Oh man, I am so behind on posting Valentine's Day desserts--there's a huge backlog on my blog queue!--because my every spare minute has been going into catering a department Valentine's party yesterday (more on that in a few days). But now that it's over, I can finally catch up with the times!
One of my favorite, favorite candies on Valentine's Day is conversation hearts. I know, they're probably tacky like the rest of Valentine's Day, but there's something so classic and succinct about them that's irresistible to me. In fact, I'm munching on a box right now. :-P
I wanted to translate conversation hearts into a true dessert for Valentine's Day, and after some serious consideration and questionable prototypes last year, I finally figured out these Conversation Heart Cupcakes this year, which I'm really happy with! With the forms in place, I also set out to update those messages on the hearts for the 21st century:
Ah, yes. Welcome to the digital age! Hehe, thinking up new messages for these conversation hearts were so much fun. How about some Twitter-inspired ones?
(Though not pictured, I also had ones that said "RT me" and "DM me.") Or, some Facebook-inspired hearts?
I had to also, of course, pay homage to one of my favorite tech sites, Gizmodo, with a <3modo cupcake. And, the "I Digg U" one is credited to Richard, who proudly came up with the whole tech-inspired idea in the first place.
Of course, I also couldn't quite resist making a sideways dig at Apple, because, quite honestly, they really need to coin a better term for their video-output connectors than "dongle." Hehe.
Yeah, dongle just took on a whole new meaning. :-P
The conversation hearts are actually super easy and simple to make. They are made out of flavored couverture chocolate, and the hardest part is really the writing on the top. :-) Underneath, I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting just because I love the bright red-ness for Valentine's Day. And, I made more pina colada cupcakes, too, because they are just so darn good.
I took these cupcakes to the event that I was catering, and everyone was so incredibly thrilled, but I think what they loved even more were the linguistics-inspired conversation hearts, which were the perfect meld of geeky, suggestive, naughty, and sweet:
Yes, I kid you not: those are all technical linguistics terms. :-P
I hope you all have a wonderful and lovely Valentine's Day, full of sweet, yummy treats!
Read on for directions on making conversation heart cupcake toppers.
How to: Conversation Heart Cupcake Toppers
nonstick parchment paper
colored couverture chocolate, available at candy stores or cake decorating supply stores
long, flat, metal spatula (a dough scraper is perfect for this job)
cookie cutters (heart shaped)
disposable piping bags, or if using non-disposable, fit the piping bag with a very small round tip.
1. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. (I use a marble slab for this job, since it sets the chocolate more quickly.)
2. In a bowl, heat the couverture chocolate in the microwave, heating for thirty-seconds at a time and stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
3. Immediately pour the chocolate onto the prepared parchment paper. Working quickly, use the spatula or dough scraper to spread the chocolate out into one thin sheet, slightly less than 1/8 of an inch (or slightly less than a half of a centimeter) thick. Be careful not to spread it too thinly, or it will be difficult to work with later.
4. Wait for the chocolate to start setting. Immediately when the chocolate is just barely set (when you can touch your finger to the chocolate and it comes away clean), use the cookie cutters to cut out hearts from the chocolate. Lift the hearts away by peeling off the parchment paper.
5. Remelt the cracked hearts and leftover chocolate and repeat the first four steps until you have your desired number of chocolate hearts.
6. For the lettering, melt more chocolate in the microwave, heating for thirty-seconds at a time and stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. The chocolate should also not be too hot.
7. Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag. Cut a very small round hole at the bottom. Pipe out your messages onto the hearts and let dry.
8. Once you've made your cupcakes, place the hearts on the frosting immediately after you frost the cupcakes.