I'm perpetually late for things. I can't help it. Case in point: I had initially wanted to make this cake for Valentine's Day. Well, here we are, in May. But really, these sugar hearts are cute enough to make at any time. I think that I originally saw them used on a wedding cake!
What You'll Need:
2 cups sugar (or more, depending on the number of colors you want), divided
4 teaspoons egg white or liquid meringue (1 teaspoon of meringue powder mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water)
Paste food coloring (found at local crafts store)
Large cutting board, baking sheet, or other flat surface, lined with silpat or parchment paper
Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper
Ateco aspic cutters or small heart cookie cutters
1. Place ½ cup sugar in medium bowl. Add a small amount of paste food coloring and mix thoroughly. This will be your darkest color. Add more if needed until desired color is achieved.
Add 1 teaspoon egg white or meringue liquid and mix thoroughly until the mixture resembles wet sand. Be careful not to add too much liquid or you will dissolve the sugar.
2. Empty contents onto silpat or parchment lined cutting board or baking sheet. Spread with hand or spatula and pat down, then roll over mixture with rolling pin to compress. Ideally, the flattened mixture should be as compact as possible and level, about ¼”. Press heart cutter into mixture and lift up. Place hearts on lined baking sheet. If cutter will not release heart, gently tap with the back of a butter knife. Repeat 10-20 times or as many as desired. If hearts will not hold their shape, add more egg white or meringue liquid in small increments and mix thoroughly. If sugar builds up in cutter, rinse with warm water and pat dry before continuing.
Pour remaining colored sugar back into bowl and proceed to Step 3.
3. Add ½ cup sugar to colored sugar from Step 2 to lighten. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue. If desired color is not achieved, continue adding additional ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue and mixing thoroughly until desired color is achieved.
Repeat Step 2.
Continue with Steps 2 and 3 until desired shades and number of sugar hearts are achieved. Leftover sugar can be stored in ziplock bags for future use.
4. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat hearts in oven for 10 minutes. Allow to harden overnight. Sugar hearts will be the consistency of sugar cubes.
5. Attach sugar heats to cake using royal icing.