Holiday Giveaway: Peppermint Patties & Cow Tales!

This is one of those years when I wonder why I even bother to make cookies around the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love cookies. And I love to give people treats. The problem is my inability to plan ahead. I devoted my entire weekend to making holiday goodies. And as I stood in my kitchen Sunday evening sipping a glass of wine and gazing at an endless line of cookies and piles of peppermint patties and cowtales, my sense of accomplishment was suddenly eclipsed by one question: What the heck am I going to put all these things in?! Stuffing some cookies in a ziploc bag might cut it at any other time of year, but this is December, and nothing less than fancy will do!

That’s why next year, I’m sticking to candy. It has a longer shelf-life, it’s cute, and it’s pretty impressive! And maybe it’s just my sweet tooth talking, but after trying the peppermint patties and cowtales then moving on to the cookies, my initial reaction was, “hmmm, these are good, but I think I’d like them more if they were CANDY.”

So, it’s Wednesday, and things have finally made their way into pretty boxes, the postal system, friends’ tummies, etc. But I’ve got a ton of leftovers, and I’d like to give some away! Leave a comment telling me what holiday treats you made, received, or just plain love by midnight on Friday. I will announce the three randomly-chosen winners Saturday afternoon on Facebook, followed by a post Sunday morning. And for those of you who’d like to make your own peppermint patties, the recipe is below. You can find the cow tales recipe on Sprinkle Bakes. (Heather has beautiful pictures of both the making-of and the end result!)

A note to the lucky winners: You will probably want to keep these refrigerated if you aren’t going to eat them right away. Most peppermint patty recipes you find will call for corn syrup, confectionery sugar, and water. I prefer the creaminess that using condensed milk adds, but that means that there is dairy in these. I’m not sure how quickly they’d spoil at room temp, but better to err on the side of caution. As for the cow tales, I began making them and realized I had no vegetable shortening, and substituted butter instead. Delicious, but also dairy!

Homemade Peppermint Patties

(adapted from Allrecipes)

yield: approximately 28 large (2½-inch) or 40 smaller (1½-inch) patties

  • 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4–5 cups of confectionery sugar (I used a little under 5)
  • 24 oz. of dark, high-quality chocolate (I used only 21 oz. and it was barely enough)
  • a handful of soft peppermint candies, crushed

Combine the condensed milk and peppermint extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the confectionery sugar until the mixture is stiff and no longer sticky.

Form into balls and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten with the bottom of something smooth (like a glass).

Allow the patties to dry out at room temperature for about 2 hours. If they still feel a little soft after 2 hours, pop them in the fridge so they’ll stiffen up and be easier to dip in the chocolate.

To temper the chocolate:

Roughly chop chocolate, then place around a little bit less than 2/3 of it in the top pan of a double boiler. Stir occasionally with a silicon spatula until the chocolate has completely melted and reached 115°, then remove from heat.

Stir in the remaining chocolate, making sure all of it dissolves. Continue stirring until the temperature of the chocolate is between 91°–88°.

Dip patties in chocolate and place on wax paper. Immediately sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies on top.

Give the candies about an hour to set, then dig in!


  1. Alexis says

    My mom always sends me caramel creams, the round sister of cow tales, for my birthday and usually sticks some in my stocking too. I’ve never made my own candy before but both of these sound AWESOME.

  2. says

    I actually took a vacation day before the kids start winter break so I could bake all day in the quiet house. I’m making matcha shortbread, molasses ginger cookies, pecan chocolate chunk cookies, Indian coconut cashew cardamom fudge, 2 sweet potato pies, and a bourbon chocolate pecan pie. I’m about half done baking cookies and about to start rolling out pie crust. I love cow tails!

  3. Annie says

    So far I have made white chocolate popcorn and chocolate caramel dipped pretzels! There are so many more things to do! Peppermint patties are my favorite treat….EVER!

  4. jennifer says

    I love making chocolate nut clusters or chocolate dipped pretzel sticks. Though my new favorite treat to make is baklava. YUM!!!

  5. jenne says

    I just made a chocolate peppermint cheesecake with mint whipped cream that was divine and of course some wonderful chocolate chip cookies. I’d love to win some of your fabulous treats and I plain on trying out your peppermint patties. I think I’m on a peppermint kick! YUM! ;)

  6. Tammy Campbell says

    Is that sweetened condensed milk for the recipe? Just making sure :) I make toffee every year and rum balls that the hubby insists on, then scottish shortbread and sugar cookies – and whatever else strikes our fancy :) Can’t wait to try making the peppermint patties this year! :)


  7. Julie says

    Ooh, I cannae resist a contest to win yummies I don’t have to make myself! <3

    I haven't made anything snackwise yet, but I recently found a recipe for toffee—the kind with dark chocolate and caramel drizzled together—and was thinking of trying that, as the husband has a newfound love for things of that nature with sea salt sprinkled on. However, given his even greater and longer-standing love of Junior Mints, I think these peppermint patties have just risen to the top of my "must try this!" list. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

    While I'm commenting, I wondered if there was any substitute you might be aware of for the gelatin in the cow tales. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, but gelatin always grosses me out nonetheless. Would it be a tragedy to just omit that? And is condensed milk the same as sweetened condensed milk [which is all I'm familiar with] or are there two distinct kinds?

    • says

      Hi Julie! I definitely know what you mean about the gelatin. This was actually only my second time working with the stuff—the first time I decided to stick my face in a mixing bowl to see what it smelled like, and immediately recoiled in horror. :P I do think that giving the mixture a gelatinous consistency is somewhat necessary, so perhaps pectin would work just as well? (I haven’t worked with it myself, but I think it should do the trick.) As for the condensed milk, I’m not sure if there are two varieties, but I used sweetened. (Someone else also asked about that, so I will update it in the recipe!)

  8. Susie D. says

    My favorite treat for the holiday is magic cookie bars, straight out of the freezer. But I won’t be making any this year :( Just too tired.

  9. says

    Omg, these are two of my all-time favorite treats, how cool! I just made some red velvet cheesecake brownies and I plan on making a peppermint, white chocolate cheesecake for christmas eve.

  10. Anne says

    I just made some delicious chai snickerdoodles for the first time and they were perfect for the holiday season! I think next I’ll have to make those awesome looking cow tales, they were always my favorite candy growing up!

  11. Judith says

    I spent the better part of the weekend making magic cookie bars, pretzel bark, chocolate chip cookies and jam thumbprint cookies. Most of which will got to a Christmas luncheon at work and gifts to friends and co-workers. These candies look wonderful.

  12. says

    I’ve been making peppermint ice cream, cranberry sherbet, and of course, cookie cutter buttery cookies. Giving homemade ice cream always gets a smile.

  13. says

    These remind me of Goetz caramel creams that I used to stock in the ice cream parlour/candy store I managed when I was a teen. Wonderful link, thanks! and I like your creams recipe too. Dont like the pasty mint, prefer the creamier. Happy Holidays!

  14. candace says

    my mom and i are going to attempt to add a few candies to our cookie baking list. i adored cow tails as a child. im also a fan of chocolate covered marshmallows!

  15. Noelle says

    I am really looking forward to making these peppermint patties! The candy that I have made this holiday season for gifts includes English toffee with crushed walnuts and peppermint bark in the shape of snowflakes.

  16. Hannah says

    These are gorgeous, as is your packaging! :) I’m actually baking your gingerbread lemon sandwich cookies right now (and scrambling to get my packages ready to send)!

    • says

      Oooo, awesome! I made those again this year, but in un-sandwiched form with a little icing on top. I also make homemade milano cookies, which was a semi-tedious process, but totally worth it!

  17. Sarah says

    Peppermint patties are one of my favorites. I have never had a home made one. They look amazing-specially with all the candy cane topping. Thanks for the recipe. If I don’t win, I’m going to have to try to make them.

  18. Billie Brownell says

    I LOVE toffee. Absolutely love it. I once bought three boxes of toffee to give as gifts — and kept them for myself!

  19. Jennifer says

    So far I have made caramels plain and with macadamia nuts, and chocolate salted caramels. This weekend we start the cookie marathon at my sisters house.

  20. jenne says

    I tried making your recipe today and found that I need to add a lot more sugar. At least 2-3 cups total to make a soft dough. Very delicious though and thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Whoa, thank you for pointing that out, Jenne! That was a total typo on my part. I don’t know where I got 1 1/3 from, but it’s supposed to be between 4–5. I am sorry for the confusion, and I will amend that right away!

  21. says

    I love that your recipe doesn’t call for corn syrup – #1 because I’ve never cooked with corn syrup and just don’t want to for some reason and #2 because I don’t have any in the house, and I definitely have condensed milk in the pantry! These look great. And I love the boxes you packed your goodies in.

    • says

      Thank you, Meghan! I know what you mean—corn syrup is one of those things I never have on hand. I’ve become a little less wary of it after doing a fair amount of reading on the properties of sweeteners and why certain ones work best for different things, but I do try to avoid using it in excess whenever possible.

  22. shana says

    These treats were amazing!! I have been informed by the family that I need to learn how to make them :) Luckily, I have great recipes here. Thank you so much for the giveaway. And, no need to refrigerate. The treats were gone in hours. Thanks!

  23. says

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog audience have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

    • says

      Thank you! I don’t seem to have too many compatibility issues between browsers (at least as far as I know). I’m not too tach savvy when it comes to wonkiness across browsers, although I have noticed issues with other sites when I use firefox vs. chrome. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!


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