Use the classic cinnamon candies to spice up homemade Valentine’s Day treats.
By Jackie Alpers
In the early 1930s, the Ferrara Candy Company created the famous Red Hots cinnamon candies using the cold panned candy method. The inventors probably never imagined that the candies, which have become a Valentine’s Day staple, could be used in so many ways. All of these ideas utilize one 6-ounce theater box of the candies.
Red Hots melt perfectly into a smooth syrup that can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, including these candy-coated strawberries. Boil 1 box of Red Hots with 1 cup of water and ½ cup of sugar to 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). Use a candy thermometer to monitor. Carefully dip skewered strawberries into the candy. Let cool completely.
Melt Red Hots into 1 cup of water over medium heat. Pour over popped popcorn, then quickly stir in sprinkles. Let dry on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Warm apple cider over medium heat. Pour in Red Hots and stir until melted. Serve with candies and dried apple slices as garnish.
Knead a box of Red Hots into your favorite bread recipe right before baking. The candies add just enough sweetness to a classic white loaf or French bread.
Add a box of Red Hots to this easy chocolate fondue recipe. Serve with fruit and chunks of Red Hots bread for dipping.
Soak 1 box of Red Hots in 2 cups of your favorite vodka for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Strain out the candy, then refrigerate the vodka until ready to use. The infusion will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Fill a shaker with 1 cup ice, 2 ounces of your Red Hots vodka, and 2 ounces of coconut milk or cream. Set aside. Prepare a glass: For the rim, wet the edge of the glass with a little milk, then swirl it in a plate of crushed Red Hots mixed with sparkling sugar. Drop a tablespoon of Red Hots in the bottom of the glass. Shake the drink mixture vigorously and pour into the prepared glass. Enjoy!
Sprinkle Red Hots onto prepared cinnamon roll dough right before rolling, cut, then tuck more candy into the crevices.
Use Red Hots instead of pearl sugar in Liege Waffles.
Place Red Hots in a sealable plastic bag and smash with a soft mallet. Melt peppermint white chocolate discs (left) in a microwave for 60 seconds and dip homemade or store-bought biscotti in the melted chocolate.
Spread candy melts onto the edge of biscotti, then sprinkle with crushed Red Hots. Add heart-shaped sprinkles for extra romance.
Stir crushed Red Hots into buttercream frosting. Then use more Red Hots as cupcake decoration!