All Cinnamon is Not Created Equal…..
Not sure that phrasing is politically correct….but you know what I mean.
Recently “Little Mommie” texted me to ask about my Christmas Cinnamon Hard Candy recipe.
I have several recipes, but she wanted it to be really spicy, as the recipes she had been using were very un-spicy!
(My printable recipe is below if you care to take a look)
“Little Mommie’s” request got me to thinking of the differences in that wonderful spice …cinnamon!
Who doesn’t love the memorable aroma and tastes of cinnamon?
For me, if I even say the words, Apple Pie,… my thoughts go to crisp, Autumn days, or Summertime picnics!
I can envision a hot apple pie cooling on the shelf of an open window…and my taste buds start working overtime, as I see the dark, reddish cinnamon mixed with sweet creamery butter, sliding and oozing all over and in between slices of apples!
We all have the ground cinnamon in our spice cabinets…and many of us have the cinnamon extract, but not too many cooks have the cinnamon oil on their shelves.
Both cinnamon extract and cinnamon oil are concentrated essences of cinnamon and can be substituted for one another in many recipes, however they are not the same!
Does that sound like an oxymoron?
Well, not really because the key to the difference is heat tolerance and flavor strength.
For example…..cinnamon oil is a very highly concentrated oil that is taken directly from cinnamon bark. (yes, the bark actually grows on trees, see a picture of a cinnamon tree in my post…Aha! Moments…)
Cinnamon oil is about four times as strong as cinnamon extract according to the Cook’s Thesaurus.
So four is the “key” to substitution. If you are using oil for the extract…divide the quantity by four.
If you are substituting cinnamon extract for the cinnamon oil…multiply by four.
Cinnamon extract is made by dissolving about 2 percent of cinnamon oil (or ground cinnamon or extract) into an alcohol solution….making it a weaker version of cinnamon oil….but stronger than ground cinnamon.
There is also good news in relation to cinnamon.
According to the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, people who consume several milligrams of cinnamon extract, cinnamon powder or cinnamon oil showed a reduced risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
Please check with your doctor…and always remember moderation is the key. (Please use caution if you are pregnant and considering cinnamon oil.)
Which is another reason I use red hots in my cinnamon candy!
Seriously, I wouldn’t want anyone to eat a bottle of ground cinnamon every day either….not that any of my dear readers would do such a thing.
BUT the author of this post might use more than a sprinkle on her oatmeal….if not warned. 🙂
Ok, just joking, but I truly love cinnamon.
AND as an FYI…the shelf life of ground cinnamon is about 6-12 months and cinnamon sticks about 2-3 years …if stored in a dry place with air tight cap.
Below is the printable hard candy recipe I gave “Little Mommie”
Is Cinnamon a spice in your pantry?
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I use Karo)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 package of red hots
- red food coloring (as desired)
- Stir sugar, water and red hots over low heat stirring to dissolve sugar and melt the red hots.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil (not stirring now) and let temperature on candy thermometer reach 290 degrees
- Pour out onto a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Just before the candy cools completely…break into pieces using a mallet or hammer or heavy skillet.
- If you like, sometimes a pizza cutter works to cut even squares.
- Personally, I like the irregular pieces best.
- You could substitute 2 teaspoon cinnamon extract or a few drops of cinnamon oil, (which is a very strong oil)...but I prefer to use red hots.
- You do not need the red food coloring if using red hots...unless you want to make the candy a dark red color.
- Always use a candy thermometer and be very careful of the hot syrup splatters.