Introduced in 1950, these spicy little cinnamon cylinders were devised in an inspired act of recycling that once again proves the old mantra, “good things come to those that don’t waste.” When the Just Born Candy Company of Bethlehem Pennsylvania found that a batch of their signature “Mike and Ikes” hadn’t turned out quite as well as they’d hoped, they made the best of the situation with a little red coloring and lot of cinnamon flavoring. They liked what they got, and “Hot Tamales,” the deviously spicy cousin of Mike and Ike, has been a Just Born staple ever since.
While bearing only a very tenuous resemblance to the steam-cooked corn flour wraps that give them their name, “Hot Tamales” are quite satisfying and quite adept at delivering the kind of “wave your hands and look frantically for a glass of milk” feel typically associated with popular Meso-American cuisine. What I’m trying to say is they’re hot little suckers, in every way deserving of your respect and time. Cheaper by far, than sinus headache medications and safer (gastronomically speaking) than most wing-nights, “Hot-Tamales,” recall the (perhaps wrongfully) archaic confectionery sensibility that suggests sweets can be both recreational and restorative. We at Candy.com say, here’s to harmless tonics and sweet serendipity!