1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
15 hard candies (such as Jolly Ranchers or Life Savers)
Red chocolate for decoration
Heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (aluminum foil may be used, but parchment paper works better with these cookies).
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated. Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed.
Use 2 sized heart cutters.
Place a piece of dough between two large sheets of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes.
Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, about 1/2 inch apart. Using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies. Use a spoon to sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed-out centers of the cookies, filling to the edges. You can mix colors for a mottled effect.
Bake 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be melted and bubbling and the cookies just barely beginning to brown and firm to the touch. Allow cookies to cool on pans at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container.
Melt a little bit of red chocolate melts and use a small sized tip to decorate cookies.