Not all great cookies are soft and chewy. Valentine Cinnamon Heart Cookies are thin and crispy and packed full of everyone’s favourite cinnamon candy!
I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with cinnamon hearts. When I was younger, I didn’t like them much at all. I thought they were too spicy and hot. I guess over the years, my mouth has become more accustomed to hot and spicy flavours, because in my adult years, I quite enjoy a cinnamon heart or two every once in a while.
I’ve always known these little confections to be called cinnamon hearts, but it seems that most people know them as red hots. My memory is not what it used to be, now that I’m at the ripe, old age of 43, but I thought red hots were the jellybean type candy that tasted like cinnamon. I can’t keep it all straight anymore, Dear Reader!
But, according to Old Time Candy.com, they’re both the same thing! The site states that, “Red Hots are small hot cinnamon flavored candies that are sometimes called cinnamon imperials.” I stand corrected, I guess.
Well, the point of all of this is that no matter what you call them, cinnamon hearts or otherwise, they are a hard candy that has an intense cinnamon flavour. They offer a great deal of cinnamon flavour to these Valentine Cinnamon Heart Cookies – no ground cinnamon or cinnamon extract needed!
Now, these might look like any old cookie, but I think they’re rather special. You see, unlike most cookies, these are firm – hard – crispy! I love a soft and chewy cookie just as much as the next guy, but in some cases, a soft and chewy cookie will just not do!
I think it would be rather unfair to the hard cinnamon heart to surround it with a soft and chewy cookie dough. It might also be a little risky to the one eating the cookie! Imagine if you bit into the cookie and it was all soft and chewy and then you bit down hard on a cinnamon heart! Hello dentist; goodbye money!
Okay, let’s talk about crushing these cinnamon hearts. Let me tell you, Dear Reader, these things are not easy to crush. I was so tempted to use my food processor to crush them, but the last time I crushed hard candy in a food processor – even on pulse! – the candy became pulverized too quickly. I didn’t want cinnamon heart candy dust for these cookies.
I tried the candy in a Ziploc bag approach. I pushed the air out of the bag and sealed it. I then laid the bag flat on a cutting board and proceeded to beat the hell out of it with a wooden rolling pin. Sounds like a great way to get your aggression out, doesn’t it? Well, Dear Reader, it ain’t!
These candy will easily puncture a Ziploc bag and before you know it, there’s little shards of cinnamon red hearts all over your counter top and the floor. After so much frustration, John.e suggested I use our pestle and mortar. It worked ridiculously well! I was able to add a few candies at a time and tap them individually. I ended up with cinnamon heart candy halves and quarters rather than cinnamon heart candy dust. Score!
Maybe your food processor is better than mine. Or, maybe you use a better quality Ziploc bag. Who knows!? By whatever means, just break up the cinnamon hearts and try your best not to crush them into too many small pieces. When all was said and done, I had a quarter cup full and I tossed it into the cookie dough – candy dust and all!
Trust me, Dear Reader, once all is said and done, you’re going to love this cookie. It’s a crispy cookie with bites of cinnamon heart candy scattered throughout. The cookie is a light golden colour with bright pops of red. All in all, Valentine Cinnamon Heart Cookies are a valentine’s treat you might want to keep to yourself and not share with that special valentine. (Maybe!?)
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Valentine Cinnamon Heart Cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup cinnamon hearts candy, roughly crushed (see post for details)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Using a hand-held mixer, blend together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix into the butter mixture.
- Add the flour and baking soda. Mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Stir in the cinnamon hearts.
- Use a small cookie scoop, about 1 tablespoon in size, to scoop the cookie batter into even portions. Roll into balls and place on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack to completely cool.
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