Remember these little beauties I pointed you to? I finally made them.
I am such a sucker for conventional products that I realize can be easily made myself. A few examples to make my point… I make my own laundry soap and dishwashing detergent. And of course you all remember the marshmallows and the kettle corn. Pancakes, waffles, scones, soups, muffins, cakes and cookies do not usually appear in box, can, log or bag form before they hit our hungry mouths.
My sister-in-law is even more diligent about making many of her own food and household items. Her reasoning? Budget. Mine? I love the feeling of being self-sufficient. I am a do-er and whatever I can do for myself without having to depend on something or someone makes me feel strong, independent and like the women who appears in that classic illustration where she is showing off her less than lady-like biceps and telling the world she is in control and can do it herself.
As do many strong personality traits this can be a great asset but it can also be my downfall. Somehow I manage to bury myself in work, life, kids, house and carry all that weight on my shoulders refusing to ask for help. Or when I do it is often late in the process giving me plenty of time to feel guilty, tired, worn down and thinking that I am the only woman in the world who simply can not manage to do it all myself. I know this isn’t a unique problem I have. More and more I am realizing that it is a woman thing. We want to do all and be all to everybody.
I don’t really know how I got on this tangent that seeks to uncover the truth that lies in most women. I simply wanted to tell you more about this fantastic recipe. Seriously, just the other day I was admiring the deliciousness that is Junior Mints. As Gabe and I sat in the movie theater watching “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (great movie by the way), eating our chocolate covered mints that we risked our lives to smuggle in. I savored the harmony that is chocolate and mint. The creamy chocolate melts away on your tongue revealing a refreshing mint filled interior leaving your mouth feeling as if you have just brushed your teeth (except that you haven’t and you really should after you consume these because they are laden with sugar, your dentist should thank me). On this occasion we ate them straight from the box, however I enjoy them the most straight from the freezer.
On New Year’s Eve I created a dessert smorgasboard for a room full of lucky diners. Apple sorbet with a meringe cap, a banana chocolate soufflee with a warm chocolate sauce and a cookie plate filled with Macarons, honey-spiced nuts, caramels and Peppermint Patties.
Like most things you make from scratch these ones tasted better than their convential cousins. I used Valrhona 70% chocolate to enrobe the creamy interior creating a slightly less sweet confection. The tempered dark chocolate snapped flawlessly under the weight of my teeth giving way to the aroma of mint.
I am telling you, these little candies are a sure way of impressing your friends and neighbors. People are so fascinated by the thought of being able to make something that we have so grown accostumed to seeing in a shiny package at the grocery store.
I hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive me for I do not have an image to show you the beauty that little treats hold. Let this be more encouragement to make this recipe as they were so delicious there was not a single one left to photograph My sweet husband, Gabe, found an image. It may not be the prettiest but this was the only photo taken before they were devoured.
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (less than 1 pound), divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)
- 10 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Valrhona, Guanaja)
- Equipment: a 1-inch round cookie cutter; a digital instant-read thermometer
Beat 2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening, and salt using an electric mixer (with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at medium speed until just combined. Knead on a work surface dusted with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until smooth. Roll out between sheets of parchment paper on a large baking sheet into a 7- to 8-inch round (less than 1/4 inch thick). Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove top sheet of paper and sprinkle round with confectioners sugar. Replace top sheet, then flip round over and repeat sprinkling on other side.
Cut out as many rounds as possible with cutter, transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gather scraps, reroll, and freeze, then cut out more rounds, freezing them.
Temper chocolate and coat filling: (Here is another great tutorial for tempering chocolate – Don’t be scared just try it).
Melt three fourths of chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove bowl from pan and add remaining chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool until thermometer inserted at least 1/2 inch into chocolate registers 80°F.
Return water in pan to a boil and remove from heat. Set bowl with cooled chocolate over pan and reheat, stirring, until thermometer registers 88 to 91°F. Remove bowl from pan.
Balance 1 peppermint round on a fork and submerge in melted chocolate, letting excess drip off and scraping back of fork against rim of bowl if necessary, then return patty to sheet. Coat remaining rounds, rewarming chocolate to 88 to 91°F as necessary. Let patties stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
Cooks’ note: Patties keep, layered between sheets of parchment in an airtight container, chilled, 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.