This year, The Lakota Group is celebrating the season by offering one simple ingredient to inspire you: Cinnamon.  A classic and comforting element that sparks nostalgic memories of holidays past and inspires hope and spice in the new year.

We spend our days helping people identify tools and strategies to build better communities. Tag us with something you’re inspired to make and share with your community, whether that community is one or many. Below are a few of our favorites, if you’re looking for ideas. 

Happy holidays. 

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate 

Adapted from Elizabeth Chin’s recipe from Saveur.  

This spin on the classic hot cocoa is perfect for cozying up with loved ones this holiday season! 


  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 
  •  2 tbsp. sugar 
  •  1 tbsp. finely chopped milk chocolate or milk chocolate chips 
  •  Pinch of salt 
  •  Pinch of ground cinnamon 
  •  Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 
  •  1 cup whole milk 


  1. In a mug, add the cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  2. In a small pot, add the milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. 
  3. Remove and transfer the milk to the mug; stir until the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. 

Cinnamon Granola 

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s Granola in NYTimes Cooking. 

This easy to make granola will keep you snacking throughout the holiday season, sure to spice up any holiday event! 

Makes 8 cups 


  • 2 cups Rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup Oat bran 
  • 1/2 cup Coconut chips 
  • 3/4 cup Chopped nuts (almonds, pecans) 
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds (raw, not toasted) 
  • 2 Tbsp. Flax seeds (ground or whole) 
  • 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg 
  • 1.5 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt  
  • 1/3+ cup  Walnut oil 
  • 1/3 cup Mild honey (e.g., clover) 
  • 2 Tbsp Maple syrup 
  • 1.5 tsp Vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup Chopped dried fruit (e.g., mix of dates, apricots, cherries, cranberries). Optional: some finely chopped crystallized ginger 


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. 
  2. In a large bowl, toss together all the dry ingredients EXCEPT DRIED FRUIT. 
  3. Combine the oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla in a small measuring cup. Cover loosely and warm in microwave for 45 seconds. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with your hands until everything is evenly coated. 
  4. Spread the mixture on the sheet sheets in an even layer, not too thick, leaving a donut hole in the center (for even baking). Bake on the middle and lower racks for about 30-40 minutes, or until golden, rotating the baking pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  5. Transfer the baked granola back to the large bowl and mix in the chopped dried fruit, while the granola is still warm. Then, spread the granola back out onto the baking sheet(s) and let it stand for 20 minutes or so to dry out. Store in well-sealed jars, bags, or containers. 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread 

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated: The New Best Recipe cookbook. 

This yeast bread is ambitious, but delicious and great for a weekend project. There won’t be any leftovers, but if there are, it makes the best French toast you’ve ever had. 

Yield: One loaf, 9” x 5” 


  • 1/2 cup whole milk 
  • 4 Tbsp (half stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces 
  • 1 envelope (2.25 tsp) instant yeast 
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1.5 tsp salt 
  • 3.5 to 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 5 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • Milk for brushing 
  • (1/2 cup Raisins – optional)  
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tsp milk 


  1. For the dough: Heat the milk and butter in small saucepan until butter melts. Let cool until warm (about 110 degrees). 
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat in the sugar and eggs and mix at low speed to blend. Add the salt, lukewarm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour; mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook. Add 1.25 cups more flour and knead at medium-low speed, adding more flour sparingly if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours. After the rise, punch down the center of the dough once. Making sure not to fold the dough, turn it onto an unfloured work surface; let the dough rest about 10 minutes. 
  4. For the filling: Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″ loaf pan. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. 
  5. Press the dough neatly into an evenly shaped 8″x6″ rectangle. Lightly dust the top with flour and, with a short side of the dough facing you, roll the dough with a rolling pin into an evenly shaped 18″x8″ rectangle. Brush the dough liberally with the milk. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ boarder on the far side only. (Dot with raisins, if using.) Starting at the side closest to you, roll up the dough, pinching the dough gently with your fingertips to make sure it is tightly sealed. To keep the loaf from stretching beyond the 9″, push the ends in occasionally with your hands as you roll the dough. When you finish rolling, pinch the seam tightly to secure it. With the seam side facing up, push in the center of both ends. Firmly pinch the dough at either end together to seal the sides of the loaf. 
  6. Place the loaf seam-side down in the pan; press lightly to flatten. Cover the top of the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise. Let rise until the dough is 1″ above the top of the pan, about 1 to 1.5 hours. This dough rises very slowly. You can help it along by placing in a warm place, like near a radiator. Alternatively, you can place the loaf covered in refrigerator overnight, where it will continue to rise very slowly. Take it out in the morning and let rise for another two hours as it comes to room temperature.) As the dough nears the top of the pan, adjust an oven rack to center position and preheat to 350 degrees. (Don’t use convection setting, if your oven has one. It burns the top before the loaf is baked through.) 
  7. For the glaze: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Gently brush the top of the loaf with the egg mixture. 
  8. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 185 to 190 degrees, 30-35 minutes, but it can take as long as 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool to room temperature on its side on a wire rack, at least 45 minutes.