{be mine} DIY Conversation Hearts

Valentine’s Day is a holiday of love, but also of CANDY!

While you might immediately imagine a red, heart-shaped box of chocolates when thinking of Valentine’s Day, there is another candy that has also been capturing hearts. A favorite amongst school-aged children, the Conversation Heart has had a steady fan base over the years.  I can remember thoughtfully passing out these little candy hearts to my classmates, anxious as I left the “Be Mine” on a certain young boy’s desk.

These were the memories that I was revisiting as my kids picked up boxes of Conversation Hearts at the store, asking if we could buy them.  As I viewed the back of the box and saw “You’re Hot!”, I realized that the “conversations” have been updated a bit since my childhood days.  This newer text was not really something I wanted my 6 yr old passing out to his friends.  I instantly saw a fun baking project opportunity and suggested to my kids that we make our own candy for Valentine’s Day.  This would serve as a double win for me of course: I could make sure that the text on our hearts would be kid-friendly and fun while also ensuring that the ingredients in the candy would be ones I was happy letting my kids consume.

Recipe: DIY Conversation Hearts

Note: This recipe makes easily over 100 small hearts. Consider cutting the recipe in half.

This recipe takes 24 hours, leave yourself enough time to make them.


  • 1 packet (or 2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup (or Brown Rice Syrup)
  • 2 pounds (one large bag) powdered sugar, plus LOTS of extra for dusting your work surface
  • flavoring extract
  • food coloring
  • Heart-shaped cutters
  • Edible Food Writers/Markers

{You could use your own DIY flavoring or DIY food coloring, just note that the more liquid you add, the more powdered sugar you will need.}


  1. Pour the gelatin, water and corn syrup (or brown rice syrup) into a small microwaveable bowl. Stir until the gelatin is mixed in, then microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well after heating.
  2. Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl of a mixer. Add one cup of the powdered sugar and turn the mixer to low. Mix until the sugar is well combined.
  3. Continue to add the remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well, until all of the sugar is added. Make sure that you scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently during this step.
  4. Add 1/2tsp to 1tsp of flavoring and mix in.
  5. The mixture will become very thick and form a sticky dough. If the mixture is not THICK, add more powdered sugar.
  6. Once you have a thick dough, dust a work surface with powdered sugar and scrape the candy on to it.  Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the dough. Begin to knead the candy like bread dough, folding the ball of dough over onto itself, then use the heel of your hand to push it down.
  7. Repeat the process, continuing to dust the work surface and the dough with more powdered sugar as necessary to prevent sticking.  Continue kneading the candy until it is no longer sticky.
  8. Decide how many colors of conversation hearts you want to make, then divide the dough into that many sections. Roll the sections into balls. Press your finger down into each ball, making a small well. Place a few drops of food coloring into each well, then begin kneading the dough to spread the coloring around.  Knead well until the coloring is fully incorporated. Repeat with each ball.
  9. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out while you are working with the others.
  10. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out one of the candy balls to your desired thickness. {The thinner you roll it, the more fragile the candy will be.}
  11. Use heart-shaped cutters to cut the shapes out of the rolled candy, then place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to dry. {While small hearts are more realistic, slightly larger ones are easier to write on.}
  12. Allow your hearts to air-dry for at least 24 hours before writing on them. This step is VERY important, do not cheat!
  13. Use the edible food writers/markers to create your own messages on the dried candy hearts.
  14. Store your conversation hearts in an airtight container at room temperature.

Copyright ©2011 The Mixing Bowl Diary. All Rights Reserved.

My 6yr old wrote the alphabet out on his pile of hearts, allowing him to spell various words and make funny sentences. My 3 yr old drew pictures, mostly circles on her pile of hearts.

What did I do with my hearts?

I wrote “I love you”, “kiss” and “hug” on the hearts to give to my kids and hubby.

Easy to customize, and fun to make, these conversation hearts will be a hit with your Valentine.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!


23 Comments Add yours

  1. Thea says:

    These are just too cute! Great project.

    1. Becky says:

      Thanks Thea!!!

  2. Very interesting possibilities…. I love your son’s idea to do the alphabet.
    Do they taste as good as/better than the store bought ones?

    1. Becky says:

      Jackie, I like them better than the store bought version. Not as chaulky tasting…and since you can add your own flavoring, the options are endless!!!

  3. Ona says:

    What a great project! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I must ask, how hard are they? Do you believe that a child be able to bite through them without issue?

    Thanks Again!

    1. Becky says:

      Ona, they are not too hard at all. Easy enough to bit through, and possibly easier than the store bought version (although I haven’t had those in a few years so hard to say). My 3yr old bites through them with no problem. I wouldn’t say they are a “hard candy”

    1. Becky says:

      Thanks Betsy! The kids said they wanted to save a few for Eden (although I told them she might be a bit young for candy! hahaha).

  4. Chet says:

    Great idea.

    1. Becky says:

      Thanks. And what did you think of them, since you actual had a taste???

  5. Angela Watts says:

    I love the one with blended colors. Might have to add these t my to-do list of recipes. Now to find some small enough cutters…

    1. Becky says:

      I love the blended ones myself too!!

  6. Shirley says:

    What a great idea. Your kids must have had so much fun decorating and eating.

    1. Becky says:

      my kids did have fun. they thought the idea of “coloring on food” was pretty fantastic. We hadn’t used the edible food markers before…they were a hit!!

  7. Debby says:

    Where did you find tiny heart shaped cutters? Or any shaped cutters that small, for that matter? Looks like a great project!

    1. Becky says:

      Debby, I bought a set of heart shaped cutters either at Target or Michaels. There was a whole set of plastic, pink hearts all nested together, ranging in sizes. I used the smallest one from that set. Those are the bigger ones you can see in the picture. The smallest hearts you see in the pictures are actually from a linzer cookie cutter set I had gotten from King Arthur Flour. I pulled the heart shape from the set and used it as a cutter. Here’s the link to that one, just as FYI. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/linzer-cookie-set

  8. jude says:

    I don’t have a microwave. how long or hot should i heat it?

  9. Annie says:

    Very neat! The possibilities are endless. I wonder if you could use alphabet stamps dipped in food coloring if you didn’t have the pen…Bet it would work. Or you could just use the stamps to get a debossed image.

  10. Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

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