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!