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Conversation Hearts · GF (about 4 cups )

Any given handful of conversation Hearts will read like a series of drunken texts from your ex on Valentine’s Day. SUP BABE. CALL ME. LUV U. L8R.

Yeah. Let’s just skip the conversation part. Not to mention writing tiny messages on little candy hearts is insanely difficult. If you really feel the need for your candy to communicate, try writing a single letter on each with a food decorating pen and playing a Valentine’s Day themed game of scrabble.

pile of conversation hearts sweethearts

The “dough” for these candies is really forgiving, so don’t hesitate to let your kids get involved with the kneading. If you like, skip rolling and cutting the candies and let the kids mush and mold it into shapes like they would with Play-Doh. Just remember, big shapes won’t dry out very well, so keep ‘em on the smaller side.

Conversation Hearts, about 4 cups

1/4 ounce gelatin
4 ounces Sprite
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
40 ounces powdered sugar

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

Assorted food colorings

Bloom the gelatin with the Sprite in the bottom of a mixing bowl. After 5 minutes, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the gelatin, or microwave in short 5 second bursts until melted.

Use a hand or stand mixer and mix in the salt along with the powdered sugar, a cup or two at a time. Keep adding the powdered sugar until you have stiff fondant-like dough (very much the texture of Play-Doh). You may not need all of the powdered sugar.

Turn the dough out onto the counter top and knead until smooth.

Divide into as many portions as you would like colors/flavors and keep any dough you’re not currently using wrapped in plastic to prevent it from crusting over.

Knead in the colors and flavors until homogenous. Taste a pinch of the dough and add more extract or powdered fruit to suit your taste.

Roll the dough to about 3/8” thickness and cut out shapes. Alternately you can mold the dough into whatever shapes you like, just keep them on the small side so they can dry through and through.

Arrange the candies on a parchment lined sheet pan and air dry for 48 hours. After 24 hours, flip all the hearts over so they can dry on both sides. Compared to candies flavored with extracts, the ones made with freeze dried fruit won’t dry out quite as hard and will retain a slightly softer texture (they will still be crisp, just not as rock-hard as classic Conversation Hearts).

Fork!

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Any questions?

Feb 12, 2012 ·  1:06 PM

YES! You’re the coolest! Does the Sprite help with the drying out process? I have some leftover red wine, and I’m wondering if the alcohol can play that role. Merlot conversation hearts? Please tell me I can!

 · Michelle · 

Feb 12, 2012 ·  1:21 PM

@Michelle, you may absolutely march forward with your merlot hearts!! The Sprite just gives a faint acidity to the hearts, a splash of lemon juice would be too much and citric acid (what’s in the real hearts) is hard for most people to get. So Sprite’s just there to give a neutral acidity that’s just as nice with mint as it is with banana. The merlot hearts will work dandy, just pick flavors that will work with the flavor rather than against it (berries sound good!).

Stella

Feb 12, 2012 ·  9:26 PM

How cute and fun! Thanks for sharing!

 · Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen · www.pandpkitchen.com

Feb 12, 2012 ·  9:59 PM

These are so cool! I love making candies and will totally give this a try!

 · Vicki @ WITK · wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com

Feb 13, 2012 · 12:13 AM

These look like a lot of fun-I just wish I had seen this post a little sooner. Too late for Valentine’s Day but I bet this recipe would make for some fun candy easter eggs!

Thanks!

 · @twEricaB · 

Feb 13, 2012 · 12:39 AM

This is genius! I love how easy it is!

Oh, and I voted for you! I’d love to see a girl from the South beat all those big chefs in big cities!

 · DessertForTwo · www.dessertfortwo.com

Feb 13, 2012 ·  1:13 AM

This is awesome! I have to try this for Valentine’s Day

 · Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen · mysanfranciscokitchen.com

Feb 13, 2012 · 10:50 AM

@Chandra, thank you!

@Vicki, take pictures for me!

@twEricaB, ahh, I know what you mean. Wish I could have launched these sooner too.

@DessertForTwo, thanks for voting, that means a ton to me!

@Kristi, let me know how they turn out! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stella

Feb 13, 2012 · 11:16 AM

great!! I voted and hope you can reach the prize

 · Van Anh · fuchsia511.wordpress.com

Feb 13, 2012 ·  3:36 PM

For a vegetarian version I’ll try them with agar agar, in place of the gelatin (1:1 ratio), and see how that turns out. They’re so cute!

 · Rucy · 

Feb 13, 2012 ·  4:17 PM

I’m still going to make the merlot hearts, but I actually do have citric acid in my pantry! I’d love to know how much to use for a non-Sprite, non-merlot version Thank you!

 · Michelle · 

Feb 13, 2012 ·  7:39 PM

@Van, I appreciate it, thank you!

@Rucy, ah! Let me know how the turn out! I just bought a package of agar to try and test drive a vegan version too; you may beat me to it, though it’s on my agenda for this week.

@Michelle, replace the Sprite with water and use 1/4 teaspoon citric acid. Voila! What a well stocked pantry you have!

Stella

Feb 13, 2012 ·  8:05 PM

They do read like drunken messages, don’t they? Hilarious! And the hearts look amazing, and probably taste a lot better than the commercial ones too.

 · Cucina49 · www.cucina49.blogspot.com

Feb 13, 2012 · 10:36 PM

These hearts look amazing!!!

 · Krissy's Creations · www.krissys-creations.com

Feb 14, 2012 · 10:02 AM

@Cucina49, I wouldn’t say a lot better; they taste just like the ones I remember. But the definitely taste better than the ones on the market today, which have a scary chemical flavor.

@Krissy, thanks dear, happy Valentine’s Day!

Stella

Feb 14, 2012 ·  7:48 PM

Very cool. Unfortunately, one of my daughters does not do well w/ sugar. Hoping to find a way to make these kinds of things with maple syrup/honey/maple sugar. Any thoughts?

Congrats on the nom! Voted for you.

 · Dawn (KitchenTravels) · www.KitchenTravels.com

Feb 15, 2012 ·  6:15 PM

@Dawn, thanks so much! I don’t know that I have any alternatives for you, this recipe relies on sugar for structure in a way the invert sugars just can’t match. I will keep my eye out for some clever alternatives!

Stella

Apr 25, 2012 · 11:54 AM

do you have a good recipe for fondant?

 · skydel · 

Apr 25, 2012 ·  5:12 PM

@skydel, I don’t, I’m afraid. I never use it, so never needed to work up a reliable recipe.

Stella

May 21, 2012 · 12:08 PM

Adorable hearts! What a cute project to get the kids active in the kitchen. They will have a lot of fun with this.

 · Trader Joes Recipes · traderjoesrecipes.net

May 21, 2012 · 10:50 PM

@TJR, thank you.

Stella

Oct 18, 2012 · 12:49 PM

I’d love to make these for my sisters baby shower this weekend. What did you use / what are my options for adding letters to the candies? Also, I thought about simmering the Sprite with a sliced beet to infuse the red color instead of using food coloring. Will that screw it up?

 · bbonaroo · 

Oct 19, 2012 ·  9:46 AM

Hi bbonaroo! I think your beet idea is fabulous, it would give a ton of natural color and not a whole lot of flavor, so it’s perfect. You can buy edible food pens at crafty stores like Michaels. Just ask someone there to direct you to them!

Stella

Jan 23, 2013 ·  3:28 PM

I’m so excited to give these a try this year! Any advise on where I should get a super small heart cutter?

 · Shannon · 

Jan 24, 2013 ·  8:24 AM

Hi Shannon! I got mine in a little set of “playing card” cutters, so it had tiny aces and spades too. I think places like Michael’s would sell them, but Amazon or Etsy may be your best bet so you don’t have to run around town finding one.

Stella

Feb 07, 2013 ·  3:27 PM

Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about favourite foods from childhood. I do hope you link this lovely one in. This is the <a href=“http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/Childhood-favourite-foods-recipe-links-Food-Friday.html#”> link </a>. Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

 · Carole  · 

Feb 15, 2013 ·  9:06 PM

@Dawn (Kitchen Travels) – I know it’s a year later, but here’s a solution for you: I’ve found that coconut sugar, whirled in the blender or food processor with one Tbs cornstarch for every cup of coconut sugar, makes an excellent powdered sugar. If your daughter can handle maple and honey, she can probably handle coconut ok too. The only downside is, any candy made with coconut sugar will have a light brown tint to it…

 · JJTraw · 

Feb 16, 2013 · 10:06 AM

Hi JJTraw! You’ve got me so intrigued! I’ve never tried coconut sugar, now I’m curious! Thanks for sharing your trick.

Stella

Feb 16, 2013 ·  5:27 PM

Just came up on this from your FB post, Stella. You could actually use this recipe as edible play dough – the kids could air dry their creations. Also make cut out letters, and also cake decorations.

 · Debi J · 

Feb 16, 2013 · 11:06 PM

Hi Debi! Absolutely! This recipe is extremely friendly to mushing, mashing, and other kid-approved smushing techniques.

Stella

Mar 26, 2013 ·  8:11 AM

very good
and yours thanks for recipe
I love you and yours recipe
can i make bulk and sale out in market ?
but you inform me fast way for drying out process thanks

 · I am Candy maker · 

Mar 26, 2013 ·  9:07 AM

Hi Candy Maker, you can absolutely make these in bigger batches, but I don’t have any tips for you on drying them out any faster, unless you own a giant factory! Haha. Some things just take time.

Stella

Aug 20, 2013 ·  5:24 PM

Ooh, I need to try these! I’m having an 80s birthday party, so I’m going slightly nostalgic on the snacks I’m making I’ll be trying your oreos and probably chocolate chip cookies too, but can I just ask, how long do the conversation hearts keep? I’m hoping to make them over the weekend and have them on the following Friday, is that ok if I stick them in a metal tin?
Thanks!

 · Mightyjojo · 

Aug 20, 2013 · 11:14 PM

Hey Mightyjojo! omg, your party sounds awesome, wish I could come!! The conversation hearts will keep forever so make ‘em as far in advance as you like. Have fun!!

Stella

Feb 13, 2014 ·  1:36 PM

Oooh, these could make cute candy necklaces! Maybe for the goody bags at my daughter’s birthday party! Thanks, Stella!

 · QueenOfChile · 

Feb 14, 2014 ·  9:44 AM

Hi QueenOfChile! OMG, that is a great idea!! Yeah, while the candy is fresh it would be very easy to lace with a needle and thread.

Stella

Feb 15, 2014 ·  6:23 PM

i made these today for my daughter’s baby shower. They came out great, taste much better than the store bought ones [those are awful] and I could pick the shapes, colors and flavors. The recipe makes a ton!

 · Jackie · 

Feb 16, 2014 · 11:04 AM

Hi Jackie! Aww, I hope you took a lot of pictures, I bet they were adorable!! I’m so glad you gave them a try, and for such a charming occasion. Congratulations to you and your daughter! It sounds like this little one will grow up with lots of happy memories in the kitchen.

Stella



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