Last week, as we approached the Whole Foods on River Road, a friend and I were overwhelmed by an intoxicating smell. It was warm, sweet, and spicy - so unabashedly welcoming and autumnal that I grabbed my friend and yelled "What is that?" After sniffing around carefully stacked displays of pumpkins and apple cider and finding nothing (and probably scaring the store's many well-heeled patrons), we discovered the culprit: a cluster of cinnamon-soaked brooms sandwiched between some bales of hay. I gazed at them, transfixed. "Cinnamon brooms," I murmured, as if in the presence of something holy. O, mighty cinnamon! I am powerless in the face of your bosom-y bouquet. I immediately resolved to make better use of cinnamon in my cooking this fall. Simmering it in a pot of water makes the kitchen smell nice, but there's got to be a better way to put this all-star to work.
I am now faced with a first-world conundrum: how to best honor this potent spice? Pork noodle soup with cinnamon and anise? Gnocchi with cinnamon butter? Cinnamon-sugar popcorn? I made the gnocchi for some hungry boys on Monday night and it was a hit - surprisingly light, and vegan thanks to the substitution of Earth Balance. Any suggestions, cinnamon lovers?