Grinding my own cinnamon?

I have a bunch of stick cinnamon that I really have no use for. On the other hand I enjoy adding powdered cinnamon to my hot cocoa. So an obvious solution presents itself- only it isn’t as easy as it sounds. I did the best I could with a coffee mug and the blunt end of a butter knife; which is to say after extraordinary effort I managed to get half a teaspoon of rather coarse powder. The thing is, this hardwon half-teaspoon was delicious, with lots of aromatic cinnamon oil you don’t get with the powdered stuff sold in the store. If only I had some way to grind the stick cinnamon. An old fashioned mortar and pestle? One of those heavy duty pepper grinders you see in upscale kitchen accessory stores?

Coffee grinder.

I have one grinder I use for coffee, and another one I use for spices.

The cheap blade based electric coffee grinders work well for grinding spices. I think the one I have cost $15. The results will not be as uniform and fine as the commercial cinnamon, but it does seem more flavorful. I sometimes finish the grinding in a mortar and pestle if I need it to be finer.

I do find that for nutmeg, the ideal way to grind is a microplane grater. Cinnamon is harder and is much more tedious to grate.

Use a hand-held micro grater.

bash it into pea sized bits and run it through a pepper grinder

Or if you’re making your cocoa from scratch with milk, you could avoid the whole debacle by just simmering the cinnamon sticks in the milk for a few minutes first.

If you just want to grind a little fresh to put in your cocoa, try a microplane grater (good for nutmeg too) or the finest holes on a box grater. Grinding lots of it is not worth it because stick cinnamon is not necessarily from the most fragrant part of the bark.

ETA: if you want some really fragrant cinnamon, go the the Peneys in Minneapolis and get the Vietnamese cinnamon. Or try the Ceylon cinnamon, true soft stick cinnamon that is very different than the cassia cinnamon we usually get here.

Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon is the shizzle. High in oil, very fragrant, and less is more.

I have to agree with those who have already said Penzeys(or their offshoot The Spice House) have some incredible cinnamon, and every other imaginable spice.

If you don’t want to order on line and you can’t get to one of the local spice boutiques, both McCormickand Spice Islands have cinnamon grinders in grocery stores.