I made these candy hearts a few years ago, and everyone loved them. With edible food markers, it makes putting personal messages on them so easy. One batch makes a lot of hearts, so I turned half of them into sight words for David to practice. I made some of them into letter and number recognition practice for Rachel too.
1 tsp unflavored Know gelatin
1 tsp light Karo syrup
1/4 cup water
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb) (Plus extra for rolling out the dough)
essential oils or flavored extracts
Start by putting 1 tsp of unflavored gelatin, 1 tsp of light Karo syrup, and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. Stir. Then put in the microwave for about 25 seconds. Stir again until the gelatin is dissolved.
Place the gelatin mixture in a large bowl. Add one cup of powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer, beat until incorporated. Then slowly add the rest of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
The mixture will be stiff after all the powdered sugar is added.
Lightly coat a counter top with powdered sugar. Knead the dough until it is not sticky. I added probably 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the counter. Divide the dough into as many piles as you want colors/flavors. We did seven different colors.
Put some food gel and flavoring on the dough ball. Food gel works so much better than food coloring. If you use food coloring, you have to add more powdered sugar because there is too much extra moisture from the coloring. I used essential oils to flavor four of my dough balls. I added 1-2 drops of oil. I did have some bubble gum, butterscotch, and watermelon extract that I added to three of the dough balls. For those, I added 1/8-1/4 tsp of extract.
The oils I used were wild orange, grapefruit, peppermint, and lime.
I folded the color and extract in the dough with my hands. I just kept turning and rolling the dough in my hands and on the counter top until the color was all incorporated. Using food gel instead of food coloring makes a lot less of a mess on your hands and counter top.
Then I placed a piece of plastic wrap under each dough ball and another piece on top of each dough ball. This keeps the the dough from drying out while you roll the other colors and shape into hearts.
Pick one of the colors and roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin (while still in the plastic wrap).
Pull one piece of the plastic wrap off the dough ball. Put a little bit of powdered sugar on top. Continue rolling out the dough with your rolling pin. I roll it out pretty thin.
Then flip the dough over on a lightly-covered powdered sugared surface. Peel the plastic wrap off the dough.
Using a heart fondant cutter, I cut out the heart shapes and placed on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Repeat this process with the other colors.
Let all the hearts dry on the parchment paper. When they are dry, write your message with the food pen.
Here are some of the sight word hearts we created.