So, what does one do when there are three feet of snow outside, the roads are completely impassible, the cupboard is getting bare, and your bored kids are about to go crazy from watching too many back-to-back episodes of I Carly and Hannah Montana? Why, you make sugar hearts of course!
The great thing about these sugar hearts is that they require only three or four ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry - sugar, water, food coloring and powdered egg whites (optional).
To begin, mix two cups of granulated sugar with some food coloring of your choice. You can use liquid or powdered, but just be sure to mix it in very well. Next, mix in 4 teaspoons of water or 4 teaspoons of reconstituted powdered egg whites into your sugar. Water works just fine, but your sugar hearts will be much stronger if you use the egg whites.
The mixture should resemble wet sand.
Now you are ready to make your sugar hearts. If you have a candy mold, feel free to use it. None of my heart molds happened to be deep enough, so I just used regular cookie cutters. Pour your sugar mixture out onto a smooth, non-stick surface (I used parchment paper on my counter top) and press it down firmly with your hands, a rolling pin, or the bottom of a plate. The idea is to get the sugar as compacted as possible. The thickness is somewhat determined by the depth of your cookie cutters, but I think about 1/2 an inch works quite well. Now, press the cutters straight down into the sugar and carefully release the shapes onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you find that the sugar isn't holding it's shape well, try adding a bit more water or egg white - but just don't over-do it or you'll get sugar mush! Now, you can obviously make these in any shape you like - we decided to make some flower shapes in addition to our hearts.
These need to harden before you use them. You can either allow them to air dry for a day or two or you can speed up the process by placing them in a 200 degree oven for about ten minutes. Once they cool, they will become super hard - just like sugar cubes.
We had LOTS of time on our hands, so we made a whole bunch...
My girls love to eat these just like pieces candy...
...and they look really pretty packaged up in little cellophane bags tied with ribbon. Perfect for a last minute Valentine's Day gift.
I also like to use them as decorations for cakes and cupcakes...
This is such a fun project and so simple and easy. Ya really gotta try it!