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I ended a recent dinner party with a humble-looking applesauce cake that turned out to be way more delicious than it had any right to be. When my friends quizzed me on the exact ingredients, I was forced to fess up and pass around the jar of cinnamon that was solely responsible for the cake's "wow" factor. I ended up dishing out tiny spoons so my friends could taste the cinnamon straight-up. I swear I don’t normally do this, but they had to understand that this cake was built on Burlap & Barrel’s Royal Cinnamon and Burlap & Barrel’s Royal Cinnamon alone.
Compared to any other ground cinnamon, this is powerful stuff. Harvested from an heirloom species (cinnamomum loureiroi) that’s rarely seen outside Vietnam and sun-dried, it smells like Big Red gum and tastes so sweet you’ll swear it’s spiked with sugar. Even when I use half the amount of what’s called for in a recipe (and yes, I’d recommend starting slowly as you gauge its intensity), my pies, snickerdoodles, morning buns, and yes, cakes, turn out brighter and more fragrant than any I’ve baked before. And on days when I’m not baking, it makes my regular banana smoothie or bowl of oatmeal taste like something special.
All of Burlap & Barrel’s spices are sourced directly from farms and farm cooperatives, which means better payoffs for producers and fresher, higher-quality spices for me. Because spices start to deteriorate the second they’re ground, a shorter supply-chain—one where the spice company isn’t trading through middlemen—means more potent spices (and less chance of adulteration). While I occasionally experiment with their harder-to-find seasonings, like wild Icelandic kelp and black lime, it’s the everyday spices—smoked paprika, cumin seeds, turmeric, and yes, cinnamon—that have made me realize just how musty my old stash had been. My dinners sing louder and clearer than ever before.
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Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit