Monday, February 17, 2014

. . . Homemade Peppermints . . .

I realize that technically Valentine's Day is over but due to our snowstorm last week my son's school rescheduled Valentine's Day to today.  I didn't want to make these too early so they would be fresh so I waited until after Valentine's Day to make them so you'll have to excuse me for being so late.  I decided to share because they are so good and it is easy to adapt them for any holiday or occasion.  I'm thinking pastel colors for Easter cut out in mini eggs and 4th of July in red, white and blue cut into little stars and baby or bridal showers in the color of your choice...the list could go on since they are so versatile!

This recipe came from Mom on Timeout and she really has a winner with this one!  They are creamy and minty and are the perfect amount of sweet.  You could use any flavoring you'd like.  I chose mint but was thinking I'd like cinnamon or lemon for them.  Whatever flavor you choose will be awesome I'm sure.

I have actually made these a couple times and learned a lot on my first round.  I had no idea that the mixture never really forms a ball until you knead it and I also learned that the food coloring doesn't absorb real well until you knead it to blend it all in.  My favorite thing is to mix up the colors to create a tie dyed effect.  These would be so cute for a tie dye party with all bright colors mixed together.  
 . . . you will need . . .

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 - 2 tsp your choice of extract or candy flavoring
**if you are using mint extract add it by 1/4 teaspoonfuls at a time,
tasting between due to the strength of mint extract.  
food coloring - preferably gel to achieve bold colors
White sugar to roll the rolled balls in

Combine butter and corn syrup together in a small bowl with electric mixer.  Add 2 cups powdered sugar and your choice of extract and beat until well combined. Add extract 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the mixture reaches your desired flavor.  Remember if you are using mint to be very careful how much you add.  It is very potent.  Mix in an additional cup of powdered sugar.
Turn bowl onto a cutting board or counter sprinkled with last cup of powdered sugar.
Knead the mixture until sugar is absorbed and is completely smooth. Divide dough into as many portions as you want so you can color them with food coloring. Tint with color of your choice but if you want bold colors be sure to use food coloring gel which can be found at stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  Shape into 3/4 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Flatten balls gently with a fork.
Use a small heart shaped (or any shape you want) cookie cutter to cut. Let candies stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 day. Store in an airtight container or package up for gift giving.  

 Mix your butter and powdered sugar together with electric mixer.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and flavoring extract and mix well.  Add one more cup of powdered sugar until you have what looks like fine powder.  It is not going to form a dough until the next step.

 Dump 1 cup of powdered sugar on a cutting board or your counter (I used a marble pastry board) and add the flavored mixture to this.  Knead the mixture into the powdered sugar until you get a smooth ball of "dough" as seen below.

 Divide your dough into separate bowls for coloring or if you are just using one color place in one bowl.  Add food coloring gel for bold colors.  I used Wilton Gel Purple and Rose Pink to get my colors.

 Food coloring may not get mixed in completely with your mixer so you will have to knead it again until it's well blended.  

 Roll the dough into 3/4 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.

 Flatten ball gently with a fork so your finished mints have little ridges in them.  It works best to do the ridges before you cut them or you end up flattening your shape.

 Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to create your finished mint.  You could use any shape cookie cutter as long as they are small.
 Save all your scraps and roll them together to create a tie dyed look.  These are my favorites.

 . . . pretty enough to eat . . .

. . . perfection . . .

 . . . yummy in the tummy . . .
 I packaged mine in plastic Valentine's cups and wrapped them in cellophane and tied a cute "Mint" to be tag to them with tulle ribbon.  Perfect gift for teachers and principals for Valentine's Day!

. . . mint to be my valentine . . .

 This is just a bonus picture to show you what I sent in for my son's classmates.  Grabbed a package of Valentine's Day gummy bears and tied this cute tag to each bag with some baker's twine.  

. . . easy peasy . . .

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