Cinnamon Challenge, anybody? This social media craze may be relatively recent, but cinnamon itself is one of the oldest known spices in the world—it was imported from Egypt as early as 2000 BC and is mentioned in Greek texts beginning in 700 BC. Cinnamon was highly prized in the ancient world, and it was often given as a gift to kings or even as an offering to the gods. Below are some recipes from all around the globe that can help you enjoy the spice worthy of kings, gods, and ill-advised teens.
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 cinnamon sticks (about 3” each)
- 6 scallions, cut into 1½” pieces
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 1½ teaspoons anise seeds
- 1½ teaspoons Asian chili paste
- 7 cups water
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2½ pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into chunks
- ¾” thick 9 ounces fresh udon noodles (or 6 ounces dried)
- 1½ pounds bok choy, chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat the oil in a pot or over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cinnamon, scallions, garlic, ginger, anise seeds, and chili paste. Let these ingredients cook over the heat for about one minute, stirring frequently to keep the spices from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add water, broth, soy sauce, and vinegar. Bring to boil.
- Add the meat to the pot. Stir all ingredients together, maintaining the high heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer partially covered until the meat is tender, about 1½ hours. Check the soup periodically to make sure it doesn’t start boiling or stop simmering
- After the soup has been simmering for about an hour, cook the noodles so they will be ready to add to the rest of the soup. Bring another medium-sized pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- When the meat is tender, remove the cinnamon sticks. Add the bok choy to the soup and simmer until the stalks are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the noodles and let them warm through, making sure that all ingredients are evenly mixed together.
- Pour into bowls and garnish with cilantro.
Yield: 6–8 servings; Total time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Adapted from www.finecooking.com
Moroccan Chickpea Tajine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 (14.5-oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- ¼ cup dried currants
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 cups of water
- 4–8 slices of pita bread (optional)
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion is tender.
- Stir in chickpeas, carrots, currants, spices, honey, and water, making sure that all ingredients are well mixed. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide tajine among 4 bowls. Serve with pita bread to dip in the finished tajine, if desired.
- Yield: 4 serving; Total time: 45 minutes
Adapted from www.vegetariantimes.com
- 3 tablespoons sugar (for the topping)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (for the topping)
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon meant for the topping and set aside. This will be the topping for the cookies.
- To make the cookie dough, stir together the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together using either a mixer attachment or a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are evenly blended. If the dough is sticky or difficult to handle, let it chill, covered, in the fridge for about an hour, or until less sticky and easier to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is warming up, roll balls of dough about the size of a walnut. Next, roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar until dough is evenly coated. Place dough balls on an ungreased sheet pan about 2½” apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until dough is puffed up and surface is slightly cracked. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes to let the dough fully set before putting them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Yield: 35–40 cookies; Total time: 30–90 minutes
Adapted from www.foodnetwork.com
Ponche (Chilean Punch)
- 1½ quarts cranberry juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon orange peel
- Pour the cranberry juice, spices, and peels into a medium-sized pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low and let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cranberry juice has absorbed enough flavor from the spices and peels.
- Let the drink cool completely, then strain and discard the spices and peels.
- Poured the strained, cooled cranberry juice into glasses and serve.
Yield: 4 servings; Total time: 20 minutes
Adapted from www.food.com
Featured image by Raj Stevenson. CC