If you've ever had a cinnamon roll in Pakistan, it's most likely been at a Cinnabon in a mall (the US-based franchise first opened in Karachi in 2012). This sweet, indulgent dessert satisfies Pakistanis' sweet tooth so much, it may as well have been invented here.

But while the Americans may have exported cinnamon roll to the world via its franchises, it originally comes from northern Europe and is found in countries such as Sweden, Finland and northern Germany.

While cinnamon rolls can be traced back to parts of Europe, its star ingredient - cinnamon - came from Sri Lanka, reportedly brought by the Romans to northern Europe. In fact, cinnamon is one of the oldest spices to be traded in the world. In ancient Egypt and Greece, the spice was so prized, it was considered a gift worthy of royalty. The Egyptians even used cinnamon in embalming mummies.

Native to the Subcontinent, cinnamon was, at one time, part of the colonial trade wars. The Portuguese and Dutch fought to control the cinnamon trade in Sri Lanka while the British established one of the world's largest cinnamon estates in Kerala, India.

The Nordic dessert of cinammon rolls is the perfect addition to a wintry afternoon tea

The British eventually also colonised Sri Lanka - in 1796 - completing their dominance in the trade of the prized spice. Today, Indonesia and China are the largest exporters of cinnamon, providing 70 percent of the world's supplies. Of course, this cinnamon is a related species to the Sri Lankan variety - Cinnamomum verum or 'true cinnamon'.

For most of us, cinnamon is associated with savoury dishes - biryani and pulao wouldn't be the same without it! But in the West, cinnamon is commonly found as an ingredient in cakes or sweet fare.

Cinnamon rolls, for example, are eaten in Scandinavia with coffee; the sweetness complementing the bitterness of the coffee. Dig out cinnamon from your spice rack and reflect on the spice's geopolitical history - while munching on some delicious rolls of course!

Cinnamon Rolls (Makes 14-15 rolls)

What can be better in the winter than curling up with a cup of masala chai and cinnamon rolls hot from the oven? I prefer them plain but, if you're hankering for something very sweet, drizzle that frosting.

The rolls can be made a day ahead but they're best made - and served - fresh. If you make them a day before, cover and wrap the dough tightly with a cloth or cling wrap when storing in the fridge. Before baking, take them out of the...

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