Red Hot cinnamon candies make me nostalgic for kid life.
But the funny thing is, I don’t actually like eating them. Well, I don’t like eating them whole. I mostly like the flavor they leave behind…like a sugar cookie that was decorated with red hots….but then the candies fell off so there’s just a bit of red hot sugar left behind? That’s what I like. Crazy?
But I thought, duh. Why not combine the two?
It’s my new Valentine’s fave — crunchy little bits to give you a zing without overpowering the rest of the treat.
Okay, start with a basic buttercream frosting (if you’re in a hurry, store-bought vanilla will work but homemade is so yummy and easy)
makes enough for 24 cupcakes or a few dozen cookies
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 Tbl almond extract
dash of salt
6-7 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar (appx a 32 oz bag)
In a bowl, cream the butter for 10 seconds. Carefully beat in the milk and almond extract and salt for a few seconds. Making frosting is sort of a give-and-take till you get the right consistency, so start with 1/3 cup milk and add more as needed. Also, if 1 Tbl almond extract sounds too strong start with a teaspoon and see how it tastes. Personally, I love almond flavor more than vanilla in frosting. It’s just so tasty.
Now start adding the powdered sugar. Add 6 cups and beat with a mixer. Add more sugar as needed, till you have a thick yummy buttercream frosting.
Set the frosting aside and let’s crunch the Red Hots (you can purchase red hot cinnamon candies in most grocery stores for about $1/bag).
• Place the Red Hots in a large plastic bag (do not seal the end of the bag so the air can get out).
• Place a piece of paper under the bag and fold it over to the top of the bag and pound it with a mallet or hammer (the paper helps keep contain any mess)
• Keep hammering till all the large pieces are smashed.
You end up with a lovely pile like this.
NOTE: You should mix the crushed candy into the frosting within an hour or it starts to get clumpy and soft.
Now, if you’re decorating cookies you may not want an entire batch of red hot frosting. I recommend setting aside 2/3 of the frosting and only converting 1/3 of it to Red Hot. So in a separate bowl, spoon in a cup or two of frosting and dump about a 1/2 cup of crushed red hots, and mix. If you need more flavor add more red hots. Give-and-take.
Then decorate away!…and sample as you go.
Try it on Sugar Cookies, homemade cupcakes,
or my personal favorite….crackers and frosting (Ritz work so much better than grahams).
Whatever your method, it’s a lot of red hot love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!