Have you ever thought, “What is the craziest thing I could make from scratch, instead of easily buying it for less than $5”? If the answer is yes, then I have a couple things to share with you. The first is DIY candy hearts, and the second is homemade hostess cupcakes. I have a draft blog post written for the hostess cupcakes from so long ago, the cultural references are no longer valid. Everyone go re-watch a couple years of Mad Men and I will share the hostess cupcake post.
In the meantime, get to work on these candy hearts because Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and this is a multi-day thing.
There are quite a few recipes out there, but here is what I did – this is mostly adapted from this Food Network recipe.
1 1/4 -ounce packet unflavored gelatin powder
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1 -pound boxes confectioners’ sugar (about 8 cups), plus more for kneading
Assorted food coloring
Assorted extracts (such as peppermint, strawberry or almond) – I used just peppermint because that’s what I have in my house.*
Food decorating pens – I bought these.
*I may branch out if I make these again. Our grocery store remodel was a couple years ago, and I just now ran across the extract-secret-hiding-place.
Throughout this process, you want to keep the dough covered and work quickly enough that it doesn’t dry out. On the other hand, they won’t be totally dry for a couple days, so don’t stress too much.
Add the the gelatin, corn syrup, salt and the half cup of boiling water and whisk together. Do this in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, or in that same bowl with a regular whisk.
Once the gelatin is dissolved, switch to the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low – medium and add the vanilla and then slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. You can add a cup at a time, adding more as the prior cup gets incorporated.
Take the dough out of the mixer when it is smooth and tacky. If you plan to do 4 colors, separate it into 4 sections. I did white, purple, green, and pink. Roll the white into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Keep all sections of dough that you aren’t working on under plastic wrap. Add the food coloring to the other sections, as well as the extra flavor. All I did was add a little peppermint with the green food coloring. You can mix the color in the mixer, or by hand as you knead the dough. I did it by hand because my mixer doesn’t handle very small amounts of dough very well. I added a couple drops of color, and rolled the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, kind of folding it over itself a couple times.
As you get the color mixed in, start to roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Roll it between two pieces of parchment paper. You may need to add extra powdered sugar so the dough doesn’t stick to the paper. Cut the dough with cookie cutters and leave to dry on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.
Repeat for each color.
Leave the hearts to dry. I read that it takes 24 hours, but ours took a little longer.
Write your messages when the hearts are dry.
Don’t think they will look like the hearts in the box or the hearts on pinterest. Don’t be discouraged.