Friday, February 10, 2012

tutorial: make your own valentine's day candy!

I love certain holidays. I love Valentine's Day possibly because I love the color red and I think hearts are adorable. An excuse to make cute stuff that's red with hearts on it? I'm in!

For a few years when I was in college, my circle of artsy/crafty friends would have outdoor craft sales a few times a year. One of my favorite traditions is that we'd have one just before Valentine's Day. And I would always make these chocolate hearts to sell. This year I made them to take to a Valentine's Day party that my friends Jessica and Chris are hosting tomorrow. I'm really excited for it! We have been instructed to wear red and pink, and I think I've come up with the perfect outfit. I'll be sure to post pictures.

This candy is delicious, easy, adorable, and at least as affordable as buying a big bag of already-made Valentine's Day candy. I already had most of the supplies I needed, but even if you don't, there's not too much to wrangle up.

- heart molds--I use silicone ice cube trays! You could also buy real candy molds.
- chocolate--I use Ghiradelli chocolate chips. Whatever you do, no almond bark!
- add-ins--I made a batch with espresso beans and a batch with graham cracker pieces. You could stir in anything small.
- tiny bags--I bought mine at a craft store in the jewelry making area.
- colorful cardstock
- stapler

Step 1: Melt your chocolate. If you are using big pieces, chop it up. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 25 second intervals, stirring in between. Be careful not to overheat/burn it! You could also use a double boiler, if you lack a microwave or want to feel more like a real candy maker.

Step 2: It might be time to stir in your add-ins. It depends on what they are. For my graham cracker pieces batch, I stirred in the graham crackers at this point. For my espresso beans batch, I placed 2 espresso beans in each heart by hand. Use your judgement here.

Step 3: Time to use the molds. I bought these cute ice cube trays several years ago, allured by the idea of making heart-shaped ice. The ice cubes it makes are actually way too small, though--as in, you need to use almost a whole tray for one drink! I kept them around and eventually had the idea to make candy in them! You can always get real candy molds if you can't find any heart-shaped ice cube trays (though I think those are fairly common).

Step 4: Here you see how I dropped two espresso beans into each chocolate. I then pushed them down with my finger so that chocolate would cover them. You also want to shake the trays from side to side to make the chocolate fall down into place and eliminate air bubbles. You don't have to fill each heart completely, depending on how big your tray is. Mine makes a piece of chocolate that just feels slightly too big if I fill it all the way.

Step 5: After pouring the chocolate, I let it cool in the freezer. Otherwise, it takes a long time to become solid (a reason why people use almond bark...but don't do it! just read the's not real chocolate and it doesn't taste like real chocolate).

Step 6: Once my chocolates were cool, I immediately put them in my tiny plastic baggies. I left the baggies unzipped until the chocolates reached room temperature, to avoid condensation on the insides of the bags.

Step 7: I then got to work designing some labels. I did a very simple design using MS Word. It included a dingbat heart shape from the font Webdings, Happy Valentine's Day in a script font I downloaded awhile ago, and a description of the candy (very important warning in this case for those who don't like coffee! eep!). I printed them out on red cardstock, cut them out, folded them in half...

Step 8: ...and stapled them in place. Adorable! Now wasn't that easy?

Now I need to decide if I will make these for all of my students, or buy them pre-made candy...I promised them candy for Monday (we don't meet on Tuesdays)!

How will you be celebrating Valentine's Day?


Maeg said...

these are so adorable, kristen! i seem to have completely forgotten valentine's day, thanks for the reminder! xo

It's Me, Tamara! said...

Oh, these are so awesome!! What a great idea. It makes me wish I were still in grade school and could bring one in for every classmate!

Sarah O'Holla said...

Mmmmm these look so good. Love your added card stock to the packages. Happy Valentine's day!

Ana said...

Those look super yummy! thank you for the idea!!! I've been trying to find out what to give my coworkers!! :)

Laura Elizabeth said...

Wow, what a great idea! I would totally make these and eat them for myself- too bad about sharing them :) Might have to try them out.