Here's some easy and adorable "Love Bugs" to give away or keep you company this Valentine's Day!
Step 1: What You'll Need
You only need a few simple ingredients to make these cuties:
- 1-2 bags of Red Candy Melts
- 1-2 bags of Black Candy Melts
- Twisted pretzels
- Heart shaped "icing decorations"
*NOTE: I found all of these supplies (besides the pretzels) in the cake decorating section at Walmart, which is usually by the party supplies (NOT in the baking section).
You will also need:
- A mini squeeze bottle (I got mine for 77 cents at Walmart in the cake decorating section)
- A baking sheet
- Wax paper (or parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil)
- A bowl or two pots (one smaller than the other)
- A spoon
Step 2: How NOT to Melt the Candy Melts
DO NOT do this step. I repeat: DO NOT do it! Unless you want to waste money failing like I originally did.
I am only including this "step" to show you what NOT to do (to hopefully keep you from making the same mistake).
If you aren't curious as to how you can mess up the candy melts, proceed immediately to the next step. ;) If you are curious (and need a good laugh), read on...
I don't have a microwave, nor a double boiler pot. So, I decided to use two saucepans (one smaller than the other) to work in the same way as a double boiler pot. So far so good.
I filled the smaller pot with water and put the candy melts in the larger pot. I put them both on the burner (the smaller first, the bigger on top) and turned the burner on to low-medium heat (#3 on my stove). Then I constantly spooned the melts around "as directed"...or so I thought.
Because I didn't thoroughly read the instructions on the package, the candy melts started to merge together. But not in a melty kinda way. More like in a buttercream frosting kinda way. Uh-oh.
Like most newbies in the candy melting or chocolate melting business (haha), I thought, "Hey, I will just keep heating and stirring because obviously it needs more heat to melt." Um, yeah. Noooo....
I finally quit after a good FIFTEEN minutes! It was basically a useless pile of sugary mush.
Then a light bulb turned on in my head..."Hey genius--READ the directions!" (hahah)....
MORAL OF THE STORY: If your candy melts aren't melting, YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG ;)
Step 3: How to PROPERLY Melt the Candy Melts
To always perfectly melt your candy melts (or chocolate), follow these directions:
1. Fill up the small saucepan with water. Fill it about 3/4 full.
2. Boil the water in the small saucepan to a simmer. You don't need it to rapidly boil. When it starts boiling, that's good enough.
3.TAKE THE PAN OFF THE HEAT!!!!! (I wish the directions on the package would've put this in NEON bold font! This is the MOST IMPORTANT part!) :D
4. Put the red candy melts into the larger saucepan. Use only half the bag to start (or you will dry out the second half while you are dunking the pretzels).
5. Set the larger saucepan on top of the smaller saucepan (that has been taken OFF the heat).
6. Constantly mix the melts around with a spoon (do NOT use a whisk, or the like--directions say not to "beat" the melts).
7. Once the candy melts are melted, be sure to REMOVE the top pot off of the "hot" pot, or your beautifully melted sugar will turn into an overheated, mushy mess (like the previous step).
Now that wasn't so hard! It only took a couple minutes.
IF MELTING BY MICROWAVE:
Put the melts in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at 50% power for 1 minute. Then take out the bowl and mix. Heat at 30 second intervals (with taking out and mixing in-between each) until the melts are, well, melted.
Step 4: Cover the Pretzels
1. Put a piece of wax paper (or a piece of parchment paper that is lightly sprayed with cooking oil) on a baking sheet.
2. Cover the pretzels in the red melted sugar and place them on the baking sheet. Work quickly, as the chocolate can start to harden within a few minutes.
(What is a candy melt anyways? It's not chocolate. It's vanilla flavored. Hmm... I just determined they're sugar.)
3. Refrigerate the baking sheet full of pretzels to set the chocolate. Because I made these in February, it was winter at my house. So I didn't have to put them in the fridge because my house was cold enough that they were hardening while I was making them. I still did put them in the fridge while I prepared the next melts though, just for good measure.
Step 5: Melt Some More...
You should be a pro now! :D
Melt the black candy melts in the same way you melted the red ones. Again, only use HALF the bag.
Step 6: Make Some Bugs
Once the black sugar is melted, take the pretzels out of the fridge.
Cover the tips of the pretzels (which will become the heads) with chocolate. The "tip" of the pretzel is the side of the pretzel that only has one rounded corner (like the bottom point of a heart). Put the pretzel back on the baking sheet.
Immediately, put two heart-shaped "icing decorations" on the head for eyes.
Set the baking sheet back in the fridge to harden. (Less than 2 minutes.)
Step 7: Add the Spots
I found that my melted black sugar hardened after doing the heads, so I couldn't use it in the squirt bottle for this step. Therefore, if you experience the same thing, be sure to do this step (it works better).
1. Melt the second half bag of black candy melts.
2. Spoon immediately into the mini squeeze bottle. (There's no "pretty" way to do this, so just get 'er done!)
3. Squeeze little black dots on to the eyes (OPTIONAL), and on to the body to create a ladybug Love Bug.
4. You can set these back in the fridge to harden again, if needed.
Step 8: DONE! Did You Catch the Love Bug?
That's it! Easy peasy, right? Now, you're ready to spread the love to your family, friends, loved ones, spouse, or to show yourself a little love.
Add a little cute valentine to the bugs, or set them in a dozen roses (etc) to complete your special display.
Since I couldn't find any cute bug puns on the internet, here are some I came up with (feel free to use them):
- Catch the Love Bug
- I love you, Love Bug
- Bugs and Kisses!
- You make my heart bug out!
- Lady, I'm bugging over you!
- I'm bugging over you!
- You can bug me anytime!
- All I need is you, Love Bug
- You're the bug to my flower, Love Bug
- You're the lady to my bug, Ladybug
- My heart is yours, Ladybug (or Love Bug)
- Can I bug you sometime? (with this part below...)
I spot your number: ____________________ <-- (Write your digits here)
- Let's hang out sometime, Ladybug (or Love Bug)
- My heart is spotted with love for you
- I spot you, Love Bug (or Ladybug)
- Cupid must've shot me hard, because I came down with the Love Bug!
- Cupid's arrows ain't got nothing on our love, Ladybug (or whatever pet name)
- You're adorable, Love Bug! (or fill in with other words besides "adorable" like: you're cute, you're a cutie, you're sweet, you're my sweetheart, you're adorbs, you're my BFF, you're a doll, you're my man, you're my cream and sugar, you're my better half, etc)