I thought I was the only one addicted to these things until I started seeing recipes popping up all over pinterest for them. These were one of my favorite candies as a kid, and I’d buy a bag and eat the whole thing in one sitting. They’re so addicting. What I didn’t know, was that they’re actually REALLY easy to make, and the homemade ones taste even better!
I tried a few recipes I found online, and none were just right. They either called for too much liquid or not enough. The texture and consistency were off. They would either not bind correctly, or wouldn’t harden and remained gooey blobs. So, after some experimentation, I found the right ratios of ingredients to make them perfect.
4 cups of powdered sugar (3 3/4 for the recipe, 1/4 for your rolling surface like you’d use flour in the case of other recipes)
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. If you like peppermint A LOT, you can add more. I made it a few times, once with 1/2 teaspoon and once with a full teaspoon, and while the 1/2 was less minty, it was just minty enough for me.
1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
6 teaspoons of whipping cream
Food coloring (optional)
First, let your butter soften. The softer, the better. Then, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, cream your butter on high speed until it is fluffy (like if you were making frosting).
Next, add your peppermint extract and your cream, and mix again for a few minutes until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Finally, add your powdered sugar (only add 3 3/4 cups). Mix with your blender. This is where the other recipes fail. As you will come to notice, a mixer of any kind cannot REALLY get this job done because there is not enough liquid. We don’t want to add liquid, because then we’ll have a gooey mess on our hands. Instead, after mixing most of it together with the mixer, use your hands to kneed the rest together. I’m serious, you will need to knead it, like bread dough. It will start out feeling like just a bunch of powdered sugar, but the more you press the mixture together, the more the butter and sugar will begin to bind and become like a paste, similar to the consistency of clay. Mine took at least a few minutes of kneading before I was happy with the mixture.
Next, separate into various bowls, and add food coloring if desired. I separated into three, did one red, one green, and left one white. I would only add three drops of food coloring to each third (if you plan to break into thirds). I like these as pastels, and any more than three drops would make them kind of gross looking, in my opinion. Be sure to mix thoroughly.
Next, on a cookie sheet or wax paper or some kind of clean surface, pour out a bit of your leftover 1/4 cup of powdered sugar like it is flour, and take one of your pieces of “dough.” The smaller the pieces you work with, the easier it is. I used golfball sizes of dough at a time, just so it could still fit on my cookie sheet. Once it is rolled out, even a ball that small becomes pretty long. Roll out the ball into snakes, like you would if you were playing with playdough (thats what this reminded me a lot of doing). When your snake is about half an inch in diameter, begin cutting half inch segments with a dull knife. If the snake becomes sticky, roll it in the powdered sugar.
Place them on a plate or cookie sheet, but try not to let them touch. Then, leave out overnight (somewhere dry and not humid) so the outside hardens a little, getting a bit of a shell to it. You can leave out for longer if you want them stiffer, otherwise, one night is perfect and gives them a nice hard shell and soft melt-in-your-mouth middle.
I made some for my coworkers, and put them into cute little boxes shaped like reindeer for a holiday gift. This recipe made around 200 small mints. You can even get crafty, and make smaller snakes of two different colors and have them wrap around each other. I took the lazy route. Haha.