Is making your own conversation hearts a bit of a tedious project? Sure. Do they taste better than store-bought? Heck yes.
Conversation Heart Candies
Write a review
- 1/4 ounce plain powdered gelatin
- 4 ounces cool water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 40 ounces powdered sugar
- Flavored gelatin of assorted colors OR food coloring and bitters or edible oils
- Edible ink pen for decorating
Create the Dough
- Bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium pot. Meanwhile place the cool water in the work bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle in the gelatin.* Wait 5 minutes then whisk in the corn syrup and the salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water and stir to dissolve the gelatin.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and install on the mixer. Using the paddle attachment, slowly beat the powdered sugar into the gelatin mixture 1 cup at a time until you have a stiff dough the consistency of play-dough. You may not need all of the powdered sugar but you can use whatever is left over for rolling.
- Turn the dough out onto powdered sugar dusted counter and knead until smooth. Divide dough into 6 portions (about 8 ounces each) and keep wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to work.
Flavor the Dough
- The best method I've found to flavor conversation hearts is to use small amounts of flavored gelatin mix, but not the sugar-free stuff. Just make a well in the dough portion (see photo below), and place 2 teaspoons of the powdered gelatin and 1/2 teaspoon of water into the well. Then just fold the dough in and knead each 8-ounce portion of the dough. The dough may seem sticky or crumbly when you first add the gelatin, but keep kneading and it will smooth out. Feel free to taste and add more gelatin as needed to increase the flavor or color. And again, be sure to wrap up each portion as you work with it so that it doesn't dry out.
- You may also use traditional food coloring and more adult flavors by using flavored oils or aromatic bitters (yes, the ones from the bar). A good ratio to start with is 2 drops of food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon bitters or oils to start. I prefer to work in the flavors then the coloring.
Shaping the Hearts
- If you're in possession of a small heart shaped cookie cutter (easily purchased via interwebs), lightly sprinkle a sheet of plastic or parchment paper with powdered sugar then flatten out a portion of dough and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar to insure against sticking. Roll the dough into 3/8-inch-thickness and stamp out the hearts. Arrange on parchment-lined sheet pans to air dry for 48 hours, flipping after the first 24.
- If you're not in possession of tiny heart-shaped cookie cutters, use a small circle cutter or even an apple corer to cut out rounds, then shape the bottom of the heart into a point by pinching with the fingers and carve the cleft at the top with a channel knife or paring knife.
- Once dry use the edible ink pen (interwebs again) to adorn the hearts with your wit, wisdom, sentiments and sarcasm. Then simply store in an airtight container until you serve them up to the object of your obsession...I mean affection.
- * Dry gelatin must hydrate before it can dissolve. This is referred to as "blooming."
ALTON BROWN http://altonbrown.com/