Mini Candy Cane Heart Valentines

Mini Candy Cane Hearts

Each year I try to find something different for my kids to bring to school for Valentine’s Day besides the tiny, convenient, and inexpensive cards you find at all the stores. (Hmm, they sound really good putting it that way!) I was inspired by a post I saw a while ago on Nest of Posies’ blog but she used popsicle sticks with the candy hearts. I knew that wouldn’t transport well in a backpack to school so I just made little hearts to pass out to classmates.

I knew I wanted to make these for Valentine’s Day even before Christmas, so when I saw the mini candy canes for sale, I bought a couple of boxes back in December. If you don’t have any leftover mini candy canes, keep this in mind for next year!

All you need are mini candy canes, candy melts, sprinkles, waxed paper, and a baking sheet. A disposable decorating/piping bag or two is optional, but I highly recommended them. You can use a spoon, but they just might look a little messier that’s all. I wouldn’t recommend using a resealable bag as a piping bag because the melted chocolate will make the bag too floppy and hard to manage.

MCCH candy melts and bags

The candy melts and disposable (decorating) bags are both from Wilton and can be found at most craft stores like Michael’s or at Wal-Mart. I also purchased goody bags that were the perfect size at Michael’s.

The candy melts get melted inside a decorating bag in the microwave. There are instructions on the back of the bag, but basically you want to melt them slowly on 50% power. Put about half the candy in the bag, twist to close somewhat and tuck the end under the bag, heat for 1 minute on medium/50% power. Then heat at 30 second intervals on 50% power until it is melted – kneading the candy after each time. When it’s melted it should be thin and flow smoothly out of the bag.

First step is to lay out your mini candy canes on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. You can do this while you are melting the candy melts.

MCCH lay out hearts

When your candy melts are ready, cut off the tip of your decorating bag. (Do this only when you have your candy canes ready!) Squeeze out the melted candy, filling each heart, making sure to get where the ends meet and along the edge of the candy cane. You don’t want to overfill, but you do want to cover the whole inside.

Filling candy cane hearts

You will want to add some sprinkles after each time you fill a heart, or if you get good at filling you can do it every 2 or 3 hearts. The candy will start to set up so you want to make sure the sprinkles will stick.

Candy cane hearts with sprinkles

After my baking sheet was done, I stuck it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set up. It will set up on its own without that step, but it helps to speed up the process. If you need more, you can melt the other half of the candy melts and do another tray. I made 2 trays, used one bag of candy melts, and got about 36 mini hearts.

Notes: You can use a second decorating bag for your second batch of candy melts to make it less messy. I used just one, but I put a paper plate under the bag in the microwave to catch any drips. Make sure not to overheat the candy melts. If you do it slowly, on medium power, and kneading it at each time interval, you will be okay. If you overheat it, it may lose it’s ability to set up/harden.

Candy cane hearts

Hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day and think of making these next year if you don’t happen to have some mini candy canes lying around!
Micha

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Red Hot Love Fudge

No, you are not seeing things. Yes, Valentine’s Day is over. But it’s still February so I didn’t think you’d mind too much. Besides, think how prepared you’ll be for next year!

I had every intention of posting this for Valentine’s Day, but I wasn’t happy with my recipe until now since I had to order one of the ingredients. “Red Hot Love Fudge” should deliver what it promises! Well, at least it should have enough cinnamon in it to live up to its name.

I have always loved those little red hot candies and when I came across a website that sold a similar type of fudge for Valentine’s Day, I had to figure out how to make my own. Occasionally I whip up some of the easy chocolate fudge from the Eagle Brand’s website, so that’s where I started. I took it in a whole new direction. It’s super easy and I think I got it just right…

Here are the ingredients you need:

Ingredients:
1 – 14oz. can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 – 12oz. bag of white chocolate chips (I used Nestle)
2 – 4oz. baking bars of Ghirardelli White Chocolate
2 – jars of red hot cinnamon candies (Cake Mate Cinnamon Decors)
12-14 drops of Cinnamon Flavoring Oil (I use Lorann and bought the 1 dram bottle plus dropper. I had to order this, but you might be near a cake or candy supply store to purchase it there)

Instructions:
Before you start working with the chocolate, line an 8×8 square pan with wax paper, making sure it comes up on all sides.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a medium saucepan. Add the bag of white chocolate chips. Break up the white chocolate baking bars into smaller pieces and add them as well. Melt together over medium-low heat, stirring constantly so you don’t burn the chocolate at the bottom of the pan and everything melts evenly. Do not walk away!

When it has completely melted and looks nice and creamy, remove from heat.

Using the eye dropper of your cinnamon flavoring oil, add in about 12-14 drops. Feel free to taste as you go, in case you like yours with less cinnamon. The candies will give it a cinnamon flavor, but in my opinion it wasn’t dominant enough. I felt it needed the flavoring oil as well. My perfectionism cost me a timely Valentine’s Day post, but you’ll have that here occasionally. 🙂

Now stir in one bottle of the red hot candies. Add some of the second bottle, but you want to save some to sprinkle on top of the fudge. I think I used about 1 1/2 bottles to mix in, and half of a bottle for decorating. It’s up to you.

When all is combined, pour that delicious goodness into your prepared pan. (You used wax paper, right?) Spread the fudge so it gets in all the corners and is somewhat even on top. Plop on the rest of those candies wherever your heart desires. Keep in mind how you will be cutting it so that each piece will have the candies on top.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, or until firm.

When it is firm enough, simply peel away the wax paper and place the block of fudge onto a cutting board. You can cut it into squares using a big, sharp knife or use heart cookie cutters. (The cutters take a little bit of muscle, but they look really cute.) If you are giving this as a gift, you’ll want to cut off the wrinkly edges and keep them for yourself.

So there you have it. Enjoy it now or wait until Valentine’s Day next year. Let me know what you think! (P.S. Use some of that cinnamon flavoring oil and make your own cinnamon toothpicks…remember those?)

~Micha