… you always write so thoroughly. Can’t wait to try these x
Thank you so much for your compliments, Laura. I hope you found the information useful. I just needed to understand the “cinnamons” a little better because there is so much confusion even on the internet. Once the cinnamon has been ground it may not be possible to know what the original stuff was. I like the Ceylon Cinnamon. It’s the one I’ve used and liked for years. I shall be finding my way to your blog..thanks so much for your kind words. Have a fabulous week!
Liz! Beautiful muffins and so timely! Cinnamon, apples, fall is on it’s way. I think the Autumn Equinox is just around the corner, then it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, then, BAM! Christmas. Whew. I’m tired already.
Question: Do you know of the cookbook author, Claudia Roden? The Boulder library happens to have most of her books and they are excellent. I checked out her THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD. There are about 40 dessert recipes that I want to try, but I don’t have the time. Would you like to tag team? Only if you are interested. She has this recipe for Gateau au Coco (Moroccan Coconut Cake) that looks simply gorgeous, and an Almond Cake in Orange Syrup that takes two days to make which is on my list. This book has over 800 recipes. Plus, it’s a really fascinating read.
Please don’t make me panic, BAM winter also means BAM snow and shovelling. Large driveways are a joy in summer but a pain in winter. You wish you could rent it away during certain periods.
I have just looked up that book-my local library has it. Give me time to order the book and see these lovely desserts you are talking about. It will take about two days to arrive in my branch from the main library. I shall get back to you after I’ve seen the desserts. Thanks for introducing me to the book and for your invitation to tag team. Have a lovely evening.
Thanks for including the mini-food lessons in your blog. I enjoy learning new things! I love cinnamon and it’s health benefits.
Thank you for finding them useful. I love learning too. Have a wonderful day!
I’m still looking for buttermilk, so I guess I have to keep this recipe for later. I think I should do some Googling to see if there is a good substitute which I can buy here. 😀
You can also use sour cream, or milk or sour milk, or yogurt. There are so many substitutes to buttermilk. you can also curdle the milk with lemon juice!
Enjoy the muffins. Have a wonderful day!
Thank you for the tips, Liz! I’m writing them all down. 😀
I will probably use yogurt because it is the easiest one to find.
Oh yes plain yogurt without any additives will do the job. Have a lovely evening!
Thanks for your descriptions of the different cinnamons. I had never thought there were more than ground cinnamon and sticks but now I know! Pretty decoration on your muffins too 🙂
Thank you for visiting me too. I’m glad you learnt something from the descriptions. Thank you for complimenting the muffins and wish you a lovely week!
It was very interesting to know so much about cinnamon. And the muffins look awesome 🙂
Thanks so much for visiting me and for learning about cinnamon. I am missing a link to your blog though. This link goes to the gravatar page and it has no link to your website. I shall try to search. hope I shall find it. Have a lovely day!
These look so good. I just love apples and cinnamon! As the weather cools….though still not here….I look forward to pumpkin and cinnamon. Basically anything with cinnamon! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks. I love apples and cinnamon too, and pumpkin. Our weather has really cooled down. I think it’ll stay cool until we blend into fall. Thanks so much for visiting and have a lovely day!
Oh Liz they look amazing! Thanks so much for the cinnamon information. My favourite cinnamon is Costco’s Saigon Cinnamon. It’s quite potent and has a natural sweetness to it. The aroma is wonderful as well. I love making a pot of coffee with it under the grinds. Hmmmmm bet you know what I’m going to do right now since it’s 6am here! Have a great day and I hope you had a wonderful long weekend
Hey Vicki how have you been? Hope things are good for you and work is not over stretching. I agree with you absolutely, on Saigon Cinnamon.it’s quite potent, spicy and aromatic. I must get myself a jar from Costco as well. I mainly use the Ceylon one. It’s more subtle but sweet with a warm tingling sensation. Very nice for nibbles.
Oh yes you’re gonna make yourself a strong steaming cuppa with some potent Saigon cinnamon in it. I would do anything to get one as well. The long weekend was fabulous. Enjoy your cuppa and have a lovely day, Vicki.
Best wishes, Liz
Thanks Liz. Where can I get some Ceylon Cinnamon? I love cinnamon so much it would be great to try different ones.
I buy mine when I travel, so I’ve never bothered to try and look for it here. If ever I hear of a source, I shall let you know. Have a great evening!
Thank Liz, you too
I had no idea there was more than one type of cinnamon, I’ve learnt something new. The muffins look yummy!
Ha ha at least now you know. I knew there was but they were very confusing. Thanks for complimenting. Have a lovely day!
I noticed that my most recent jar of cinnamon was more fiery than usual but I have never seen them marked with their variety. It is the spice I use the most.
Oh yes that’s probably the Vietnamese one. The problems is they are never marked and that’s why I became curious. They are all mostly sold as ‘cinnamon’, irrespective of where they come from. Thanks. It’s nice to see you again. Have a lovely week!
I thought this lesson was useful, too! I knew there were different cinnamons but not exactly what the differences were. I’ve been really liking the Vietnamese cinnamon lately.
I love the Ceylon Cinnamon. It’s the one I’ve used for years. I don’t like the ones with the thick barks because they are so difficult to break into piece,s especially when I want to use whole spices for cooking. The vietnamese is very aromatic! Thanks and have a lovely day!
These look so delicious! I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award: http://aspoonfulofstyle.co.uk/2013/09/04/versatile-blogger-award/
Thank you so much for nominating me. That’s very kind of you. You make me feel very honoured. Have a great week!
Such an interesting post, I had no idea about all these cinnamons! I feel like I need to go in search of some now to try!
I know my favourite one, the true cinnamon and frankly speaking I still can’t quite tell the others by looking. The information on the net is very inaccurate and mixed up. Have a great day!
I know I said it before… you are so creative, Liz! I love it!
Thank you, Fae. Have a lovely day!
Reblogged this on Just For Pix.
Standing by at my mailbox . . .
Did it not arrive? The squirrel must have taken it or was it the road runner or the tarantula. You have too many suspicious neighbours!!!
I was just on another blog and I mentioned that, though I’m in no rush to bid Summer farewell, I do look forward to the smells of Fall. Chief among them is apple-cinnamon. That aroma in the kitchen is intoxicating, as I bet it was in your kitchen when you baked these. The best thing, though, is knowing that where that scent is, there’s bound to be a delicious apple-cinnamon treat of some sort. I bet that aroma drew your family to the kitchen and I doubt that anyone complained when they discovered the source. I would have been thrilled. 🙂
It’s always a pleasure to see you. I love cinnamon John, and apples too. I have this strange habit of eating apples at midnight, when I am blogging (they taste so good then). The muffins were delicious. I would make them again and again and I eat my apple-cinnamon all the year round too. I never restrict my diet to the weather. My philosophy is to eat whatever I want when I crave for it.
John, I want to thank you so much for supporting my blog always. I appreciate you kindness and grace. I wish you a fabulous week and be kind enough to hug Max on my behalf.
Nice muffing … I like the education to of cinnamon …thanks for sharing the information … Talking about kid … You said that you are so busy … My little boy is 2 years . And he made me sooo busy during the day … So going school is more work … But it’s fun having kid ..have nice evening 🙂
Ha ha thanks for finding it useful.The little ones are even more difficult to deal with. They keep you busy throughout the day, without a break, sometimes. I wonder how you manage to cook and make those beautiful videos. The first few days of school are busy then it settles down and things are good. Thanks have a nice week!
Ha ha I need to wait till he sleep and sometimes he share with me my work … He is my assistant 🙂
You are phenomenal, when my kids were two years old, I couldn’t do so many things. You have a lovely assistant. I guess it helps to think of him as an assistant. a good way of handling a difficult situation. Big hugs to him!
Thank you …:)
I love learning…this was great! Muffins look nice too! 😀
Thanks. The learning was meant for me, but I had to put it where I can easily refer to it. I’m glad you found it useful too! Have a lovely week!
Wow, that was interesting! I did not realize there were different types of cinnamon. I knew it was some sort of rolled bark or skin of a tree but that’s about it. I try to buy spices in their original form and grind myself when possible. The flavours are so much nicer. Very nicely done Liz! Not only giving us good recipes, but educating us as well. I like that. I yearn for the day when I can just put my hand into the Ethernet and pull out a sample of your baking! 😉
It’s a dark and dreary evening here but we need the rain and it’s reminding us of the impending autumn. Enjoy your day tomorrow, kids all in school. And congratulations on building your Facebook followers!
I have not been to Facebook page for days. Life has been so busy this past week, including today.and tomorrow it continues since the kids have sports 2-4 times a week so a lot of dropping and picking in the evenings….
It’s just that the ‘cinnamons’ I have, bought in separate continents, are so different so I needed to figure them out. I love the true cinnamon best. It’s the one I’ve been using for years.It’s easier to handle and the flavour is so good. I sometimes nibble it.
It has been quite cold today, in general around 13-15C most of the day and now it’s even cooler. My Facebook followers grow sporadically, each spurt of growth is followed by a dormant phase and then the cycle begins, again. Thanks Sandy, I saw the results of your labour, at the office. Have a good night. I want to try and sleep early today. This morning, waking up was a problem. Best wishes!
Thanks for the cinnamon lesson – very insightful!
Ha ha it was more because I was so confused I needed to sort them out and now I have, more or less..thanks all the same! Wish you a wonderful week!