Monday, July 18, 2011

Red Hot Cinnamon Imperial Shortbread

Mmmm...Red Hots. Their spicy cinnamon flavor takes me right back to my childhood, sneaking handfuls of the tiny heart-shaped treats at my Grandma's, buying 5-cent Atomic Fireballs from the gas station down the road, or munching on chewy Hot Tamales at the movie theater. These candies always appeared around Valentine's Day, and this year was no exception.

I bought a bag with the idea of doing something interesting with them - and then we promptly moved across the country and I forgot all about them, until now. You see, my Grandma recently had a bad fall and she's now in the hospital with a broken hip. In addition to sending up lots of prayers, I also thought I'd send her some cookies, and an old-fashioned sweet packed with nostalgic cinnamon goodness seemed like just the thing to send.

This cookie is technically a shortbread (lots of butter, no leavening, no eggs) but its texture is almost candy like - probably because of all the little melted cinnamon hearts. The key to the flavor is making your own 'Red Hot Cinnamon Powdered Sugar,' which isn't nearly as complicated or time-consuming as it may sound. For this recipe, just blitz 2/3 cup granulated sugar with a tablespoon or two of Red Hots in a blender until fine and powdery. You can use the leftovers to dust the cookies or save for topping hot chocolate, brownies, ice cream, or oatmeal. Delicious!

Red Hot Cinnamon Imperial Shortbread
(makes one 8x8-inch pan)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup Cinnamon Powdered Sugar (see instructions above)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/3 cup Red Hot or Cinnamon Imperial candies
Powdered sugar for dusting (Red Hot cinnamon or regular)

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamed and fluffy. Add vanilla. Gradually incorporate flour and salt until well mixed. Mixture will be crumbly, but if dough looks very dry add water (by half-teaspoonfuls) until dough comes together. Stir in cinnamon candies. Chill dough for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 °F. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. When dough has cooled, press into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until top is dry and edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Using a sharp knife, score warm shortbread, cutting it into small squares. Set aside to cool completely. When cooled, separate squares and dust with remaining Cinnamon Powdered Sugar, taking care to coat all sides. The squares will be rich and buttery - best served with a glass of milk or mug of tea!

This post is linked at:
Delightfully Dowling: Mangia Mondays
The Sweet Details: Savory Sunday
Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms: Melt in Your Mouth Monday
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays
Blessed with Grace: Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Lady Behind the Curtain: Cast Party Wednesday
Something Swanky: Sweet Treats Thursday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday
A Well-Seasoned Life: Sweet Indulgences Sunday


  1. Making your own red hots! That's dangerous, I love those things! I especially love them in cookies. It gives them that gooey crunchy texture. Positive thoughts for your Grandma!

  2. These look yummy! I would love it if you came by and shared some of your recipes with us at Cast Party Wednesday tomorrow.
    I hope to see you there!

  3. So creative! Yummy! Thanks for linking up :)

    {Sweet Treats Thursday}

  4. Sorry to hear about your Grandma. Sending prayers.
    I noticed some of your comments on other blogs and thought we might like each others' blogs, so I'm stopping by. This recipe sounds so good. I love red hots and shortbread cookies. How wonderful that you thought of combining the two, and they look so beautiful. You're warmly invited to link your recipes to my Monday and Thursday recipe linky parties. :-)

  5. Last fall, I had the best dessert - atomic fireball cheesecake. I had totally forgotten about it until I read this post!! :) These sound fabulous...I bookmarked it for next Valentine's Day! Thanks so much for sharing - I'm your newest follower...look forward to reading more of your recipes! Hope your grandmother starts to feeling better soon! Take care!
    Jade @ Sweet Baby {Mason} James

  6. These are beautiful. Love them. I'd like to invite you to share your recipe on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  7. Kim - thanks, I'll stop by and link them up!

    Jade - Atomic Fireball Cheesecake sounds amazing!!! Thanks for your sweet comment. Since you're now a follower, I wanted to let you know about the giveaway I'm running. If you visit the giveaway post and leave a comment, you'll automatically get two entries! Good luck!

  8. I love red hots. I am so going to have to try this.
    New follower from Sweets for Saturday. Hope you follow back.

  9. Rachel, what a beautiful shortbread that is just packed with flavor. I can't wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon. Have a great week!
    Miz Helen

  10. It looks so lovely...great post. Thanks for sharing:)
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  11. If you dont like the candy but you do like the taste, then just omit the redhots and substitute it for a mixture of ground cinnamon and cayenne.
    Play around with the pepper until its to your hotness or lightness but it works good and its healthy.