In any case, I decided to give in to the craving because cinnamon, it seems, has many health benefits. There is of course all this debate of true cinnamon vs Cassia. Having never tried true cinnamon (also called Ceylon cinnamon) before a few weeks ago, I had never given it much thought. But after a trip to my local health food store, I came back home with a small packet of true cinnamon and I was really surprised at how much different it was from the cinnamon I had always used.
|Ground Cassia on the left, true cinnamon on the right|
True cinnamon has a lighter color and is much more subtle in flavor than Cassia. Less spicy, I would say. I've found though that I have to use more of it in baked goods to get that expected cinnamon-y kick. I think true cinnamon would be better for sprinkling over oatmeal after cooking or in a recipe where a subdued spiciness is preferable. I'm thinking rice pudding or maybe warmed milk. I guess I am craving comfort!
What are you craving lately?
Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
Makes 18 small-ish muffins
I used true cinnamon in this recipe so I used 2 teaspoons of it. If you use Cassia and you're not a cinnamon fanatic, reduce it to 1 teaspoon. You can also adapt this recipe by incorporating dried cranberries instead of raisins, adding nuts or other seeds, even chocolate chips if you feel like it!
1 1/2 cups of regular or old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk*
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
3 tbsp of ground flax seeds
2 tsp of true cinnamon (or 1 to 2 tsp of Cassia cinnamon, to taste)
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of raisins
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
In a bowl, soak oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes. Stir in eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine flours, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into oat mixture just until moistened. Fold in raisins. Fill prepared muffin tin three-fourths full. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
* Sometimes, when I don't have buttermilk, I use 1/2 cup of milk mixed with 1 cup of low-fat sour cream or yogurt. Other times, when I don't have buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt, I mix in 1 tbsp of lemon juice with 1 1/2 cups of milk and let it rest for 5 minutes before adding it to the recipe.