DIY Conversation Hearts: Making Them Yourself Is Easier Than You Think
Say goodbye to those awful boxed goodies. We have a recipe for conversation hearts packed with flavor (and you only need four ingredients!)
Let’s be honest: It’s no surprise that everyone secretly hates candy conversation hearts. Cute messages like “I love you,” “Be mine,” or “Text me” aside, those store-bought candies are hard, dry, and flavorless. But they’re still a fun, nostalgic Valentine’s Day staple, right? What to do?
Make your own! This easy, homemade recipe for the classic V-day treat by Lindsay Beck, pastry chef at Nosedive Gastropub in Greenville, South Carolina, will leave you drooling. Her secret? Kool-Aid! According to Beck, the powder adds a vibrant color and yummy taste to the candy that will have you scooping handfuls all day long.
Courtesy Table 301 Restaurant Group
But Kool-Aid mix isn’t the only fun ingredient you can use. “The dough is very forgiving, so be creative,” Beck says. “Extracts, zests, ground lavender, vanilla beans, and freeze-dried fruit all add great flavor.” (Not to mention, all those fresh, natural ingredients are way better than what you’ll find in store-bought candies.) If you’re partial to sour candy, tossing in a bit of citric acid will give the hearts a pucker-worthy savor.
Unlike the boxed conversation hearts you’re used to, creativity and originality are the name of the game with this recipe, Beck says. “You can write on them whatever you want, flavor them however you want, and color them whatever they want.” She suggests customizing your message using edible ink markers, or changing up the shape of the candy with different cookie cutters. Plus, kids can get in on the action, too. Turn a dreary winter day into a family-friendly affair by inviting the kiddos to help mix the ingredients, or even letting them mold their own shapes with the dough.
Courtesy Table 301 Restaurant Group
Eaten alone, these adorable treats taste amazing, but they can also be sprinkled onto cupcakes or cakes, or even used as V-day décor around the house. (Just keep them out of reach of pets and young children.) Follow the tasty recipe below, and, if you’re feeling extra-festive, get working on any of these cute Valentine’s Day crafts.
1 envelope (1⁄4 oz) unflavored gelatin
1⁄2 cup (4 oz) cold water
8 to 10 cups powdered sugar
1⁄4 tsp citric acid (optional)
1 packet Kool-Aid or other assorted flavorings and colors
- Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the water to bloom, let sit for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile fill a small saucepan with about 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer.
- After the 5 minutes has passed, place the mixing bowl over the pot of water and whisk gently until the gelatin has dissolved and the mixture is hot (not boiling).
- Remove from the heat and mix on slow speed with the paddle attachment.
- Add about 3 cups of the powdered sugar along with the salt and citric acid and mix until smooth.
- Continue adding powdered sugar until a stiff dough forms, likely not needing all the powdered sugar.
- Dump the contents onto a table and knead until the mixture is smooth, adding more powdered sugar as necessary to keep it from sticking.
- Divide the dough and color/flavor as desired.
- Roll each portion to 1⁄4″ thick and cut out small hearts or any other shape.
- Arrange pieces on a baking sheet without them touching and allow to rest out for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, flip the pieces over and dry another 24 hours before drawing on them with edible markers.
Makes about 5 cups of hearts, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Enjoy!