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Cinnamon twists are a variation on cinnamon rolls. A dough is prepared, to which cinnamon and sugar is added, and each dough strip is twisted and either fried or baked, depending on the recipe. The end result is a sweet, long stick of dough with swirls of cinnamon that resembles a brown-striped barber's pole. Some cinnamon twists are light and crunchy, such as the Mexican variation, while others are more dense and soft, such as the Danish variation. Either way, cinnamon twists can be eaten any time of the day, as a dessert, breakfast dish, or snack.
Most cinnamon twists start with a sweet dough that is rolled out on a hard surface, such as the kitchen counter. The dough is then topped with butter and a sugar-cinnamon mixture. Using a sharp knife, the sweet dough is then cut into individual strips that are usually about 1-inch (2.54 cm) wide by about 4-inches (10.16 cm) long. Each piece of dough is then twisted several times, and cooked in some manner, generally baked in the oven.
Several global cuisines have their own version of cinnamon twists. The Danish version is a slightly wide, soft, and baked cinnamon dessert. This treat is enjoyed warm, right out of the oven, or at room temperature. An Italian version is prepared with traditional pizza dough, brown sugar, and chopped, toasted pecans and is often served with a glaze of some sort. A version served at a popular Mexican restaurant is affectionately referred to as angel wings and consists of a light, crispy corn dough with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on it.
Norwegians call their cinnamon twists kanelvriding. Made with yeast, flour, and sour cream, kanelcriding is a soft, almost break-like cinnamon biscuit that is made with less sugar than some of its counterparts. The dough is rolled out, cut, twisted and folded over to form a short danish with a twist. Powdered sugar is sprinkled on after the dough is baked in the oven.
In America, one can often find a doughnut-like version of cinnamon twists. These treats are made with yeast and flour, which forms a self-rising dough that includes cinnamon and sugar. The dough is left to rise a few times, creating a dense dough that is twisted and fried. Usually topped with a white glaze, this sweet cinnamon twist is similar to the traditional cinnamon bun, only in a different form.