As a child, receiving boxes of conversation hearts from my mom on Valentine's Day was just so sweet. We only got candy on holidays or special occasions, so we always looked forward to our own special box of these unusual confections. Although each heart was only a small little bite of candy, I wouldn't pop a whole bunch into my mouth. Rather, I would examine each one closely, reading the mushy or corny little phrase printed on top. I have vivid memories of trying to lick just the words on a heart, trying to taste the ink they used to print on the candy. I remember pondering the question, "how did they get those tiny letters onto those little bity hearts and why did it taste so sweet?" Technology wasn't where it is today. No one was printing peoples faces on candy back in the 70's. So conversation hearts seemed pretty cool and high tech to a little freckle faced girl. I just couldn't figure out how ink of any kind could taste good. I was baffled, but I didn't let it stop me from enjoying my sweet little hearts. When I got a little older I learned to use food coloring to tint frosting for decorating cookies and cakes and realized that they use food coloring as their ink. Although I couldn't make my own conversation heart candy, I did enjoy making conversation heart cookies decorated with vibrantly colored frosting and adorned with fun little love related phrases.
I am a bit older now and have spent years (oh, so many years) using food coloring in so many different applications. I've tinted frosting, chocolate, hard candy, marshmallows, cookie dough, cake batter, and modeling chocolate using different forms of food colorings. I even colored stripes on corn dogs to create corn dog bumble bees here on this blog. Recently I developed a technique for printing food coloring images on won ton wrappers, pasta dough, and tortillas. I even created a likeness of Edward Cullen from Twilight on a tortilla (click here to see my post on my Hungry Halloween blog.) Today I am going to share one more idea for using food coloring to decorate your food. This technique is so simple and it requires just a few ingredients: bread, milk, and food coloring. You will simply color milk with store bought food coloring and paint it lightly onto bread before toasting. Yep, it's that easy.
CONVERSATION HEART TOAST
2 slices thick white bread per person
1-2 tablespoons milk per color
primary and neon food coloring
Special Equipment Needed:
heart shaped cookie cutter
food safe paint brushes
(either brushes that are only used for
food or brand new paint brushes)
Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out of each slice of bread. Pour 1-2 tablespoons milk into a small bowl, ramekin, or glass. Squeeze in 1 drop of food coloring and stir. Add more drops of food coloring until you acheive the desired color. Create as many different colors as you desire. The neon food coloring works great for these hearts. Use a pastry brush to very lightly brush the colored milk all over one side of each of the heart shaped bread slices. Be careful not to oversaturate the bread or your toast will not get very crisp.
Pour 1-2 tablespoons milk into a small bowl and add 3 drops red food coloring. Add more drops of coloring until you achieve the desired shade of red. Use a fine tip paintbrush to write messages on each of your hearts. The color will bleed if you have too much colored milk on your brush, so shake off excess colored milk before you paint your bread. When you have finished decorating your hearts, toast them in a toaster or toaster oven. You can also place them on a baking sheet and set them under a broiler set at low heat. Broil for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. Serve your toast with your favorite spreads or create a conversation heart sandwich.
This is a really fun thing to make for your kids, but it would be so fun to make with your kids too! After you create your own conversation heart toast, be sure to take a picture and send it to me. I'd love to see your creativity!
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