Cinnamon lends a spicy spike to any dish it touches, sweet or savory. Getting the cinnamon in the dish, however, isn't always as simple as tossing a pinch or two of ground cinnamon in the pot. Subtlety is key when using cinnamon, so make your own cinnamon sugar, syrup and extract to add a touch as needed.
Cinnamon-flavored simple syrup, which fragrances the entire baked good with cinnamon, works best when you substitute no more than half the sugar called for in a recipe with it. You must also reduce the amount of liquid by 1/4 when you substitute half the sugar. Simmer equal parts sugar and water, along with two or three halved cinnamon sticks, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 or 4 minutes. Let the cinnamon steep in the syrup until it reaches room temperature; then remove them.
Use homemade cinnamon extract in the same amount called for in the recipe. Cover 1/2 cup of crushed cinnamon sticks -- about eight or nine whole sticks -- with vodka in a glass jar. Steep the cinnamon for a couple of months, shaking the jar every day or two. Strain the cinnamon from the vodka and store the extract in a dark glass container in a cupboard.
Salt and Sugar
Cinnamon-scented salt adds a spicy touch to pumpkin soups, sweet-potato pies and any dish that can use a bit of savory-cinnamon flavor. Cinnamon-scented sugar does the same when sprinkled on baked goods and desserts. Mix 1 part crushed cinnamon sticks with 2 parts coarse sea salt or sugar in an airtight container. Store the cinnamon sticks in the sugar or salt indefinitely, shaking occasionally to mix; add more salt or sugar as needed.