Red Hots

Small but spicy.

Red Hots are small hot cinnamon flavored candies that are sometimes called cinnamon imperials. They were first sold in 1932.

They were made by the Ferrara Candy Company using a method of candy-making called cold panning. Cold panning is done by slowly spinning layers onto a candy inside a pan. This traditional process is not used for many sweets these days. This method makes for these little candies’ unique crunchy and shiny texture. This zippy, red snack was once referred to as “cinnamon imperials,” and they are, in fact, a low-calorie and fat-free treat. These candies are one of the oldest in this category but they are some of the most enjoyable.

These candies were initially sold in small boxes that showed the sweets in a circle on the facing of the boxes with drawn-on flames and the logo amid the flames. Ferrara became a subsidiary of Ferrero SpA. Ferrero SpA recently purchased Nestle. This means that Red Hots are actually a part of the Nestle company these days.

Nestle owns almost all of the most traditional candies that are still sold today. They have been preserving the marketing appearance and flavor of other sweets for generations and Red Hots will no doubt be treated with the same respect now that it has been added to the Nestle stable.

The Ferrara family who started the Ferrara company were bakers originally. When they came to the US from Italy, they actually opened a bakery first. Candy sales started to outstrip pastry sales and the family realized that there was an opportunity to make the most of this change in the market. Panned candies were much easier to make and much less costly than things like candy bars. This was a clever ploy by the family at this juncture before refrigeration became commonplace. Candy bars would melt in the summer, which meant that any candy sales that involved chocolate would not be viable during the summer months.

Today, Red Hots fans consume the candy in a myriad of ways. While it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy the candy in its natural state, serious spice lovers don’t stop there! Instead, they put their Red Hots into applesauce and Jell-O! This gives both the applesauce and the Jell-O a spicy cinnamon flavor. One can also decorate cakes and gingerbread houses with these attractive little jewels. The possibilities are endless!

Further Reading


Ferrara Candy Shop
Old Time Candy
Candy Warehouse
Snack History
Candy Favorites

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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