Sophisticated Sugar: Mint Patties

MintPatties

Growing up, I made these every year with my mom. The smell of spearmint always takes me back to kneading in the food coloring of these sweet and minty candies. These holiday treats are perfect for making with kids since they are simple and delicious!

Mints

1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp spearmint extract (peppermint extract or mint extract work just fine, though the flavor will be slightly different)
1 lb. powdered sugar
Food coloring – totally optional

In a large bowl, use egg beaters to mix the corn syrup, butter, salt and extract. Next, add the sugar a little at a time. Once the dough becomes too thick for the beaters, continue mixing in the remainder of the sugar by kneading with your hands. This is a great time to get any little ones running around the house involved! Add a few drops of food coloring if you like, and knead until the color is homogeneous.

Roll into small balls with your hands and place on a  sheet of wax paper. Using a fork dipped in powdered sugar, press down on the mint balls to flatten. Twist the fork 90 degrees and press down softly again to create a checkered pattern. Mints can be enjoyed as is, dipped in chocolate, or dusted with powdered sugar just before serving as shown above. (Note: if dusting with powdered sugar, remember the sugar will dissolve into the mints after several hours, so dust just before serving.)

Sophisticated Sugar: Chocolate Christmas Tree Suckers

ChristmasTreeSuckers

 

 

Kids LOVE these chocolate suckers. Anything on a stick is awesome at that age, and then to add chocolate and sprinkles! Ha – those little kiddos didn’t know life could get so good.

Chocolate Christmas Tree Suckers

Melting chocolate – milk, dark or white, any will do
Sprinkles – or anything you’d like to see hanging on your trees
Sucker Sticks
Zip-loc Bag
Paper and Markers
Wax Paper

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Using the marker, draw out a template on your paper. I did simple, tall triangles. These will help me make all my trees the same size and symmetrical. Next melt chocolate in either a microwave or a double-boiler and pour melted chocolate into a zip-loc bag.

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Snip the tip off the corner of the bag, making a very small whole, and squeeze a line of chocolate out and down the center of one tree. Place stick on top of chocolate.

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Starting at the top of the tree, squeeze more chocolate out to form your tree.

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Add sprinkles! This is a great step for kids to get involved with – you can let them decorate their own trees or individualize each tree (peanuts for dad, pink sprinkles for little sister, and cranberries for grandma!) These make fantastic gifts, especially because they are so fast and easy – you can make dozens in hardly any time at all.

These chocolate suckers are great for any occasion. You could make pumpkins for Halloween (White chocolate, colored orange, and use M&Ms, and licorice to make Jack-O-Lantern eyes and mouths), or hearts for Valentines Day (with Red Hots or white pearl sprinkles). Seriously – you could make anything.

 

Sophisticated Sugar: Peppermint Bark

PeppermintBark

 

Of all the candies I have ever made – and I’ve made a lot – no other candy has received so many compliments. With a satisfying snap, this creamy white chocolate is filled with tantalizing peppermint.

 

Peppermint Bark Homemade Candy Bars

3 cups melting white chocolate
12 candy canes (one box)
Mini Loaf Pan

 

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To make these delightful homemade ‘candy bars’, start by cutting pieces of wax paper to line the inside each opening of the loaf pan. Cut the paper to line the bottom of each opening, and still be long enough to continue up two of the sides. Later these wax papers will be used to pull chocolate up and out of the loaf pan.

Crush candy canes. This is best done in either a food processor or blender – crush candy canes until half powder, half small pieces.

Melt white chocolate. You can either microwave the chocolate on half power (a minute at  first, then 30 seconds after that, stirring frequently), or place the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler (just be careful to NOT allow water to get into chocolate as it will ruin it.)

Once chocolate it fully melted, mix chocolate and peppermint cane together thoroughly.

Spoon melted chocolate with peppermint into loaf pan. Each ‘candy bar’ should be about 1/4 inch thick. Two small spoonfuls is usually about right. Once all are full, lift pan two inches above the counter top and drop to tap out any air bubbles and to smooth the top. Do this several times. Place pan in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes or until firm. Pull on wax paper to remove chocolate. Fold wax paper around chocolate, and then wrap in paper for an adorable gift!