"Sweet talk."

"True love."

"Heat wave."

Those are just a few of the messages displayed on a Valentine's Day staple: the candy heart.

But nothing quite says "I love you" like a gift from the heart - homemade candy.

Despite the elegant appearance of

many Valentine's Day treats, some candy is simple to create, said Jennifer Heasley, blog writer and host of Sports Journey show "Cooking With The Pros."

On her shows, Heasley, of York Township, combines cooking and conversation with professional athletes while she demonstrates how to make a variety of foods.

A recent episode featured members of the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team, who helped her cook brunch dishes including fruit parfaits and chocolate-stuffed French toast.

WEEKLY. Campbell’s Cake and Candy Supplies sells valentine decorations made out of royal icing.  YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN
WEEKLY. Campbell's Cake and Candy Supplies sells valentine decorations made out of royal icing. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--J)

"I've been cooking my entire life," she said.

For Valentine's Day, Heasley plans to make special treats and candy including chocolate truffles.

"They're easier than people think," she said. "You're really just melting chocolate."

* * *

Brenda Allen of Chanceford Township learned to make candy about seven years

ago as a way to use her family's seasonal

business facility - Snow Palace in West York, which makes snow cones, milk shakes and other summer treats - during the fall and winter.

The family created Clear Toy Candy - a division of Snow Palace that makes candy, peanut brittle and fudge to sell at shows and in local restaurants and stores including Brown's Orchards and Farm Market, Central Family Restaurant in York and New Freedom Family Restaurant.

For Valentine's Day, Clear Toy Candy is busy making sweets in the shapes of hearts and bears.

The key to making good candy includes the right balance of temperature and humidity, she said.

"If it's too humid, the candy gets sticky," she said. "It needs to be cold and dry."

* * *

This time of year is busy for Campbell's Cake & Candy Supplies in Spring Garden Township, said Jen Shindel, an employee at the store.

WEEKLY. Campbell’s Cake and Candy Supplies sells penguin decorations made out of royal icing.  YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN
WEEKLY. Campbell's Cake and Candy Supplies sells penguin decorations made out of royal icing. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--J)

Campbell's sells a variety of candy-making supplies, including molds that cost $2.20 each, chocolate, flavorings and packaging products.

The store's workers also help beginner candy-makers, Shindel said.

"We walk them step-by-step," she said of customers who visit the store because they want to learn to make candy. "We have everything they need."

Be prepared

One of the most important aspects of candy-making is proper "mise en place," said Chef Jamie Good, professional baking and pastry instructor, School of Culinary Arts at Yorktowne Business Institute, via email.

"You must have all of your ingredients and equipment measured, accessible and ready to use," Good said. "Timing and temperature is critical in candy recipes, so you need to be able to move quickly and accurately with attention to detail.

"When I think of making candy for Valentine's Day I think of anything with chocolate - things like dipped strawberries and chocolate truffles with a variety of flavor contrasts," Good said. "We create truffles using all sorts of flavor ingredients like cinnamon, Cointreau, coffee, even cayenne pepper."

Learn more

· Check out www.cookingwiththepros.wordpress.com to learn more about Jennifer Heasley's "Cooking With The Pros" show and blog.

· Call 717-246-3350 to find out more about Clear Toy Candy.

· Visit Campbell's Cake & Candy Supplies at 305 S.

WEEKLY. Campbell’s Cake and Candy Supplies sells a variety of cookie cutters.  YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN
WEEKLY. Campbell's Cake and Candy Supplies sells a variety of cookie cutters. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--JASON PLOTKIN (YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS--J)
Richland Avenue in Spring Garden Township.

Pink divinity

WHEN I WAS A KID, my mother made pastel pink divinity for Valentine's Day.

It was always perfect - never too chalky or gooey- and had a smooth and creamy consistency.

It was also something special for that holiday, as I don't recall her making it any other time of year.

Here's her recipe:

· 2 cups sugar

· ½ cup light corn syrup

· ½ cup water

· pinch of salt

· 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

· 1 teaspoon vanilla

· red food coloring

· nuts, optional

Combine sugar, light corn syrup, water and salt in a two-quart saucepan.

· Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a steady boil.

Cook to a hard-ball stage.

· Remove from heat. Pour the hot mixture slowly over stiffly beaten egg whites.

· Beat on high speed with an electric mixer for about five minutes.

· Add vanilla and a few drops of red food coloring.

Continue to beat until the mixture starts to hold its shape and lose its glossiness.

Nuts can be added at this point.

· Use a teaspoon to drop the divinity onto wax paper, twirling the top of each piece.

Cool before serving.

Makes about 25 pieces.

- TERESA McMINN

Valentine's Day no-bake cheesecake

· 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

· Ð cup sugar

· 1 cup sour cream

· 1 teaspoon vanilla

· 8-ounce tub whipped topping

· Chocolate graham-cracker crust

Beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Gently beat in sugar.

Add sour cream and vanilla and blend.

Add whipped topping and blend.

Spoon blended mixture into a chocolate graham-cracker crust and chill for several hours.

Before serving, decorate the cheesecake with strawberries - sliced vertically into heart shapes - around the perimeter.

Creamy chocolate strawberry martini

· 2 ounces vanilla vodka

· ½ ounce white crème de cacao

· ½ ounce half-and-half

· red strawberry liqueur

· chocolate syrup

· cocoa powder

· granulated sugar

· sliced strawberry

In an ice-filled martini shaker, add vanilla vodka,

white creme de cacao and half-and-half, and a splash of red strawberry liqueur. Shake well.

Lightly dip the rim of a martini glass in a plate coated with chocolate syrup, then press the rim into a mixture of cocoa powder and granulated sugar.

Gently strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with a sliced strawberry.

What you said

What's your favorite Valentine's Day treat?

· "Red cinnamon hearts."

- Fran Keller, North York

· "I've always liked the heart-shaped candy with the two- or three-word sentiments and the candy necklaces. Both are classic Valentine's Day candy. But, a mixed box of chocolates in the heart-shaped box always wins points from your significant other."

- Mel Conrad, York

· "Heart-shaped, chocolate-covered marshmallow peeps."

- Andrea Myers, Shrewsbury Township

· "I like Valentine's Day sushi ... especially the ones made into hearts."

- Jeff Gochoco, Springettsbury Township

· "Conversation hearts."

- Abbie Sealover, Shrewsbury

· "My favorite Valentine's Day (candies) are cinnamon hearts."

- Teresa Taylor, York Township

· "Reese's peanut butter hearts."

- Frank Szczepanski, Cross Roads

· "I like the Dove milk chocolate hearts."

- Kelly Muldowney of Manheim Township, Lancaster County,
a teacher at Eastern York School District

· "Sweetheart candy messages."

- Victoria Connor, York

· "Godiva or anything chocolate with caramel in it."

- Tanya Markley, Manchester Township

· "Ooh ... chocolate truffles."

- Allison Leathery, York