Cinnamon Bears: The candy that bites back

Cinnamon Bears: The candy that bites back

Hurts so good!

There is a small sub-set of candies which are as much an exercise in masochism as anything else. Cinnamon bears definitely fall into that category. Depending on the brand, they can vary from "pleasantly spicy" to "downright painful." 

When I was in high school, there was a brief fad for cinnamon oil. Kids would bring little vials of cinnamon oil to school, dab it on a toothpick, and suck on the toothpick during class. Then it turned into a "quien es mas macho" game, where you dared each other to ingest more and more of the stuff until someone finally cried "uncle."

Cinnamon bears bring those days vividly back to life. I eat one cinnamon bear, my eyes water and my gums sting, but even as I'm fishing the painful fragments of cinnamon bear out from where they are wedged up against my gums, I am reaching for another one right out of the bag. Cinnamon bears are the Tapatio hot sauce of desserts. You love it, even though it hurts you. (But it hurts so good!)
 
Cinnamon bears are a kind of gummy bear, I suppose, although they are not actually gummy. Even though they are shaped identically to most gummy bears, cinnamon bears typically resemble gumdrops more than gummy bears. They also tend to be slightly larger than gummy bears. And of course, they are always bright red in color. (If you dislike the taste of Red 40, you will probably want to avoid these. Even though the cinnamon flavor is overpowering, there is still a distinct aftertaste of Red 40.)
 
It seems like I often run across cinnamon bears which are individually packaged, with each bear in its own separate plastic wrapper. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind this. It certainly is wasteful of packaging, and creates a ton of plastic garbage after you eat them. Maybe it makes it easier to tuck one or two bears into a kid's lunch without making the whole lunch smell like cinnamon, but surely there are better, less wasteful ways to accomplish this.
 
Cinnamon bears are another example of a candy where there is no canonical brand behind them. This can make them difficult to find. I usually run into Brach's cinnamon bears, and in my experience the best place to find Brach's candy (and the like) is in the candy aisle at a drug store. I found this particular bag of Sweet's Quality Candies brand cinnamon bears at Walmart.