Sunday, December 27

Peppermint creams

I wanted to make some old-fashioned sweets for people for Christmas, having had success with the orangettes and wanting another option.

There's some very impressive gifty recipes over on Smitten Kitchen but the ones I particularly liked the sound of were too complex and required a thermometer, or involved ingredients I wasn't sure I could get a suitable substitute for.

So I give you: peppermint creams! Mostly sugar, with a bit of egg white and some peppermint essence. Very easy to make and very impressive when covered with chocolate! The quantity shown makes a lot of sweets, it's difficult to make less as you can't really do less than one egg white, but perhaps you could freeze some of the dough if you don't want to use it all straight away.

1 egg white
1 tsp lemon juice
400-420g icing sugar
peppermint essence
food colouring
approx 200g good quality dark chocolate

Lightly beat the egg white in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice then start to stir in the icing sugar until you have made a stiff dough.

Add the peppermint flavouring. The recipe I used said 'a few drops' but I found I needed quite a lot to make it taste of anything other than sugar! You can also add food colouring - pink and green are the traditional colours, you could divide the dough and make quantities of both.

The next step is to roll out the dough on a flat surface with some icing sugar on the rolling pin and the surface. You need to work quickly as the dough will start to dry out fast; it's a good idea to divide the dough into quarters and work on it one lump at a time. Keep the rest in clingfilm while you do this.

Roll it to about 5-10mm thickness, then cut out small shapes and place on greaseproof paper on a baking sheet to dry. I left mine overnight till they were quite crunchy.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Dip the shapes in the chocolate quickly, covering them on both sides, then place on greaseproof paper to set.

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