Spicy Hot and Icy Cool: Peppermint Patties and Cinnamon Disks
Every once and a while everyone needs a night off. Sure, there are plenty of evenings where time piddles away and at bedtime I realize that I haven’t accomplished anything I set out to accomplish. But an evening of piddling doesn’t have the same relaxing effect as making a clear statement from the beginning that it is an evening of non-productivity. A chance to do something frivolous, just because it is fun. No matter how much else needs to get done, it is not going to happen until tomorrow.
The occasional evening like that makes all the difference in the world, and with my husband out of town and the baby sleeping, last night seemed like the perfect opportunity.
So what do I do for fun, just because? Candy making of course. Ever since making the peppermint patties for the chocolate ice cream I have been wanting to make them again, they were so easy, fun and delicious.
They do take a little bit of advance planning, but they come together so quickly the preparation barely took 5 minutes the day before so I was ready.
I decided to make two flavors, cool peppermint and spicy hot cinnamon. Obviously peppermint patties are much more common, but the cinnamon ones are fantastic. The spicy cinnamon and dark chocolate compliment each other perfectly. I am sure I will be making these cinnamon disks again and again.
It was finally cool enough in my kitchen that I was willing to attempt tempering chocolate to dip them. (without central air chocolate work has been out of the question all summer). Tempering is the process that makes it possible for chocolate to set with a nice shine and snap at room temperature. It is not all that difficult, but it is somewhat fussy and a hot or humid environment makes it virtually impossible to be successful. Since it is easier to temper larger amounts of chocolate I used some of the leftover tempered chocolate to practice making molded chocolates. It is something I can’t quite get the hang of, they always come out of the molds with discolored spots and streaks. In the past I thought the problem was improperly tempered chocolate, but this time I know the chocolate was in temper because the patties and disks came out perfectly.
I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, but I will keep trying. I have been wanting to take a chocolate techniques series at the Institute of Culinary Education to learn techniques of molding but it never seems to fit my schedule. Maybe someday.
In the meantime I will keep trying and stick to dipped chocolates when I need a presentable finished product.
Peppermint Patties and Cinnamon Disks (recipe based on the one in The Perfect Scoop)
For strongly flavored candies make the dough a bit stronger than you would want to eat on its own. The intensity of the flavor is tempered by the chocolate coating. Different oils vary in strength so start with less and add more to taste. Make the candy the day before you plan on dipping it.
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons water
5-10 drops peppermint or cinnamon oil
bittersweet chocolate, tempered for dipping (If you do not want to bother with tempering dip the candies in untempered chocolate and chill in the freezer until the chocolate is set. Store the finished candies in the refrigerator or freezer. The chocolate coating will be thicker than if dipped in tempered chocolate)
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper and lightly dust it with confectioners sugar.
In a bowl, mix the corn syrup, water, and mint extract or oil. Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. As the mixture thickens, knead it with your hands until it forma a smooth ball (it will seem dry at first, but it will come together).
Pat the dough out onto the sugar-dusted baking sheet about 1/2 inch thick and let it dry, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Melt and temper the chocolate.
Dust the extra sugar off the candy dough. Cut the dough into circles 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I used the back end of a large piping tip). Using a fork, completely submerge each circle in the chocolate. Scrape the excess chocolate off on the side of the bowl and place the dipped circle on a parchment lined baking sheet (the easiest way to do this is to place the fork only half way under the candy circle, touch one edge of the dipped circle to the parchment and gently pull the fork out). Decorate as desired and let set.