Red Hot Buttercream Frosting

by Dana on February 11, 2013

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/2lb 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!

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle Lubbers February 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Nothing *strange* about it. Red Hots are one of my favorite flavors too, this is a must try. Oh if I could eat the screen… mmmmm.


2 Allison February 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Yum! Must try.


3 Haley @ EverNeverAgain February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

This is a great idea! I feel the same way about red hots. Extra points for giving my kids something to hammer : )


4 Spencer February 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I think you just saved tonight’s FHE…


5 Melanie February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I am the same way, I pick off the red hots and just delight in the “After flavor.” This looks yummy! Great idea to crumble them up into frosting! Thanks :)


6 Maria B February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Oh with the Ritz…now that looks tasty…sweet, salty…nom nom.


7 Annie February 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm

We make homemade red hot ice cream. It is so good!!!


8 Rachael February 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Looks delish! I just got a kitchenaid mixer for my birthday and I think this is the recipe I might have to make to “break it in!”


9 Kiersten February 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm

If I only had some red hots on hand! I’m exactly like that. I love decorating the cookies with red hots then taking them off and eating the cookies. I will definitely be making this! My uncle has a really yummy recipe for oatmeal cookies that call for cayenne pepper. The spicy and cinnamon combined remind me of red hots.


10 Robyn February 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Looks yummy AND gorgeous!


11 Crystalyn February 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I JUST took photos of some chocolate covered strawberries on that same tray! Gotta love Target haha! I actually bought that tray after I saw it on your blog.. :)


12 Britney February 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm

you can actually get flavoring (cinnamon) that makes it taste like red hots – no hammering required and you can adjust to your personal taste. It’s candy flavoring that you can find at Michaels. it’s awesome!


13 Lindsay February 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm

This is seriously SO smart. I loved eating sugar cookies growing up when the red hots had fallen off and just left the cinnamony dots. And the cookies look so pretty, too!


14 Miranda February 12, 2013 at 12:28 am

it’s after midnight and I’m seriously considering a trip to the store for red hots. looks amazing!


15 Kristie February 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

Yogurt covered pop rocks. That has to be my new favorite treat. We found them at a frozen yogurt place. Man are they good in your icecream. Or chocolate covered cinnamon bears.
I am going to have to try this out. I love the color it gives the frosting. Thanks for sharing!


16 Becky T February 12, 2013 at 5:49 am

Ohhh, yummy! I’m making the cupcakes tonight and will frost them tomorrow night, for work on Thursday. I’m the only woman in a man-dominated field (IT security) in my office so I’ll be a Hero Goddess! Thank you!


17 Katie80 February 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering at the thought of red hot icing. I think I need to make this very, very soon.


18 Amy C February 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

This looks absolutely delicious Dana! Not to mention the color is lovely. Thanks for the recipe. A definite must try. :)


19 iHeartQuilting February 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Looks yummy. I can’t eat the candy, the strength of the cinnamon makes my teeth hurt, but I do use them to make my canned spiced apples.


20 Nathalie @ Angelina's Dream Parties February 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for sharing! It looks and sounds delicious especially on Ritz…. yummm!!


21 Kerry February 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Looks delish. I don’t like them whole, either!


22 Lynet Witty February 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Dana! Look at you FINALLY putting a watermark on your image! I commend you! I kept wondering when you would do that. ANNND not to mention your photos looks stellar, AND your recipe is pure genius. Seriously woman, you’re ARE the super woman of today.


23 Sharon February 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Genius. Pure genius! I’m going to aim to make cupcakes with this frosting by Thursday. Thanks for the idea!! :)


24 Mo February 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I was so excited when I saw this post, I went to three stores today and could not find Redhots! I’m 39 weeks pregnant so I am now going a little crazy obsessing over this frosting :)


25 Lindsey Cooke February 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Just whipped this up to sandwich between some linzer cookies! Mmmmm… Thanks for the awesome idea.


26 Gretchen February 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I love this idea! I’m totally with you on loving the flavor redhots leave behind!


27 Delia February 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

This is making my mouth water. Seriously…so brilliant.


28 Sarah February 12, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Just so you know, that is a brilliant idea!


29 Chelsea February 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Looks so yummy! I’m trying out your sugar cookie and frosting recipes for our Valentine party tomorrow. Can I prep everything today? If so should I refrigerate the icing until tomorrow? Thanks!


30 Dana February 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm

sure. you can totally make the stuff ahead of time!


31 Anna Newell Jones February 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Oh yum, I love red hot’s and I’ve never seen frosting on crackers before- I’ll have to give that a try!

It was great getting to meet you at Alt! Happy Valentine’s Day- sending goodness your way! :) Anna


32 Jenny February 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

made this frosting for the “big” day… only used about a half teaspoon of almond extract and the office full of ladies, (and a few guys) absolutely loved them!! Thanks for sharing. A hit for sure.


33 jweed February 15, 2013 at 1:37 am

made the red hot frosting today. my new favorite indulgence. Thanks for the inspiration!


34 Claire February 15, 2013 at 3:20 am

Made these tonight! We did half red hots and half lemon heads, which were great when you got hunks, but not much flavor without them so we squeezed in half a lemon. We were really worried about the almond overpowering/confusing the taste of the lemon, which it did on its own (who doesn’t eat some with plain?) but it worked out perfectly when paired with this cookie recipe.


35 Katie80 February 17, 2013 at 1:27 am

I tried this! It was so delicious on Ritz crackers, just like you said. I had to make a few changes, which I talked about in a recent blog post. I’d love for you to read it if you’ve got a moment.


36 Spunkycutechicknits February 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I made my regular sugar cookies and my homemade frosting. I added the red hots to the frosting.…yummy. Thanks for the idea. Im addicted.


37 Erica Ricky Kennedy October 23, 2014 at 10:42 pm

I love your website and found you through a friend’s posting on facebook.


38 Angela Evans February 8, 2016 at 6:38 am

Can this be left out overnight or does it have to be refrigerated?


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