Recipes for Red Hots (1929-1972)

Still hanging on to those spicy cinnamon hearts from Valentine's? Also known as Red Hots (brand name) or cinnamon imperials (generic name), cinnamon hearts hold a fond place in my childhood memory. As a child I often accompanied my mother on long car trips, so there was nearly always some sort of candy or snack close at hand. Around Valentine's Day, cinnamon hearts made an appearance, and I can still recall the addictive, spicy sting of their flavour on my tongue. This year, Mr. Man brought some home for me, but oddly I found that I couldn't quite tolerate the flavour as much as I could when I was younger. I wondered if I could find some strange historical recipe so that I could use them up rather than waste them. Amazingly, recipes using cinnamon candies date back to at least 1929, which was before the Red Hots brand was trademarked. These candies are almost always paired with apple(sauce) and/or Jell-O, and often seems to hold a special place on holiday tables, as a symbol of family heritage and tradition.

So, compiled for your convenience, some recipes using cinnamon heart candies:

Applesauce with red hots 

From: Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book (1963)

Apple Sundae

From: Reynolds Wrap advertisement (1972)

Imperial Salad/Cinnamon Apple Salad

From: The Parker Cook Book (1932), updated by Laura Gutschke

Cox's cinnamon apple salad called for an usual mix of ingredients that includes cottage cheese, walnuts and red cinnamon candies, famously known as Red Hots. (Another generic name for the candy is cinnamon imperials.) Surprisingly, they work well together.
The candy's intense cinnamon flavor reduces to a subtle hint when cooked in the sugar syrup in the following recipe.
The original instructions called for cooking cored apples whole in the red syrup and stuffing them with a mixture of cottage cheese and walnuts. I instead sliced the apples. I also eliminated the lettuce and mayonnaise that was included in the serving directions.
The apples also can be enjoyed without the cottage cheese.
1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup water
1 cup red cinnamon candies
4 crisp apples, sliced
Cottage cheese
Chopped walnuts
1. In skillet, cook sugar, water and cinnamon candies over medium-high heat to make a syrup. Stir often to blend well.
2. Add apple slices to the syrup mixture and reduce heat to medium. Cook until apples are tender but not broken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Gently stir occasionally.
3. Remove cooked apples from syrup and place slices skin side down on serving platter. Chill in refrigerator about one hour.
4. In a separate bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons walnuts into 1/2 cup cottage cheese for each serving.
5. Place 5-6 apple slices on a plate and top with serving of cottage cheese mixture.

Applesauce Salad

From: Recipe collection, undated

Cinnamon Candy Jell-O Salad

From: unknown (1961)
1 pkg. Cherry Jello
1/4 C. cinnamon candies (Red Hots)
1 C. hot water
2 C. applesauce
Dissolve candies in hot water and add Jello. Stir into applesauce and chill.

Cinnamon Apple Salad Dessert

From: The Evening Independent (1929)

Blushing Snowballs

From: Westinghouse recipe pamphlet (1950s)

Alphabet Pie 

From: 250 Superb Pies and Pastries, Culinary Arts Institute (1941)

Cinnamon Creme

From: Eugene Register-Guard (1959)

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.


  1. Those make the best cinnamon applesauce. I strongly encourage you to give it a try! My grandma would just heat some applesauce and mix them in until they melt. Let it cool & serve. It's super easy to make but soooo good. I use the natural sauce for mine & don't add any extra sugar. It turns out perfectly.

  2. Yeah, I wonder what's an old dish taste like. My grandma loves cooking but I don't know what recipes and how to make it perfectly.

  3. I wondered if I could find some strange historical recipe.
    meet and greet Luton