Wean yourself off of Christmas candies with these slightly-less-fattening treats
On Thanksgiving Day my friend Jamie brought over homemade peppermint patties shaped like turkeys and with feathers painted on in real gold paint. They tasted way, way better than store-bought patties and the turkey shapes made everyone ooh and aah. Jamie got the recipe from the Dec. 1998 issue of Gourmet magazine but over the year's she has changed it a little, adding more peppermint and the gold paint. Use your Christmas cookie cutters to make the patties in any shape you like and feel free to dip in dark chocolate or use some of the colored “confectionary coating” they sell at the Specialty Shop (5823 Lomas NE, 266-1212).
Homemade Peppermint Patties
If you want, you can make the pepperminty dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. Just make sure to bring the round back to room temperature before cutting shapes and dipping in chocolate. You can use holiday-themed cookie cutters to make small shapes like trees, candy canes or stockings.
Makes about 2-3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter
3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
Non toxic gold dust
1 ounce vodka (buy a mini at Walgreen's if you don't have a bottle at home)
1) Sift confectioners' sugar into a large bowl.
2) In a small bowl, mix together water, corn syrup, lemon juice and extract then add to the sugar. Stir or beat until combined. (You can use a stand mixer if you have one, but I find it easier to mix with a wooden spoon or my hands.) The mixture should come together as a stiff paste.
3) Lay a big piece of waxed paper on the kitchen counter and transfer the sugar mixture to it. Knead it into a ball then place another piece of waxed paper on top. With a rolling pin apply pressure and roll the mixture in to a 9-inch round (it should be about 1/4-inch thick). To keep the round from sticking, peel off the top layer of wax paper and replace with a new sheet, then turn round over and do the same. Let the round stand at room temperature for about 4 hours or until the edges are firm.
4) Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. With cookie cutters, cut out patties and place on baking sheet.
5) Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or a small metal bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water) stirring until smooth.
6) Balance a patty on a fork without spearing it and submerge in chocolate. You may need to spoon chocolate over the top to cover the patty. Remove patty and shake over the bowl of chocolate to remove any excess. Place patty on the baking sheet. Repeat until all patties are coated. Chill uncovered on baking sheet for about 1 hour or until patties are firm.
7) Mix gold dust with just enough vodka to make a watery paste. With a small paintbrush, decorate patties with dots, stripes or words. Let dry for about 1 hour. Serve and enjoy!
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