Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peppermint Patties

I think powdered sugar just might be the messiest ingredient ever... it's 10x worse even than flour.

After I made these, my kitchen looked like a war zone... that had been snowed on ;)

But, if you like peppermint, these are totally worth it.  Technically, there's no baking here, but you won't judge me, will you?

Once again, I'm a recipe thief.  Or at least borrower.  I got this recipe from here.  

I'll have a small adjustment or 2 for you as we get on, but nothing major.

Here's what you need:

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips.  (I only had roughly 2 cups (one bag), and was able to cover all of my patties.  It was a bit of a stretch at the very end, but it worked.  I don't think you *really* need that 3rd cup, if you don't have it laying around)
3 tablespoons shortening

And I'm going to say that you want some parchment paper, foil, or plastic wrap.  It doesn't matter which... it's just something to put your patties on that will be easy to peel them off of.

And here's what you'll do:

In a large mixing bowl, put condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar and peppermint extract.  Mix on medium speed (with your paddle attachment, if you have one.  If you don't, I'm sure your regular mixer is fine.)
Once everything is incorporated, add the rest of the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  By the end, your dough should be 'stiff but pliable'. 

Here's where I'm going to differ a bit from the original recipe. 
It said to roll 3/4" balls of dough.  That's what I did, and they ended up being HUGE.  You almost can't eat a whole one because they're so rich.  I'd do about half that.  So, here I'm gonna say "Do as I say, not as I do..."  the pictures are going to be off, because I made them big. 

Then, you're going to flatten it in your hand.  Don't leave it there long though.  And I'm talking within a matter of a few seconds... long enough for me to take this next picture, was long enough for the dough to get meltyish and stick to my hand.  You don't want that.  Flatten and get it off of your hand onto your plate as fast as you can.

See how big that ended up?  Yikes.  I should have known at that point.

Anyways, I put mine on plates.  That was fine, but if you can, I'd put them on parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap, because it'll be easier to get them off here in a few steps.

Once you've done this with all of your dough, put them into the freezer.  The original recipe says "no more than 30 min".  I have no idea why, or what would happen if they were in there longer, but basically they just need to be in there long enough to cool and hold their shape.

While your dough is in the freezer, it's time to melt your chocolate. 

Again, the recipe said to melt it in the microwave, but I've already told you how I feel about melting chocolate in the microwave. 

I ALWAYS use a double boiler.  The one thing I'll say about a double boiler, though, that I didn't think to mention before is that you have to be SUPER careful not to get *any* water into your chocolate.  I don't know why, but one drop of water will seriously seize that whole pot of chocolate up and make it completely unusable. 


Ok... curiosity got the better of me, and I didn't want to leave you hanging, so I went and looked it up.  Here's what happens:  Chocolate is a mixture of fat (from cocoa butter) and dry sugar and cocoa particles.  When water gets in there it reacts with the dry stuff, and they all start to stick together.  What you end up with is a MESS.  It's gritty and lumpy, and not fun, I promise you.  It's completely unusable for dipping at this point.  To read up on this, and what you can use your chocolate for if it seizes, go here.


Once your chocolate is melted, it's time to add the shortening.  I thought this tip was pretty cool.  The shortening will thin out the chocolate and make it shinier too.  That would work for lots of candy-making... or even cake balls... anything you wanted to cover in chocolate.  That little bit of shortening makes the chocolate way easier to work with.  

Anyways, work the shortening through until it's melted into the chocolate. 

At this point, you can start pulling your patties out of the freezer.  I had mine just on plates, so had to pull them off with a spatula.  That was a pain and some of them smooshed a little bit (not that you can tell from the final product, though).  You can do the same, or just peel them off of whatever you put them on.

Then, grab a fork and set a patty on the tines.  You can dunk the patty into the chocolate this way. 

You may even have to flip the patty in the chocolate to make sure that it's covered... and then use the fork to lift it out onto your baking sheet or whatever you're cooling them on.  I covered this with parchment paper too, though again, you could use foil or plastic wrap.  Just whatever makes it easy to peel them off at the end.

Don't worry if you feel like the chocolate's getting everywhere... I got better at dunking and getting them to the baking sheet very quickly, and they ended up looking much cleaner/better the more I did.  Not that it's the looks that always count.  They're yummy, and really, that's all most people care about.

Keep going until you've covered them all in chocolate.  They'll cool just fine on your counter, but if you want to speed up the process, you can put them into the fridge or freezer for a bit.

Anyways, this was a fun seasonal treat to make, and easier than I thought they'd be.  If *I* can do it, you can do it!

1 comment:

  1. Had to laugh at your "sidebar" explanation of water and melted chocolate. I was reading along and hit this:
    "I don't know why, but one drop of water will seriously seize that whole pot of chocolate up and make it completely unusable. "

    I started shaking my head, then hit your explanation. Good for you!

    They look yummy!