This Valentine’s Day, skip the candy bag and make some DIY hearts to share! Packaged treats are often full of chemical preservatives, added sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients. And while our version of the classic holiday treats aren’t 100 percent good for you (they’re candy, after all!), they’re a more wholesome (and keto-friendly) option than the store-bought variety thanks to beef gelatin, freeze-dried fruit, and a sugar alternative. Since they need a full day to dry, be sure to start your batch ahead of time. One note: We suggest donning a pair of gloves while you work to protect your hands from food coloring stains.
Yield: 30 to 40 hearts
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 25 hours
1 (1.2-ounce) bag freeze-dried strawberries
1 (1.2-ounce) bag freeze-dried bananas
1 (1.2-ounce) bag freeze-dried blueberries
¼ cup berry-flavored sparkling water
¾ teaspoon beef gelatin
2 ½ to 3 cups Swerve confectioners sugar replacement, plus more for kneading
Natural food coloring of choice
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Edible color marker
Add freeze-dried fruit to a food processor one by one and pulse until powdery; set aside.
Pour sparkling water into a medium heatproof bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top; let sit for 5 minutes. Bring 1-inch of water to boil in a medium saucepan and place bowl over the top. Whisk until gelatin is fully dissolved; remove from heat.
Add ½ cup sweetener to the bowl with the gelatin and use a hand mixer to blend. Add more, ½ cup at a time, mixing until the dough is crumbly. (You may not need all of the sweetener.) Sprinkle the freeze-dried fruit powder on top and mix with your hands until fully combined.
Form dough into a ball and slice into two halves. Working with one piece at at time, make a hole in the center and add a few drops of food coloring. Cover hole and knead dough on a cutting board sprinkled with additional sweetener until evenly colored.
Sprinkle more sugar on the board and roll dough into a ¼-inch thick disc. Cut out shapes with a heart-shaped cutter. Place hearts on a parchment-lined sheet tray and let dry at room temperature for 24 hours total, flipping them over halfway through. Write sweet notes on top using an edible color marker. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Recipe credit: Angela Gaines
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