Homemade Conversation Heart Candies

Homemade Conversation Heart Candies

Is making your own conversation hearts a bit of a tedious project? Sure. Do they taste better than store-bought? Heck yes.

Alton Brown's Homemade Conversation Hearts Recipe

Conversation Heart Candies
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  1. 1/4 ounce plain powdered gelatin
  2. 4 ounces cool water
  3. 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  4. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 40 ounces powdered sugar
  6. Flavored gelatin of assorted colors OR food coloring and bitters or edible oils
  7. Edible ink pen for decorating
Create the Dough
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. * Dry gelatin must hydrate before it can dissolve. This is referred to as "blooming."
ALTON BROWN https://altonbrown.com/
Alton Brown's Homemade Conversation Hearts Recipe

Alton Brown's Homemade Conversation Hearts Recipe


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  1. 2

    I would LOVE to make these with an after school group but I don’t have a lot of time to make the dough while at the program. How long will the dough remain workable? I would need to make the dough probably 5 or 6 hours before we cut it and actually make the hearts. Thanks!

    • 7

      I think he instructed to add it in to the pieces of dough simply so you can have a variety of colors/flavors like the store bought. Obviously if you add to the entire batch, you’ll only have 1 kind. If that’s your thing, then go ahead.

    • 9

      So you could probably replace the corn syrup with sugar. Corn syrup itself is an inverse sugar, so you wouldn’t have the problem of the sugar crystalizing on you. The final consistency would be off, but they should still work

    • 10

      I would use glucose, found in most candy shops or craft stores with a baking section. Corn syrup is usually used for glucose so why not the other way around?

  2. 11
    Tam Leitch

    This recipe makes me ridiculously happy as I am still mourning the loss of wintergreen flavored conversation hearts, and I have wintergreen oil in the pantry. And then I read to try them with bitters! OHMYGOODNESS!! I have a green bitters of my own recipe (lovage is the primary flavor) that would be magical as a heart! And the rhubarb vodka! My head may explode with the possibilities!

  3. 15

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  4. 16
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  5. 18

    Made these today. Not sure I can handle the 48 hour wait! The ones we’ve tried have been wonderful. I divided into 4 instead of 6 because I only bought four flavors of gelatin. I found that it got WAY too sticky (major club hands) if I added the full 1/2 tsp of water, so I just added a few drops and it worked fine. Be warned that you may not use all the powdered sugar for the dough but you’ll MORE than make up for it with the amount needed to roll out and cut..have more than 40 ounces on hand! I have plenty of flavored gelatin left over so I’m sure we will be making these again!

  6. 19
    Mike Parker

    These remind me a lot of Widdi Turner’s conversation heart cake pops. Love the idea of getting to leave my own… er… “inspirational” messages on them. Rock on, my friend!

  7. 20

    I am surprised you didn’t make some yellow “post-it ” versions ala Alton Brown. Hmmm…maybe for a different holiday, like Boss’s Day or Secretary’s Day …better yet: Alton Brown Day!

  8. 21

    Fun Tip: If you cannot find the edible markers near you at the grocery, the Crayola basic markers work just as well (I called to confirm). They are non toxic, water based, tested against allergens, etc .

  9. 22

    These could be cut into a many different shapes with different cutters, jello flavors and made into candies for assorted holidays! another WIN from Alton ( not a unitasker recipe!)

  10. 26
    Katie Willis

    My daughter is turning 5 in May. She wants an Alice in Wonderland party, so I’m going to make a bunch of these that say ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Tara is 5’. Year around fun!

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