A Cinnamon-sweet Winter Treat

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 10, 2007
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Now that the holidays are over, it’s time for most people to take a deep breath. Just imagine the life of Burton White, general manager and artistic director at the Hawaii Theatre! He was definitely one of the busiest folks in town, having produced the 10th and final production of “A Merry Christmas with Friends and Nabors,” and then only four days later opened “A Cazimero Christmas” for three performances at the theatre.

But Burton, a multi-talented individual whose strengths lie in everything from conceptualization to stage management, detailed planning to box office operations, cannot rest on his laurels. He’s already hard at work producing the next “Hana Hou” Hawaiian music concert at the theatre. It’s slated for Jan. 26 and themed “Hawaii’s Songbird: A Lena Machado Tribute.” The production features Holunape, and Burton’s creative genius to offer the audience an unforgettable evening of Hawaiian music.

I would like to dedicate this recipe to Burton, a busy guy on the go, who grabs a quick bite most frequently in Chinatown restaurants in the “neighborhood”!

Here is a comforting, old-fashioned crisp - just the right dessert for a cool winter evening. Try it with a scoop of low-fat chocolate or vanilla frozen yogurt drizzled with some chocolate syrup for a special treat.

Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest known spices. It is mentioned in ancient Chinese writings dating back to 2800 B.C., and in the Bible. There are about 100 different species of cinnamon trees, all with similar taste and aroma. Ceylon and Chinese cinnamon are the two leading commercial varieties.

Ceylon cinnamon is grown in tropical regions such as Sri Lanka, India, Brazil and the Caribbean, and the smooth, thin bark is very aromatic.

Chinese cinnamon grows in Southeast Asia, and is cultivated in Indonesia and other Asian countries. The flavor is less subtle, and the bark is thicker than the Ceylon cinnamon. It is less expensive, and this is the type sold mostly in North America.

Cinnamon is sold in sticks, ground powder and as an essential oil. It is used to flavor cakes, cookies, pies and desserts; cinnamon can also be a seasoning for soups, meats, sauces, pastas and marinades. In France it is used in mulled wines.

To store cinnamon, keep in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

Cinnamon is said to soothe digestive problems and diarrhea when added to tea or beverages, and contains potassium, calcium and iron.

For a soothing cinnamon tea: Pour boiling water over a piece of cinnamon bark and let steep for about 15 minutes.


* 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
* 1/3 cup unbleached flour
* 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
* 1/4 cup Smart Balance light margarine, cut into pieces
* 8 Gala or Delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
* 3/4 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and spices (add walnuts if desired). Mix in margarine until mixture is crumbly.

In large bowl, mix the apples, cranberries and raisins, and sprinkle sugar on top. Gently mix until sugar is incorporated into fruit mixture. Carefully place fruit mixture into prepared pan and crumble the oat mixture over the fruit.

Bake for about 49-50 minutes until topping is lightly browned.

Makes about eight servings.

Approximate Nutritional Information Per Serving (without nuts):

Calories: 220 Fat 4.5: grams Sodium: 66 milligrams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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