ABIGAIL R. GEHRING:
Just as we New Yorkers were starting to embrace sweaters and hot lattes, summer has decided it's not quite ready to say goodbye. With temperatures rising into the 90s, it seems appropriate to focus on a candy that's refreshingly cool to the palate—not to mention refreshingly easy to make. Peppermint patties are one of the simplest recipes in my book, Classic Candy, and they're often a bigger hit than some of the more time-intensive candies. Creamy centers, crisp chocolate shells, and that sweet, spunky peppermint flavor that sends a shiver to your taste buds . . . perfect for a late summer treat. I'll admit that I wasn't much of a peppermint patty fan before I started making my own, but I find the homemade variety—with quality chocolate, pure peppermint extract, and none of the extra additive junk—pretty addictive.
The recipe only includes four ingredients, so make them quality ones. Be sure to use real peppermint extract rather than any kind of flavoring that has added sugars, dyes, or artificial flavoring. The chocolate chips can be any kind, but I’m partial to Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips—they have the best flavor and consistency of any I’ve found so far. You can also find organic sweetened condensed milk at Trader Joe’s, which was a very exciting discovery for me! Or, if you have the time and motivation, you can make your own by combining 1½ cups whole milk, ½ cup sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a saucepan and simmering until reduced by half (about 2 hours).
My husband put together this little video demonstration of me making peppermint patties: http://youtu.be/1YT4snLkzQ4. The recipe is below. Enjoy!
Makes about 24 patties.
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 cups (about 24 ounces) chocolate chips
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar while beating.
3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Press each one down to form flat circles. Place pan in freezer for at least 10 minutes.
4. Melt the chocolate chips in the double boiler. Dip each peppermint patty and return to the baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer until chocolate hardens. Store in the refrigerator.