These homemade conversation hearts make a great Valentine’s Day gift. They would be so cute packaged in parchment or cellophane bags, or simply placed into a jar with a lid. They taste just like the ones you buy in the store, thanks in part to the Sprite in the recipe that gives them a bit of acidity. This recipe produces a lot of candy hearts. The 1 1/2 inch cutter we used yielded 95 hearts. But if you have a smaller heart shaped cookie cutter, which is preferred, you will get a lot more hearts to share with your friends and family. We used a Wilton Food Writer to write ‘XO’ on a few of the hearts, but personally I prefer these homemade hearts without the writing.
While we didn’t flavor our conversation hearts, you could optionally use flavored extracts to give each color a distinct flavor. You’ll find some great flavoring suggestions over at Serious Eats.
You’ll want to read through this recipe in it’s entirety, before getting started. While they are very simple to make, you will need a couple of days to allow the hearts to dry completely.
To color the dough you’ll need to use food coloring. The dough will be divided into 4 portions. You’ll need approximately 3-4 drops of food coloring to color each batch: yellow, red, green, and a mixture of red and blue to get the lavender color. Your hands are going to get dirty, so I recommend a pair of disposable plastic gloves be worn for each color batch.
- 1 packet (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
- 4 ounces of Sprite
- 3 pounds powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- food coloring
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the gelatin and Sprite. Whisk to combine and let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place the bowl with your gelatin mixture over the hot water, and stir until melted.
- Return bowl to mixer and fit with a paddle attachment. Combine gelatin mixture with about 2 cups of powdered sugar, and mix until it forms a sauce like consistency. Add in the salt, and continue adding powdered sugar 2 cups at a time, until a dough has formed. You may not use all 3 pounds of the sugar. Reserve excess for rolling out the dough later. The finished candy dough should be thick, malleable, and not overly sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar. Using a knife, divide the dough into 4 portions. Place all the dough portions into zippered plastic bags.
- Wearing plastic gloves, or between two sheets of plastic wrap, knead a few drops of food coloring into each portion of the dough until you have achieved the pastel colors of pink, yellow, green, and lavender. Knead well until the color is fully incorporated into the dough.
- Have parchment lined cookie sheets ready. On a surface dusted lightly with powdered sugar, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a small heart shaped cutter to stamp out the candy pieces. Reroll the scraps and continue cutting, until you have used all the dough. Transfer hearts to parchment lined cookie sheets.
- Allow the cut-out hearts to air dry, uncovered, for 24 to 48 hours. Flip the hearts over about half way through the drying process. They should have a hard, crunchy texture.
- After the candies are completely dry, you may write on the with food writing markers.
- Store in an airtight container.
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