If it smells good… hang it on the tree

>I really love cinnamon.  It annoys the heck out of everyone because I could sprinkle it on everything, even foods that don’t go with cinnamon.  But who wants to eat food that doesn’t go with cinnamon, anyway? I am convinced that, of all the aromatic components in cinnamon, there’s one that is totally addictive. When I first read Frank Herbert’s Dune, I was sure that the novel’s fictitious spice had to be cinnamon-ish.  Cinnamon-y.  Cinnamon-like? Whatever.  I can see myself with blue-in-blue eyes.

Among the four types of cinnamon I’ve had the pleasure to have known, my favorite is China Cassia. The purists and most Europeans might prefer “true” cinnamon, the Ceylon type, but I find it pales in comparison, being wimpy to the point that the flavor disappears.  Gimme that cassia bark, with a bite like a cinnamon red hot.

There are times I’m tempted to dust the dog with cinnamon.  Just about anything would improve the scent of my dog, but I am loathe to waste all that spicy goodness on the little brat.

On the rare days when I am not crocheting or writing about crochet or researching in order to write about crochet, or traveling to places to talk about crochet… you get the picture… I can be found in the kitchen baking stuff.  Yup. Stuff with cinnamon in it.  Don’t you just love the way the aroma of sweet, spicy baked goods coming out of the oven permeates the entire neighborhood?  Almost as good as the smell of fresh baked bread.  OMG.  Cinnamon buns.

Along with millions of other bakers, I am a Christmas cookie freak. The holidays can’t begin until I pull the first fragrant batch from the oven. I used to obsess over elaborately shaped and decorated ones, or multiple layer confections with unusual flavors.  But I noticed that nobody ever ate the ones that took hours to create. It never failed that the sweets that flew off the tray fastest were the easiest to make: 1) chocolate chip cookies, 2) brownies, and 3) my personal favorite, Snickerdoodles, a Pennsylvania Dutch cookie that is crisp on the outside but chewy inside, rolled in (what else?) cinnamon sugar with a touch of nutmeg. So I have stowed away all my fancy cookie cutter shapes, gingerbread molds, sculpting tools and rolling pins and just keep it simple.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I still use my Christmas cookie cutters for the most awesome holiday treat that you can’t eat.  Cinnamon ornaments.  The dough is equal volumes of ground cinnamon and apple sauce.  I am not joking.  Say, two cups of cinnamon and two cups of apple sauce. You squish the mixture around until it balls up and holds shape.  Let it rest for a few minutes.  Some recipes call for the addition of a bit of white school glue (Elmers) but I never go there, in case my dog ever gets a hold of one. Roll out the dough no thinner than 1/4″, cut into shapes, poke a hole near the top with a drinking straw, transfer them carefully to a baking sheet.  The ornaments need to dry out completely, which will happen naturally if left on the counter for a couple of days.  But I prefer the baking method, where you stick the trays in a slow (200 degrees F) oven for a few hours.  WOWSERS! Talk about making the whole house smell festive.

Once they are hard and dry, you can smooth off the odd wonky bits with a little light sanding if you want.  Thread a ribbon through the holes you so thoughtfully provided.  Hang and enjoy.  I have one suspended from the rear-view mirror of my car. And a dozen on my Christmas tree.  The scent is driving me mad and I wish I could bite one just to satisfy the cinnamon craving.  Is it too late tonight to bake some Snickerdoodles?

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10 thoughts on “If it smells good… hang it on the tree

  1. >I'm baking Cinnamon buns for my kids for breakfast right now! And Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie – my kids can't believe one can have a favorite without chocolate. Their tastes are maturing now – they will eventually understand the simple awesomeness of those cinnamon delights!! Or maybe they won't and there will be more for me!! This was just the post I needed to push me into the kitchen on this grey snow-in-waiting day on the Connecticut shore.

  2. >Snickerdoodles so easy to make and so yummy. I earned my Girl Scout cooking badge baking snickerdoodles.And those ornaments are the greatest. Middle Son made one when he was in Third Grade, yet it still comes out every year to hang pretty (and he just finished Grad School with a Master's in Mathematics!)I love coming to your blog here. Thanks for jangling memories….

  3. >You are right about snickerdoodles. They are the best cookie in the world. The cinnamon ornaments are great also. I add a packet of gelaten to the mix and that seems to add some strenght to them.Donna Marie

  4. >Skyline Chiii, which is a unique staple to the Cincinnati area, originally founded by a local Greek family, has the secret ingredient of… Cinnamon. This explains why we are all addicted to it and eat it way too often (usually over noodles with cheddar cheese mounded on top).

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