Sometimes I feel like baking cakes. Sometimes cupcakes, or cookies! But that Friday morning was different; I was too lazy to bake up a storm and I wanted to make something that was easy yet fun to do. So while being in my "lazy bake mode", I browsed through recipes on the web only to find something really cute but simple: Multilingual Conversation hearts by Susan from Diamonds for Dessert. I can admit that I fell in love with those little hearts as soon as I set my eyes on them. They looked really attractive and bright and colourful especially with all the languages stamped on them saying "I love you". It was such a smart idea and Susan is really talented in creating sweet things. You should go check out her amazing blog!
I blame myself for rushing in the cutting out process because they are not as perfect and neat as I expected. But at least they're cute and colourful, right? I also decided to leave out the messages on them so they would be just homemade candy hearts and stars. No complicated languages or stamps or liquid food colouring. I didn't have enough time for those things anyway so I just kept them plain and simple. Making stars as well seemed to be a great idea since I had little star cookie cutters laying around, but feel free to use any small cookie cutter you have.
These little candies are actually quite easy to make using mainly powdered sugar or icing sugar and gelatin without the need of any fancy ingredients. It was almost like working with fondant though but it does become dry pretty quickly when exposed to the air. Rolling it out, it brang back memories of me playing with play dough as a kid; moulding it into different shapes and showing off my creations to my mum. It was nice to think about it and it made me even more excited because the best part is that these pretty treats are edible!
There is one important thing you need to have when making these, that is... patience, yes, lots of it because you need to let them dry out for a few hours before they are ready to eat. That is, unless you like eating raw candy, but trust me, they taste better when they're hard in texture. I did however, put them in the oven at the lowest temperature possible for a few minutes to make the drying process faster. But that also depends on how thick the candies are. Mine were a little more thin than those from Diamonds for Desserts so they dried quicker. That's up to you to decide on whether you like your candies thick or thin.
For this fun project, you can divide the dough equally by weighing them on a kitchen scale and add any food colouring you like as well as flavour extracts. I only had vanilla though so I used that for all of them. They definitely tasted candy-like and was sweet and delicious! Perfect for packaging them in pretty boxes to give to someone special as little edible gifts.
Slightly adapted from Multilingual Conversion Hearts by Diamonds for Dessert
Conversation Hearts adapted from about.com
Makes about 180 candies
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1 tsp light corn syrup (I used honey instead)
1 lb (454 grams) powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/4 to 1 tsp assorted flavoring extracts
assorted food colorings
heart-shaped or other small cookie cutters
1. Combine the gelatin, water, and corn syrup or honey in a small bowl and mix. Put it in a microwave oven for 15-20 seconds, or until the gelatin dissolves and mix again. Pour this mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer (Or if using a hand mixer, pour into a large bowl). Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix on low until the sugar is combined. You can also alternatively use a spatula or whisk in place of the mixer.
2. Add the remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until all the sugar is combined and this is where you should end up with a stiff dough. Dust the bench surface with the extra powdered sugar and put the candy dough out onto the surface. Knead the dough on the surface until no longer sticky.
3. Divide the dough into six pieces. Add the color and flavoring extract of your choice to each piece, kneading it until the color is well mixed and the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, knead in more powdered sugar until smooth. When you aren't using a piece of dough, make sure you keep it covered in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.
4. Once done coloring and flavoring, roll the dough out to between 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thick. Use your cookie cutter to cut out shapes, theb place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Roll up the scraps and cut out more candies. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.
5. Let the candies dry for at least 24 hours. To test if its done, bite into a candy. If it's still wet in the center, let it dry longer. To dry them faster, preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Once preheated, turn the oven off and place the sheets of candies in the oven with the door closed for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and let them totally cool.