Anna Bui / Daily Nexus

If there’s any brand of candy that skyrockets in sales around Valentine’s Day, it’s Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. Those colorful sugar hearts that were passed around to all your classmates on Valentine’s Day when you were in the third grade — back when we were actually able to receive Valentine’s Day treats from 20 different people — are still around.

With various flavors and colors, Sweethearts Conversation candy hearts are notable for their cute messages, such as “Crazy 4 U” and “Text Me.” These heart-shaped sugar candies are playful and adorable, perfect for social occasions and Valentine’s Day exchanges. However, it’s not exactly the go-to candy that one would go to buy as a romantic or personal gesture for someone.

But let’s get personal. These quirky little messages are easily accessible at your local market, but what better way to kick things up a notch than to actually make your own personalized conversation hearts? Sure, giving someone a store-bought box of candy hearts that say things like “TOO HOT” definitely sounds super romantic, but are most of these pre-made messages what you’re really trying to tell someone? Maybe you don’t want to say “TEXT ME.” Maybe you want to achieve something deeper and more meaningful than that, like “LUV U CHRIS” or “KHUYEN ROX.” I bet Chris and Khuyen would appreciate that a lot more.

Luckily for you, there is a recipe to give your voice a little more power. Whether you want to be romantic, friendly or just straight up sarcastic and snarky, it’s all you. The recipe is straightforward, does not require a great deal of ingredients and is actually really fun to make.
With so much freedom in choosing your own flavors and messages, your creativity is bound to make someone smile. Take this opportunity to customize messages to your partner, make personalized goodie bags for all your friends or even spend quality time and make these hearts together.

Relatively cheap? Minimal ingredients? Doesn’t involve any school work whatsoever? Count me in. This easy and fun recipe is a simple gesture that is guaranteed to sweeten up someone’s Valentine’s Day.

Anna Bui / Daily Nexus

What You’ll Need
¾ tsp powdered gelatin
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup clear soda (example: Sprite)
Food coloring
Flavored extracts
Heart-shaped cookie cutters
Food coloring pens

*Yield depends on how big you choose to make your hearts. This recipe will take a day to make so plan accordingly to when you want to give out your hearts!

Mix your soda of choice and gelatin in a bowl for approximately five minutes until the gelatin dissolves. In order for the gelatin to be completely dissolved, set your bowl over a pot of boiling water and continue stirring until all the remaining granules have dissolved.
Next, add in the sugar into a different bowl in ½ cup intervals. Every time you add powdered sugar, pour in the gelatin. Keep mixing until the texture is no longer sticky and begins to resemble dough or fondant.

Begin kneading until it is smooth. Make sure your surface is clean and dusted with powdered sugar to make the process faster.

Depending on the amount of flavors/colors you choose to make, split the dough into portions with respect to that. Add flavoring extracts and food coloring into each portion, and begin kneading. A good idea would be to pair certain colors with certain flavors.

Roll the dough until it is even and the thickness is about ¼ inch, then start cutting out the hearts with a heart cookie cutter. If you don’t have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, there are many easy DIY tutorials online on how to make your own with just a soda can and scissors! And if you don’t feel like doing that either, you could just manually cut the hearts yourself with a knife (which could take up a bit of time).

*You can make them as big as you want — that’s the freedom in making your own conversation hearts!

Let the hearts dry on parchment paper for about 24 hours. At about 12 hours, flip the hearts over. Once the hearts have dried, get the food coloring pens and let your creativity take over