Like a lot of people, I did my fair share of babysitting back in high school and middle school. I had a number of “clients,” but my favorite family to babysit for were these two little boys who lived next door to my parents for a few years. I started watching them when the older boy was just 9 months old (and I was only 13, man that sounds young to be watching a 9-month-old!). Thankfully, I never started a kitchen fire at their house, but I did give one of them orange juice instead of apple juice, causing a mild allergic reaction.
Babysitting is hard!
Besides the fact that I really liked these kids, there were two things that made me love babysitting for them. One – they constantly wanted to watch a Sesame Street video featuring this song, which has always been one of my all-time favorite songs. I was always game for watching this video. And Two – their parents kept a healthy supply of York peppermint patties in the freezer. And I was always game for dipping into their stash of peppermint patties.
In retrospect, if my 13-year-old self had known how easy it is to make your own peppermint patties, I’m not sure she would have been quite as impressed with this family’s stash. These were surprisingly easy to make, and I’ve been enjoying them out of the freezer for the past week or so. I almost feel 13 again…
Nope, that’s a lie. I feel way old, all the time.
HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT PATTIES (recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
2 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 and 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 and 1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), combine 2 and 1/4 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening and salt. Beat at medium speed just until combined (either with stand mixer or hand mixer). Dust your (clean!) kitchen counter with some of the remaining 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Transfer mixture to the counter and knead for a minute or two until smooth (if it’s too sticky to work with, you can add additional confectioners’ sugar – if it seems too dry, add a little extra corn syrup). Roll the mixture between 2 sheets of parchment paper until you have a 7 to 8-inch circle that’s between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick (I actually used a rolling pin coated in confectioners’ sugar). Transfer to freezer and freeze until firm, at least 15 minutes.
2. Remove from freezer and peel parchment from one side of the candy. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (I used the lid to my jar of oregano – whatever works!), cut as many rounds as possible, transferring them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. When you’ve cut as many as possible, transfer the baking sheet with the rounds to the freezer. Gather the scraps and reroll them, then freeze and cut more rounds, adding them to the parchment-lined baking sheet. If at any time the dough gets soft pop it back in the freezer for a few minutes.
3. While patties are freezing, add chocolate to small saucepan and heat over lowest possible heat. Stir chocolate as it melts, and remove from heat as soon as it is fully melted. Working with one patty at a time, dip each patty in the chocolate, turning with a fork to fully coat. Transfer each chocolate-coated patty back to the parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.
These…were outstanding. The only thing that didn’t go 100% perfectly is that I think I added a little too much extra sugar to my patties, making them a tiny bit less chewy than regular peppermint patties. If that happens to you, add a smidge more corn syrup and carry on.
Make sure to store these in the freezer! Not because you have to or anything — just because they are unbeatable that way!