True cinnamon originates from the inner bark of tropical evergreen trees native to Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar. Its processing is labor intensive – the bark must be peeled away in thin layers by hand and dried naturally. Grating cinnamon, however, is not labor-intensive; a box grater renders the quills into manageable pieces, and it is then ground further using a spice grinder or a superfine plane grater. Hand-ground cinnamon is exponentially more potent and pungent than market-form ground cinnamon.
Grate the cinnamon sticks over a bowl using the fine blades of a box grater.
Assay the cinnamon’s texture to determine if it meets the standards for the preparation. A box grater usually produces a medium-fine texture.
Place the ground cinnamon in a spice grinder to create a finer granule. Pulse for two seconds, remove the cover and check the cinnamon’s fineness.
Continue pulsing in two second increments until desire texture is achieved.
- "The Professional Chef 8th Edition"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Food: Kitchen Dictionary: Cinnamon
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.