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.
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.)
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