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Course: Sweets
Keyword: Candy, Dairy-Free, Hacks, Homemade Conversation Heart Candies, Valentine's Day

Homemade Conversation Heart Candies

Alton Brown's Homemade Conversation Hearts Recipe
TOTAL TIME: 2 days
Sweet, iconic, and completely customizable Valentine's Day candies made from scratch. Is making your own conversation hearts a bit of a tedious project? Sure. Do they taste better than store-bought? Heck yes.
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. You may also use traditional food coloring and more adult flavors by using flavored oils or aromatic bitters (yes, the ones from the bar).
Both U.S. standard and metric measurements are listed, but for consistent results, go metric.
This recipe first appeared on altonbrown.com.
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  • 1/4 ounce plain powdered gelatin
  • 4 fluid ounces cool water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Flavored gelatin of assorted colors OR food coloring and bitters or edible oils
  • Edible ink pen for decorating

Specialized Hardware

Digital kitchen scale
small heart shaped cutters
Alton Brown's Homemade Conversation Hearts Recipe
TOTAL TIME: 2 days


  • 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 leftovers for rolling.
  • Turn the dough out onto a 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.
  • Make a well in a dough portion and place 2 teaspoons of the flavored powdered gelatin of your choice and 1/2 teaspoon of water into the well. Fold the dough in and knead. 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. Repeat with each 8-ounce portion. Be sure to wrap up each portion as you work with it so that it doesn't dry out.
  • If you're using food coloring and flavored oils or bitters, start with 2 drops of food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon oils or bitters. I prefer to work in the flavors then the coloring.
  • 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 ensure against sticking. Roll the dough out to a 3/8-inch sheet.
  • You can easily find a heart-shaped cookie cutter via interwebs, but if you don't have one in your possession, simply use a small circle cutter or even an apple corer to cut out rounds. 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.
  • Arrange the hearts on parchment-lined sheet pans to air-dry for 48 hours, flipping after the first 24.
  • 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.
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