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Recipe Mon Feb 08 2010
Necco conversation heart candies have been a part of Valentines Day since the late 19th century and can be seen as a reflection of the times. These sweethearts have evolved from the original saying "married in white, you have chosen right," to the 80's message "fax me" and now to the latest pop culture reference "tweet me."
These heart-shaped candies are super easy to make but truthfully the DIY version isn't exactly cheap. Bottles of extract are on the expensive side and finding the food coloring markers was an adventure in itself but the outcome is delicious! Of all the homemade holiday candies I've made so far (candy pumpkins and candy canes) these were by far the easiest and most-like the real thing!
1 packet (2 tsp.) unflavored gelatin
1/2 c. water
2 tsp. light corn syrup
2 lbs. powdered sugar + extra for kneading & dusting
your choice of flavor extracts
food coloring markers
You will also need heart shaped cutters and disposable gloves.
Stir gelatin, corn syrup, and water together until well-mixed. Put gelatin mixture into the microwave and heat for 30-45 seconds (until gelatin is dissolved). Pour the gelatin mixture into a large bowl and slowly beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. The dough will go from watery, to shiny and runny, and finally to dull and stiff. Once all the sugar is incorporated, turn the dough out onto the counter, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
Knead the dough gently and divide into sections - depending on how many different flavor/color combinations you want to make. Put on disposable gloves (unless you're OK with green and red hands) and add a few drops of coloring and flavor extract. Knead dough until the flavoring and coloring are fully incorporated. Taste a bit of the dough, add more flavoring if necessary.
Using a rolling pin, roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick but you can adjust the thickness to your personal taste.
Using the heart shaped cutter, cut into the dough and transfer hearts to wire racks to dry (I used a pizza pan and cake racks). As the candy dries, it will harden.
Using the food markers and write whatever message your heart desires. It's important to let the candy dry for several hours or overnight (depends on thickness) before writing on them. If you don't wait long enough, the moisture in the candy will cause the message to bleed.
Happy Valentine's Day!