Sunday, February 13, 2011

For Your Valentine - Quick and Easy Home Made Peppermint Patties



Count Down to Valentine's Day


These are so yummy you'll be tempted to keep them for yourself but make enough to share with your Valentine.

These "pop-in-your-mouth size" patties are too irresistible to pass up.

Too good to pass up.
Drizzel a little extra chocolate over
the tops to decorate.

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Makes 3 dozen - 1 1/2 inch patties
Keeps a week or so in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer
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Filling
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted) plus additional for rolling out and cutting (see Karla's Tips #1 below)
1/4 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites (not reconstituted dry egg white powder or fresh, raw eggs)
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (see Karla's Tips #2 below)
1 to 2 teaspoons tap water (see Karla's Tips #3 below)

Liquid, pasteurized egg whites are
usually found in the dairy case near the eggs and milk.
Sometimes they come frozen.
Pure peppermint extract is found with the spices and/or
baking supplies.

Dipping Chocolate
1 (4 oz - 60 % cocoa) bar of chocolate (see Karla's Tips #4 below)
1 tablespoon white shortening (like Crisco)


Using a heavy duty mixer, stir together powdered sugar, egg white, peppermint extract and 1 teaspoon of water. Add up to 1 additional teaspoon of water, if necessary to make a smooth (but not sticky) dough.

Dough should be firm - not sticky.

Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment. Sift a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar over each paper lined pan.

Sift powdered sugar over the parchment paper so the dough doesn't stick.

Using you hands, gather the filling dough together and put into the center of one prepared pan. Form the dough into an even roll about 18 inches long (that's the length of most standard cookie sheets). Lightly sift a little powdered sugar over the roll to dust.


Form the dough into a roll the length
of the cookie sheet - about 18 inches

Using a knife, cut the roll into 36 equal pieces (each about 1/2 inch in width). Roll each piece lightly between the palms of your hands to make a ball and place on the other cookie sheet, spacing evenly. (If some of the balls are bigger than the others, pinch a piece off the big one and roll it into the smaller one to even things out.)

Cut the roll into even pieces.

When all the dough has been rolled into balls, use a fork to lightly press each ball to flatten slightly. The dough should not stick to the fork but if it does, dip the fork in a little powdered sugar and use less pressure when flattening.

Press dough lightly with a fork to flatten

Let the patties cure, uncovered, for at least 3 hours (but not more than 5 hours) before dipping. (See Karla's Tips #5) Mean while, discard the parchment from the first cookie sheet and reline with a fresh piece. Set aside. (You'll use this later to place the chocolate covered patties on after dipping.)

Let the patties cure uncovered.

After patties have cured, microwave the chocolate and shortening together until almost melted. Stir to finish melting. Chocolate should feel warm to the touch, not hot. Keep chocolate warm over a pan of heated water. (See Karla's Tips #6)

Dip one pattie at a time into the melted chocolate. (Putting the pattie on a fork and dipping both into the chocolate works well. Use a second fork to lightly guide the dipping fork and scrape off any drips.) Scrape the bottom of the chocolate dipped pattie lightly across the rim of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place the dipped pattie on the relined cookie sheet to set. (Use the second fork to guide the pattie onto the parchment.) If the patties don't easily pop off the parchment, they are not cold enough.  Repeat with remaining patties.

Dip the patties into the warm, melted chocolate.

Refrigerate about 20 minutes to set the chocolate (or pop into the freezer for about 5 minutes). Remove from parchment when set. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an air tight container. Wrap as desired just before gift giving.


Karla's Tips
1. Be sure to sift the powdered sugar. Mixing will not get out any lumps.

2. For a mild peppermint taste use 1/4 teaspoon extract. For a strong, icy cold peppermint taste use 1/2 teaspoon.

3. Begin with 1 teaspoon water and mix it in well. Add up to 1 teaspoon more, if necessary, to make a smooth (but not sticky) dough.

4. Bars of 60 % cocoa chocolate are usually available in the baking section of grocery stores near the chocolate chips. Sometimes they're in the candy section. Any plain chocolate bar that's 60% cocoa will work. Do not use white chocolate for this recipe.

5. "Curing" is a pro term that means letting the patties dry long enough to form a crust on the outside. The inside will still be soft. You need an outside crust so you can coat the patties without having them disintegrate in the warm chocolate.

6.  Be careful not to over heat the chocolate. Over-melting/over-heating will cause the chocolate to come out of temper. Chocolate that is out of temper will look streaky and spotted. The taste won't be affected but the patties won't look as good as they should.

Make sure no water, steam or moisture gets into the melted chocolate or it will seize (get grain-y). To keep the chocolate warm, use a double boiler.

No double boiler?
Use a bowl that fits snuggly over the top of a small pot.

Put about 1 inch of water in the pot (or bottom of the double boiler) and heat. Set your bowl of chocolate (or the top of the double boiler) over the pot of water. Remove from heat for dipping. If necessary, water can be re-heated.






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