Making candy hearts turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. If you have ever worked with or made fondant it is a very similar texture but dries much faster.
I was amazed that the flavor and texture was almost identical to the store bought candy hearts. I made my hearts a little bigger than the real thing to save some sanity and time! They are each about the size of a quarter.
They do take some patience as they have to dry for 48 hours!
Step 1: Candy Heart Recipe
3/4 t. Powdered Gelatin
1/4 c. Clear Soda, of your choice
3 c. Powdered Sugar
In a small mixing bowl dissolve gelatin in soda. After about 5 minutes, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the gelatin completely - until you can't see any granules.
Use a hand or stand mixer and mix in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Keep adding the powdered sugar until you have stiff fondant-like dough. It will be somewhat sticky.
Step 2: Add Flavoring and Coloring
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. :)
Step 3: Roll and Cut Dough
**I like to use square wooden dowels as guides for my rolling pin to make sure the thickness is the same throughout. This will make drying even amongst all of the candy hearts.
Arrange the candies on a parchment lined baking sheet and let dry for 48 hours. I know this is a long time but it takes that long to get them hard. Flip the hearts over occasionally to assure even drying on both sides.
Step 4: Stamp Messages
**You can see in picture #1 that the hearts are not dry if they are two-toned. Do not stamp these hearts until they are dry!
Using a clean and new paint brush spread a thin layer of food coloring onto a small saucer. Press small, clean and new letter stamps into the food coloring and stamp onto the hearts! Repeat until you have stamped all the messages you want.
Let the food coloring dry before eating to avoid red lips and tongue!! :P