Livin’ in cin­na­mon

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - Terry Bursey

Around the hol­i­days, ev­ery­body needs a lit­tle bit of com­mon scents. That’s not a typo. Short­bread, gingerbread, rum and sug­arplum are a few po­etic ex­am­ples of generic yule­tide smells, but for my­self, there’s one scent that per­fo­rates all things Christ­mas along with the air of ev­ery room in my own house­hold if I can help it. That mirac­u­lous hol­i­day scent is of course cin­na­mon... and it makes me yawn just think­ing about it.

Why? Cer­tainly not be­cause I find the stuff bor­ing. There’s a calm­ing ef­fect from cin­na­mon that is so pro­found it’s been known to in­duce a need to nap within min­utes of ex­po­sure and I don’t know about you, but Christ­mas is al­ways a re­lax­ing time of year for this sooky cook.

In­deed, the his­tory of cin­na­mon re­veals that since an­cient times, this spice was prized so highly for its fra­grance that it was con­sid­ered a form of trea­sure more pre­cious than even frank­in­cense and myrrh.

The an­cient Egyp­tians loved cin­na­mon so much that they used it to em­balm their mum­mies in hopes that their loved ones would en­joy the won­der­ful scent in the next life and con­sid­ered the aro­matic in­ner bark to be holy.

In Chris­tian­ity, cin­na­mon is said to have been a prin­ci­ple in­gre­di­ent in the holy oils (a prac­tice most likely bor­rowed from the Egyp­tians) used to anoint the head of baby Je­sus and later the feet of the adult Christ.

So, if you think that cin­na­mon isn’t all that “Christ­masy” think again.

It’s got his­tor­i­cal roots in Ju­daism and Is­lam as well hav­ing mul­ti­ple sa­cred uses for holy days so we can pretty much say with a mea­sure of cer­tainty that a mea­sure of cin­na­mon might be­long in some hol­i­day recipes this year re­gard­less of your par­tic­u­lar brand of faith.

Per­son­ally, I’m not one to give it any spir­i­tual dis­tinc­tion but I still like to start my win­ter sol­stice off right by mak­ing: 3 ½ cups flour 1/2 tsp salt 2 cup sugar 1/3 cup brown sugar 5 tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 1/3 cups milk 4 large eggs 3 tsp vanilla 3 tbsp cin­na­mon 1/2 cup but­ter, melted 1 block of cream cheese Glaze: 3 cups pow­dered sugar 7 tbsp milk 2 ½ tsp vanilla

Direc­tions

Pre­heat oven to 350 F. Com­bine all dry in­gre­di­ents aside from 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 egg in a large bowl and make a well. Whip eggs and but­ter in a sep­a­rate bowl and add this to the well. Stir un­til mix­ture is smooth. Grease a bunt cake pan and add your mix­ture. Bake for roughly 30 min­utes or un­til an in­serted tooth­pick comes out clean. Re­move from pan and set aside. In an­other chilled bowl, com­bine cream cheese, egg and 1 cup of sugar and whip un­til smooth. Fill hole in bunt cake with cream cheese mix­ture and chill for 20 min­utes. Com­bine all listed glaze in­gre­di­ents and pour onto cake evenly. Use a wooden spoon han­dle to draw a spi­ral ra­di­at­ing from the cen­tre of the top of the cake out­wards and chill again for 20 min­utes. Cut and serve.

I might be preach­ing to the choir here. Cin­na­mon is such a uni­ver­sally loved in­gre­di­ent in so many hol­i­day treats that I might have only man­aged to bore you with a his­tory les­son on a bland (fig­u­ra­tively, at least) topic. In any case, I hope you give this cake a try and if it doesn’t go right, it’ll at least pro­vide a calm­ing aro­matic at­mos­phere to keep the fail rage away.

Happy Hol­i­days!

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