It's the first day of winter, according to the Meteorological Office, so what could be better than something spicy and comforting to warm up the cockles of our hearts? Originating in Sri Lanka, cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tropical asian tree Cinnamomum zeylanicum. It was highly prized by ancient cultures and was more treasured than gold, a gift fit for Kings and gods. It is thus not surprising that in Europe, it is heavily associated with Christmas and used to mull wine and cider, as well as in biscuits, cakes and puddings. It came to Britain via Arab spice traders in the early 15th century.
Cinnamon is one of my favourite spices, with its warm and sweet aromatic character that goes with so many different things. I use it in curries, on my porridge, sprinkled over hot chocolate and of course in baking. I recently posted these chocolate and cinnamon rolls which were super delicious but another cinnamon bake that stands out in my memory as being particularly good was this cinnamon chocolate chip cake. I do hope you will all join me in cooking up a storm of delicious chocolate and cinnamon delights during this merry month of December.