spicing things up

K.C. is becoming a foodie town. We have all sorts of awesome places to buy the things you need to make good food, and one of my favorites at the moment is Penzey's. They sell spices and such, and they have the good fortune (or really, the good fortune is ours) to be right between Overland Park's biweekly (albeit seasonal) Farmer's Market and one of our best local pie shops, The Upper Crust. 

[Note unrelated to Penzey's: the other location for The Upper Crust is at Pryde's in Westport, another shrine for K.C. foodies. Pryde's is packed with cookbooks, pots, pans, Fiestaware, and about every cooking or baking implement you could imagine. It's overwhelming at first, but the incredibly knowledgeable and friendly staff are so helpful and will even bring you tea when you're so amazed by all that you see that you lose the ability to speak. Go there if you can. Right now.]

A couple of Christmases ago, I got myself some special cinnamon from Penzey's. They have many varieties, both in sticks and ground. I tried the Vietnamese and the Ceylon, and I loved them both in their way. I made a trip there a couple of weeks ago just for cinnamon. And for pie, from The Upper Crust. But Penzey's, for the cinnamon. My boyfriend is a big fan of snickerdoodles, and I love putting cinnamon and sugar on my French toast, so we go through a fair amount. (By the way, they do sell cinnamon sugar, but I like to mix up my own.) 

Here were my choices (these are ground; the choices for sticks is a little different): Vietnamese, Indonesian, Ceylon, Chinese, or Penzey's blend. They have differing qualities, from sweetness to citrus to bitter to nutty. And I, not good at decisions in general, was having one heck of a time deciding. I could go with one I'd tried before. I could go with something new. I could go for the most expensive one. I could go for the cheapest. I was torn. And the store was closing. 

So I decided to trust their judgment and bought the Penzey's blend. They blend the four cinnamons into what is the most fragrant, most amazing, most beautiful cinnamon I have ever tasted. It is the epitome of cinnamon, and I will keep using it to find the ultimate snickerdoodles. Because sometimes you just need cookies. Rolled in cinnamon.