When the house is filled with the sweet smell of cinnamon, it’s a sure sign the holidays have arrived. This signature flavor of the season can add warmth and nostalgia to everything from traditional baked goods to vegetable sides and cocktails.
“Everyone loves cinnamon in classic desserts like apple pie, but this spice is so versatile, it can be used in countless sweet and savory dishes,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “For the perfect seasonal side dish, you can toss carrots cooked in a slow cooker with a cinnamon-sugar glaze. Or, add cinnamon sticks to a festive drink, like holiday sangria.”
Caramel Apple Slab Pie
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
2 packages (14.1 ounces each) refrigerated pie crusts (4 crusts), divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
8 cups thinly sliced and peeled Honey Crisp apples (about 8 apples)
1 cup caramel topping, divided
Unroll pie crusts. Line bottom and sides of 13×9-inch glass baking dish with 2 pie crusts. Press seams of overlapping crusts in middle of baking dish together to seal.
Mix sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in large bowl. Add apples; toss to coat well. Spoon into pie crust. Drizzle with 3/4 cup caramel topping. Top with remaining 2 crusts. Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts together to seal. Cut small slits in top crust.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup caramel topping to serve.
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Sugar Glazed Carrots
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3-4 hours
2 pounds baby carrots
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Spray inside of 4-quart slow cooker with no stick cooking spray. Add carrots and melted butter; toss to coat. Cover.
Cook on high 3 to 4 hours or until tender.
Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt in small bowl until well blended. Toss cooked carrots with brown sugar mixture in slow cooker just before serving.
Tip: Keep cooked carrots in slow cooker when transporting to a party. Bring brown sugar mixture in small resealable plastic bag. For best results, toss carrots with brown sugar mixture just before serving.
Spiced Cranberry Sangria
Prep time: 10 minutes
16 McCormick Gourmet Whole Cloves
1 bottle (750 milliliters) sweet white wine, such as Moscato or Riesling
3 cups cranberry juice
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
2 McCormick Gourmet Cinnamon Sticks
1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
Cut orange into 8 wedges. Press 2 cloves into each wedge. Set aside.
Mix wine, cranberry juice, cranberries, liqueur, cinnamon sticks and vanilla in large pitcher until well blended. Add orange wedges.
Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve. Serve in ice-filled glasses, if desired.
Tip: If transporting Spiced Cranberry Sangria to a party, prepare recipe without adding the wine. Take the spiced cranberry juice in a clean, portable tightly covered beverage container leaving enough room for the wine. Then pour the bottle of wine into the container at the party. Serve and enjoy!
Finding the Best Cinnamon
Before you stock up this holiday season, make sure you’re buying the highest quality cinnamon to bring pure flavor to your dishes. Look for clump-free ground cinnamon that’s a deep brown, mahogany color. It should have a warm aroma and taste with a little “red hot” cinnamon heat.