Updated September 18, 2017
teaspoon unflavored gelatin
teaspoon light corn syrup
lb powdered sugar and more for dusting
drops coconut extract (or another flavor of your choice)
Red, purple, yellow or your choice food colors
Combine the water, gelatin and corn syrup in a microwavable bowl and heat for about 15 seconds until gelatin has dissolved.
Pour into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and, on low speed, add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, until all of the powdered sugar is used. You will end up with a stiff dough that’s just a little sticky.
Lay parchment paper out and cover with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Place the dough on the parchment paper. Knead the dough with powdered sugar until the stickiness goes away.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each piece in an individual Ziplock bag so the dough won’t dry out.
Working with one section of the dough at a time, create a small hole in the center and add a few drops of coconut extract and a few drops of food coloring (whatever color you’re working with... red, purple, yellow, etc.) TIPS: Wear disposable plastic gloves to keep your hands clean, as you’ll be kneading the dough until the color is present and even throughout. Also, have enough powdered sugar on the parchment paper so you can keep dipping the dough in it when it gets too sticky. When you’re not using a dough, place it in a bag to keep moist.
Once all of the coloring and flavoring is done, roll out the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick.
Use a tiny heart cutter to create the shapes. Let them dry for 24 hours. Drying is an important step, so don't skip it. If they are moist, the dye will run when you write on them.
Once the hearts are dried, use a few drops of red food coloring and have plenty of toothpicks on hand. Dip a toothpick into the dye and then carefully write whatever phrase or words you want on the heart!
More About This Recipe
- Why make your own conversation hearts? Well, you can say exactly what you want to, in any language you choose!We're gearing up for the loveliest (pun intended) day of the year, Valentine's Day!As we all know, conversation hearts are a signature VDay candy and we were inspired by Diamonds for Dessert to recreate them with a personal touch.These sweet little candies are extra special because you can customize each heart by writing a charming, fun or sexy love message on them, or spell out a personal message using several of them together. Sending them to someone overseas? Spell out your words in another language!You can customize the flavoring too. I made them all coconut flavor and to me they tasted even better than the originals.SO much more personal than store-bought! Deliver all those customized sweethearts to your sweetheart. No Valentine card could be as personal – or as delicious!
Top Articles: Homemade Conversation Hearts
1. Place the corn syrup, gelatin, and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the gelatin is well-distributed. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, so the gelatin dissolves, and stir well.
2. Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Alternately, if you are using a hand mixer, pour the gelatin mixture into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and turn the mixer to low, mixing until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Once the sugar is mixed in, add another cup of sugar, again mixing on low until it liquefies. Continue to add the remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, pausing in between additions to allow the sugar to mix in, until the full two pounds of powdered sugar is added. Periodically, stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. The candy will progress from a thin, watery liquid to a very stiff dough.
4. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, dust a work surface (counter or large cutting board) with powdered sugar and scrape the candy out onto the work surface. The candy will be very sticky and stiff. Generously dust the top of the ball of candy with powdered sugar, and begin to knead the candy like bread dough: fold the ball of dough over onto itself, then use the heel of your hand to push it down. Give the candy a quarter-turn, and repeat the process, dusting it with more powdered sugar as often as necessary to prevent it from sticking to the board or your hands. Knead until the candy is satiny and not sticky.
5. Decide how many colors/flavors of conversation hearts you want to make, and divide the candy dough into that many portions. To flavor and color the candy, take one of the balls and flatten it into a palm-sized disc. Add a few drops of food coloring and flavoring extract to the center of the disc, and fold it over on itself. (It is a good idea to wear disposable plastic gloves during this step to keep your hands free of colors and odors.) Knead the dough ball, just as you did before, until the color is evenly dispersed throughout the candy, and all streaks have disappeared. Repeat this process with remaining candy balls and colors/flavors, until all of your candy is colored and flavored.
6. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out one of the candy balls to your desired thickness. Small store-bought conversation hearts tend to be fairly thick, generally over 1/4" thick. I find that this thickness works well for small hearts (under 1"), but it makes larger heart sizes very substantial and a little overwhelming. However, the thickness is entirely a matter of personal preference and does not affect the taste of the final candy.
7. Use heart-shaped cutters to cut hearts out of the rolled candy, and transfer the hearts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smaller hearts are more realistic, but larger hearts are easier to write messages on. Once you have cut out your hearts, you can re-roll the scraps to get more shapes out of the candy. Repeat with remaining candy balls.
8. Allow your hearts to air-dry for at least 24 hours before you write on them. This step is VERY important, because the extra moisture in the hearts will cause the ink to run if you do not let them dry properly.
9. After the hearts have dried for a day, use the food writing markers to write messages or draw designs on the hearts. Once all of your hearts are decorated, they are finished and ready to eat, or give as gifts. Store your conversation hearts in an airtight container at room temperature. While they technically last a very long time, their texture does get harder over time.
- 1/4 ounce gelatin
- 4 ounces Sprite
- 40 ounces powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For white: 1 to 2 drops wintergreen extract
- For yellow: 1/4 ounce freeze dried bananas, ground into a powder
- For pink: 1/4 ounce freeze dried strawberries or cherries, ground into a powder
- For green: 3 to 4 drops key lime extract
- For orange: 1/4 teaspoon orange extract plus 1/4 teaspoon orange flower water
- For purple: one drop clove oil
- Coordinated food colorings
Step 2: Add Flavoring and Coloring
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface dusted with powdered sugar and knead until smooth adding more powdered sugar if necessary.
Divide dough into as many portions as you would like colors/flavors.
Make a sort of bowl shape out of one of the pieces of dough. Pour in flavored extracts and add food coloring.
I made my candy hearts peppermint-vanilla (light pink and dark pink hearts) and vanilla bean (white hearts). It would be fun to try other flavorings like banana, orange, cherry, sour apple, etc.
Knead in the colors and flavors until well combined. Taste a piece of dough and add more extract if there is not enough. :)
Love a Project? Make Easy DIY Conversation Hearts for Valentine’s Day
Love them (if only for their looks), or hate them with a passion, conversation hearts are a classic symbol of Valentine&rsquos Day, as much as oysters, lobsters, or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate&mdashwhich candy hearts actually outsold the last two years running. There was a shortage of Sweethearts in 2019 (after parent company Necco closed down the year before), and in 2020, many of the candy hearts will be turning up blank. Luckily, it&rsquos surprisingly easy&mdashand fun&mdashto make DIY candy conversation hearts at home.
As with most relationships, a little patience is required and things will get messy, but you&rsquoll be rewarded with something that makes you smile.
Where Did Conversation Hearts Come From?
You&rsquove likely been aware of those tiny, brightly colored, message-bearing candies made of compressed chalk and corn syrup (to hazard a guess) for your whole life, but you might be surprised to learn just how long ago they were born. Necco, manufacturers of the eponymous wafers, started making Sweethearts in 1866, though they didn&rsquot take their classic miniature heart form until 1902. Their slogans changed with the times, but they remained a constant on the seasonal candy scene.
According to Business Journal, conversation hearts were the best-selling Valentine&rsquos Day candy in 2018, &ldquopulling in $1.8 billion in sales and taking the top spot for the second year in a row&rdquo&mdashand yet, now they are no more. Well, that&rsquos not quite true. You can get chalky, tooth-threatening, multicolored candy hearts with printed messages on them from other companies, and Spangler Candy Co. (which bought the now-defunct Necco), has stayed true to their promise to bring back the original Sweethearts in 2020&mdashalthough, as previously mentioned, they&rsquove run into some production problems this year.
But you don&rsquot need any of them anyway, because it&rsquos seriously easy to make your own!
Brachs Conversation Hearts, 2 bags for $4.85 at Walmart
If you don’t want to DIY, you still have options.
How Do You Make Your Own Candy Hearts?
Just follow our Easy DIY Conversation Heart Candy recipe. It does take time, a bit of special equipment, a lot of powered sugar, and some amount of patience, but no special skills (and no candy thermometer&mdashwhich is honestly the only reason I was willing to try it).