The Art of Conversation
Anyone who knows me will know how much I loathe Valentine’s Day. So much so that I also avoid any “anti-valentines” activities because that means acknowledging Valentine’s day.
However, this year, depsite being a grumpy old cynic, I got this little idea in my head, and as much as it annoyed me that it’s Valentines Day themed, I couldn’t resist giving it a go to see how it turned out.
When I was in Vegas I picked up a small box of Sweethearts (or conversation hearts as they’re sometimes known). I’d actually been dying to try them to compare them to the Love Hearts we have in the UK. Personally, I think they’re way better! They’re more like the texture of the Candy Sticks or Candy Letters that we have over here, and the flavours are great (meaning they actually have flavours – green apple, purple grape!).
As a result I’ve become slightly obsessed and I’m hugely regretting not buying a big bag of them! hint hint
Anyway, I though it might be cute to make some Sweethearts out of salt dough, I don’t know why, but I guess you could give them out as little valentines gifts or as a keepsake/token, and it means you could put whatever message you wanted on them.
Of course they aren’t edible (unless you’re a big fan of flour, salt and chipped teeth), and they’re completely useless, but they’re fun, and pretty cute, and super easy to make!
Basic Salt dough rules: 1 part water (preferably lukewarm), 1 part salt, 2 parts plain flour. Easy peasy!
I measured out a small amount of each ingredient using some measuring cups as I wanted to make multiple small batches rather than one large one. I found this was a better way to do it if you’re adding colouring and making multiple colours – I used gel food colouring and it’s a lot easier to blend if you add it to the water before adding the water to the salt and flour. If you’re using gel food colouring, you only need a tiny amount, and by tiny and mean TINY – use a tooth pick to scoop up the gel and mix it in with your water.
Note: If your dough is super sticky, you can just add more flour.
I rolled my dough out and then used a small heart cookie cutter to cut out my hearts, and used some cookie-stamp-letters that I had to press my messages on (you don’t need these though, you can just as easily draw the messages on after the salt dough is dry).
Once you’re done, you need to put them in the oven on a low heat for what feels like forever (or until the dough has dried out). I put mine in at about 80°C, any higher and I found that the dough puffed up a little and sometimes cracked. The time they’re in there will depend on how thick your dough is.
Once they were dry and cooled, I used a red pen to fill in the letters (or this is where you’d just write your messages on freehand if you don’t have stamps.)
That’s all there is to it!
Remember though guys, you don’t have to show someone how much you love them with a gesture on the one day of the year everyone else is doing it because you feel like you’re supposed to. It’s far more meaningful and romantic to do it any old day of the year, just because you want to (plus, a bunch of roses will probably cost you a hell of a lot less any other time of the year).