This is a fondant recipe, of sorts, but there is so much extra powdered sugar folded in that it hardens and becomes a candy. I haven't done much in the way of oversizing things for the sake of oversizing things in this donut pan series, but these are so fun and costume-y I had to make them. You could have a lot of fun with colors and flavors for these, of course, and I think they could benefit from some citric acid next time around to cut the sweetness. They will be perfect valentines for some of our friends.
I found a recipe for valentine conversation hearts here and adapted it for my giant candy. These take about a day to dry (although are pretty good after 12 hours), so plan accordingly.
For fifteen candies you will need one two pound bag of powdered sugar plus 3-6 more cups for kneading, 1/2 c. boiling water, one packet (1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin, two tsp. light corn syrup, food coloring, fruity extracts (lemon, raspberry, etc.) and unflavored Kool-Aid (optional). You will also need cooking spray, elastic cord and assorted ribbons.
Start by adding the packet of gelatin and two tsp. light corn syrup to 1/2 cup boiling water in a small bowl. Stir until gelatin and corn syrup are dissolved.
Pour the gelatin mixture into a larger mixing bowl and, one cup at a time, use an electric hand mixer to blend in the two pounds of powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides often.
The mixture will be very stiff with lots of pointy shapes when you're done incorporating the whole two pounds of powdered sugar.
Turn the mixture out onto a working surface that has been heavily covered in powdered sugar. Start to knead, folding in more and more powdered sugar until mixture is satiny and no longer sticky. This will take a few minutes and probably a cup or two of powdered sugar.
Form a ball with the candy and cover it with plastic wrap while you grease your pans.
The trick to greasing the pans is to form a loose paste made of cooking spray and powdered sugar. Spray the donut pan cavities lightly with the spray, then sprinkle each with powdered sugar. Work the sugar into the spray with your fingers and spread around the cavity. If it becomes too thick and won't stick to the sides, add more spray. If it becomes too loose and wet, add more powdered sugar. You want the pans to have a somewhat dry, matte look to them when they are ready. Too wet and you'll ruin the candy. Use your intuition.
For the colors and flavors, I tried two things but only recommend one. Adding your own flavors via extract and colors via food coloring works beautifully. Separate your candy into as many flavors as you would like. Each candy ring will be two ounces, so dividing it by weight is a great idea. After you add the color and flavor (here I used raspberry extract and red food coloring) you will need to then knead in even MORE powdered sugar until the candy becomes "unsticky" again.
After you've got a nice, satiny candy to work with, measure out a two ounce portion. Keep the rest of the candy under wrap or in a bag so it won't dry out further while you're working. Pull the candy back on itself so you get a smooth top surface and roll into a smooth ball.
Next, poke a hole through the middle and twirl on a finger or two to stretch the hole out.
Place smooth side down into a greased pan and then press the back firmly all around until it is flat and smooth. Repeat as necessary.
Here is an idea I found in the comment section of the recipe I am adapting. Someone suggested adding unflavored Kool Aid, so I did. While it is a brilliant idea to get intense flavoring and coloring into your candy in one fell swoop, the Kool Aid never fully breaks down in the powdered sugar candy mixture. It later blooms and makes color splotches in the final product after it dries, making it much less pretty than the candies made without it. If you try it, remember you've got to knead more powdered sugar in after the Kool Aid to dry it out.
When your trays are full, let the candy sit for at least twelve hours.
After twelve hours, release the candy from the pans by inverting over a kitchen towel and wrapping the pan (slamming it, to be honest) on the counter really hard. They should all come out in one or two tries. If you can let the candy sit another twelve hours it will become much, much harder. You want to get it out of the pans at this point so the rounded side gets a chance to air out as much as the back did.
To make necklaces, grab some elastic cord and any sort of ribbon you choose.
You can do a single or a triple or whatever kind of necklace you'd like! I paired two rings together back to back to make a full donut form. I then laced elastic cord through as shown, and tied a knot at the end of the cord at a length I liked for a necklace. I wove decorative ribbon through this loose cord connection at the top of the "donut" to secure the cord in place.
So pretty! You can see below how the Kool-Aid candy isn't perfect, so I'll try that again. But, I'm SURE I can find a kid around here who wants to eat it anyway! xoxo