Valentine Heart Candy
By Ellen L. Published: 2017-02-14
My little girl and I have been brainstorming like crazy what to do for Valentine's Day, something fun and cool and not too hard nor expensive that she could share with her whole class. And what do you know, we found the perfect thing! I was reminiscing that when I was a little girl, all the kid would stuff Valentine's Day cards with heart candies that had cute little sayings on them. Which we bought at a store back then, of course, and I'm sure that you can still buy it but just not in Hong Kong! Then I thought, they might not be so hard to make at home, so I had a look around, and what do you know, Valentine's Day Heart Candies are not hard to make at home at all ! Plus you get to write whatever LOVE message you like on them!
Just need a few ingredients, some plain gelation powder, some clear soda pop*, powdered sugar and your favorite food colorings (we used gel food coloring) and flavor extracts is needed to make a nice smooth dough. We went for white colored hearts with peppermint flavoring, and then pink and darker pink hearts with orange flavoring and vanilla flavoring.
*Do note that the soda pop must be clear so that it won't color the dough. However it can be whatever flavor you prefer and that flavor will also slightly flavor the dough.
The dough is then rolled out. I always, always have thickness problems when rolling out with the middle thicker than the sides. This time I tried something new that worked out really well. I found two long sticks (or dowels) of the correct thickness and lay them along the two sides of the dough as guides to roll on. Ta-da, perfect thickness! (Or you could get these fabulous rolling pin bands that you just strap on to your rolling pin.)
Once rolled we quickly used small heart shaped cookie cutters to press out our hearts. Do remember to keep your dough covered until using and to work fast as the dough dries out quickly and then it is much harder to work with.
Once the hearts are pressed out you only have to wait for them to dry. These hearts are not baked, mind you, but dried. You can leave them out to dry, flipping occasionally for two days, but I decided to speed that up by using my oven at very low heat to dehydrate them instead.
Lastly comes the fun part! You will of course need to have a set of small alphabet stamps (I looove aphabet stamps!!) or an edible food pen. Armed with these you can then write whatever your heart desires to your Valentine, be it naughty or nice! I'd call that just TOO SWEET! Happy Valentine's Day!
Valentine Heart Candy Recipe
(makes approx. 90 nos. 1 1/2" hearts, adapted from Brave Tart recipe here)
heart shaped cookie cutters
1 1/2 tsp gelatin powder5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup clear soda pop, any flavor
1/4 cup clear soda pop, any flavor
Add soda and gelatin in mixing bowl and set over a bain marie, stirring until the gelatin is completely melted. Mix in sugar 1 cup at a time until dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Knead til smooth. Divide the dough into however many colors you are planning to do, add food coloring a few drops at a time and flavoring extracts and knead til smooth.
Generously sprinkle your working surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar, then roll out one colored dough to 1/4" thickness, covering the rest of the dough to prevent drying. Be sure to check that the rolled dough is not sticking to the work surface as you go along. If it is add powdered sugar until not sticking.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Leftover scraps can be re-rolled as many times as you like. Place cut outs onto parchment covered baking sheets. Dehydrate in oven at lowest heat setting for 6-8 hours, flipping occasionally until the candies are completely dry.
Pour out a few drops of food coloring into a plate. Press alphabet stamps lightly in food coloring, then stamp heart cookie. You might want to try a few first so that you get an idea of how much color you need, how hard to stamp, etc. We found that lighter stamping worked best, as the color darkened and spread a bit by the second day. Once stamped blot dry carefully with tissue (optional) and let air dry for a few hours.
And there you are, perfect Valentine's Day Heart Candies, with your extra special LOVE messages for your COOL CAT and TOP DOG! We didn't have valentines cards to stuff with our homemade heart candies so we opted to bag 'em up in pretty Valentine' Day bags which turned out looking pretty CUTE, if I don't say so myself! Happy V Day everyone!
More Sweets for Your Sweet at The Hong Kong Cookery: