Sweet Talk: Make Your Own Conversation Hearts

diy conversation hearts

Remember Valentine’s Day when you were in grade school? The 50-to-a-box Valentine cards flew fast and furious and those tiny, chalky, heart-shaped candies called conversation hearts were doled out with a special message for the recipient emblazoned on each one. “KISS ME.” “BE MINE.” “TOO CUTE.” Occasionally heartbreaking when that cutie across the aisle hits you with the most painful of the pre-packaged hearts, “NO WAY.” Ouch. Each sweet nothing would be carefully contemplated before popping the holiday candy into your mouth. So much said in so few letters, they make a 140-character tweet seem like a novella.

A few years ago, NECCO (creators of the classic confection) updated their classic candy hearts with a few new phrases to bring the nearly 150-year-old candy into the 21st century, adding such phrases as “YOU ROCK,” “TOP CHEF” and “TEXT ME.” A great start, but we thought we could do better. This year we made our own conversation hearts. It turns out being clever in 10 letters or less was harder than we thought, but we had a grand time giving it a try.

Up to the challenge? Using the simple recipe below, you can create your own candy canvases on which to inscribe sweet nothings using food-safe markers. DIY bonus — using store-bought (or better still, homemade) extracts, the homemade version of this holiday favorite tastes downright delightful. Sweet talk, indeed.

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Step 1

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Conversation hearts are a fairly simple candy to make, but the Valentine treats come alive when the sweet nothings are personalized with the use of food-safe markers. DIY bonus: The homemade versions are a whole lot tastier than the store-bought variety when flavored using your favorite extracts.

Step 2

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Combine ¼ oz unflavored gelatin, 3 teaspoons light corn syrup and ½ cup boiling water in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir until completely dissolved.

Step 3

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Add 8 cups of powdered sugar one cup at a time. Beat using stand mixer’s paddle attachment between each cup until sugar is completely integrated. Dough will become thicker with each cup added.

Step 4

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Once all the powdered sugar has been added, continue to beat until the candy dough reaches a thick, fluffy consistency. Dough will be sticky, but when poked, the indentation will remain.

Step 5

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Turn dough onto a flat surface generously dusted with powdered sugar. Knead the dough by pressing it flat, folding in half and repeating for several minutes until pliant and easily handled.

Step 6

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Divide dough into as many pieces as you’d like colors and roll into balls. Poke an indentation into the center of each ball and add a few drops of flavored extract and food coloring to each, then knead each ball until color is even.

Step 7

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Roll each ball out to a thickness of about ¼”.

Step 8

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Using heart-shaped cookie cutters, stamp hearts from the dough. Although they can be made any size, a 1 ½”-1 ¾” candy is closest the the familiar candy size. We used both 1 ¾” and 2 ½” cutters to create our homemade hearts.

Step 9

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Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the candy on the tray and set aside in a cool location to dry. Depending on the size and thickness, candy should be ready to decorate in about 24 hours.

Step 10

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Using edible color food markers, write your custom Valentine message on each heart. Cute, heartfelt or even bawdy, your personal conversation hearts are sure to wow friends, classmates or that special someone. Recipe yields about 60 hearts. Happy Valentine’s Day! Luv U!

Materials

  • 1/4 oz unflavored gelatin
  • 3 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (plus 1 cup for dusting work surface)
  • Flavor extracts (vanilla, peppermint, etc)
  • Food coloring
  • Edible color food markers

Tools

  • Stand mixer
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutters
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking tray

 

About Mick Telkamp 

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A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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4 Responses

  1. Exceptional blog.Now this time we got for you candy heart message following crossword puzzle clueNot no material which pronounce 'Be excavate and approximating the minuscule chocolate compassion with the purpose of come roughly formerly each day designed for Day.Thanks.

  2. Mick Telkamp says:

    Hi, Rae Marie! Edible markers are fairly cheap and can be found at most baker's supply stores or online. I got a set of 5 colors on Amazon for about six bucks.

  3. Where do you find edible food markers?

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