Make Your Own Candy Conversation Hearts

There's a lot of chatter out there about conversation hearts -- cute plays on the iconic candy hearts stamped with messages, waiting in tiny boxes to win your heart and break your teeth. We've seen cookies, cuddlies, holiday lights, tee shirts, soap, even felted soap, all designed to look like candy conversation hearts.

But is it possible to make your own real candy hearts, just like the old standbys? After a successful batch of homemade Halloween candy corn, we decided it was time to answer the heart-felt question. 

And we are pleased (and frankly a little surprised) to tell you that it's not only possible, it's easy and fun. They even taste a little like the real thing.

Get the recipe and all the candy-coated details after the jump.

This recipe is adapted from

a recipe we found on About.com

2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
2 t light corn syrup
1 pkt gelatin
Five-pack of food coloring
Extracts: raspberry, mint, lemon, orange

Dissolve the gelatin, corn syrup and water in a bowl. Microwave 30 seconds and stir to dissolve. 

Put the dissolved mixture into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing with a wooden spoon. Pour more when the mixture is smooth, continue til almost all the sugar is incorporated. (The recipe we found calls for using a mixer, but we didn't find that necessary.)

Knead the mixture with your hands til you have firm dough. Add more sugar if necessary. Divide dough into five hunks. Knead some more.

Take a hunk of dough and poke your finger in the middle to make a place to pour color/flavor. Put two-three drops of food coloring and a small pour (to taste) of extract in, and knead til smooth and streak-less. (The recipe called for rubber gloves, but we found the dye washed off easily. Well, sort of easily.)

Repeat til you have five colored balls of dough. We used the following combos:

Pink and blue = raspberry
Green = mint

Yellow = lemon
Orange = orange

(But next time, we'll make the blue mint-flavored, too; that was our favorite. You could also try vanilla and almond extracts.) 

You don't even need a rolling pin -- just smash the dough on the counter with your fist, then punch with cookie cutters. You might want to dust the counter with powdered sugar, though we didn't need it. Our hearts were larger than the boxed version, to allow for writing space, but you can do any size you like. We found ours didn't come out perfect-looking, but we liked that -- reminds us of the real thing, which are often a little rough around the edges and sugar-dusty.

Once you have your tray(s) of hearts, it's very important to let them dry for at least 36 hours before writing on them, or the ink will run. 

Now it's time to write! We used the "FoodWriter" pen by Wilton, which we bought at ABC Baking in Phoenix. It was surprisingly easy to write on the hearts. And rather satisyfing.

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