Saturday, February 22, 2014

An Adventure with Peppermint Patties

Bob ( and then Celia ( shared this on their FB pages (are not all the best recipes first shared on FB!?!) and I discovered it was actually a link for Peppermint Patties from my favorite cooking website. So, I decided to try it. I have rarely met a recipe from that particular site that was horrid. (read reviews!)
 First step is to read as many of the reviews as possible. (As stated in previous paragraph!) This is very helpful in recreating a recipe. I learned I needed to use parchment paper instead of waxed, that you CAN use a whole can of sweetened condensed milk (which is good, cuz only a part of a can is not useful for anything!), and using foil cups is a very good idea.
 There are only a couple of ingredients in these and you want to mix the milk and the extract together before adding the sugar. Jon thought the mint was a little understated, and I did add more than the recipe called for. Next time, I'll add at least a half a tsp more. (making it 2 and a half tsp for a full container of sweetened condensed milk)
 I did discover I should have added more powdered sugar. I used almost 2 lbs, but it was still kind of sticky. I could never have rolled them out as suggested by many reviewers. BUT, I was doing something else. I wanted them to fit in foil muffin cups and so used about half of a cookie scoop of mixture. I thought I had a small round cutter, and I do, it just wasn't a TINY cutter that could fit inside a muffin cup! I patted them into shape and I let them dry for an hour on one side. When I flipped them over, I had to use a spatula since they were tacky on the bottom.
 Many of the reviews suggested freezing them before dipping. Since I was not dipping the things, I didn't freeze them. They were VERY soft. After trial and error, I found placing a bit of melted chocolate in the bottom of the cup, dropping in the patty, and then spreading chocolate on the top worked the best. The chocolate was melted chips with the shortening. Which I will NOT do again. The foil cups come with a paper lining, I tried both ways to see how it you can tell from the rest of the candies, I ditched the paper part.

 Jon showing off how the chocolate stuck to the paper--and how lovely the patties looked! Although, they were VERY messy. I had thought it was because they were not quite hardened yet. I was wrong.

 I really like the edges on the patties after being formed in the foil cups. It sort of gives them a Reese's kind of look. Which also makes me wonder if I can use this technique and make my own Reese's PB cups....As we discovered, the mint flavor was almost overpowered by the chocolate, but they really aren't too bad at all. They were given a thumbs up by all 3 of my testers~

 Using the whole container of sweetened condensed milk gave me 60 of these little guys. Which meant I spent a lot of time dinking around with chocolate. I made a complete MESS of my apron (you can't exactly tell, since the moose are already brown!). They took a very very long time to make and I want to try them again. I think I would use a pastry brush on the patties and in the cups, since the spoon was not as efficient as I had hoped it would be.
After being refrigerated, the chocolate was STILL gooey. I also think keeping a candy in the fridge is sort of silly. Especially if you are going to have it at a party. These were not made for a party, these were made just for fun! Next time, I will use almond bark. NOT that candy quick stuff (I find that gicky). The foil cups were spendy, but a great idea. I could stack them in the plastic container and they wouldn't stick to each other and I could use the cup as a spot to place the messy chocolate patty as I was eating it. . 
As I was putting these together, I thought about using the Oreo cookie recipe I have and taking one cookie, putting a bit of mint on top, and then encasing it all in chocolate. I am pretty sure I've had cookies like this before, but I can't recall what they are called. When I make them, however, I will make sure I have all day to create them. They DO take awhile!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Skies

February 2014 has been full of different kinds of weather. We've had snow, cold, sunshine, and rain. We even have had a chance to see northern lights this week! This afternoon, as the sun set, the skies clouds put on an amazing show for those of us on earth. I love how the lowering sun shone on the locusts and other trees in the yard. 

The interplay of shadow and texture on this roof shot we fun to watch.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with this blog program~be that as it may, as the sun set the world turned pink and blue and  mauve. The first pictures were in the backyard, these are off the porch looking East.