Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wedding Mints

Or graduation mints, or because-it's-Wednesday mints. My family calls 'em wedding mints because we typically have them at weddings. These are very simple to make and a crowd-pleaser.

Side note: I should have taken these in better light, I should have staged them on a pretty plate. To be honest, these are the last remaining mints from a party. Next time I'll take fresh photos. Because the poor lighting, the color isn't accurate. The mints were a nice light blue color.

Let's get to the Sweet Details. Here's what you'll need. (A nice daytime photo - see the difference!)

4 oz. cream cheese (SOFT)
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 drops flavoring
(optional) food coloring as desired
a couple tablespoons sugar in a shallow bowl (not shown)

The oil comes from Michael's or a baking store, I think Wal-Mart carries the oil. This is highly concentrated. When I say two drops, I MEAN TWO DROPS. Deal? You can make these in an array of flavors and colors. Here I used Wilton Peppermint and blue food coloring.

The molds you can find online or at a baking supply store. Michael's carries a few candy molds also. They come in an assortment of sizes and shapes and designs. I used a simple flower because it's wedding-appropriate. Having this one mold in my arsonal fulfills most of my mint-making needs. I also have a graduation mold. There are two types of molds. There are the thin, clear plastic ones (what I'm using) and the new rubber molds. I've used both. The rubber ones are a bit easier to get the mint out.

Tip - Let your cream cheese sit on the counter for the morning getting SOFT before you make these. Dump it in the bowl and start stirring, get it all whippy - put some muscle into it. Again, this is easier with SOFT cream cheese. Once it's all whippy and smooth, add the coloring and flavoring - continue to stir. You don't want all the flavoring in one bite. After it's mixed well, add half of the powdered sugar. Still stirring with the spatula. Add the remaining powdered sugar and start kneading it with your hands. It's ok. That's why you made sure the coloring was already mixed in. Knead and knead. Add a little powdered sugar to your hands if you need it.

Tip - After you mix the ingredients - place the bowl, covered with saran wrap, in the refrigerator. Let it get good an cold and solid. Trust me. 4-6-8 hours. This is especially imporant if your kitchen (or your hands) are warm. The soft dough will stick to your fingers and hands making a huge mess.
Now it's time to begin. Take a small pinch of dough, roll it in a ball. Roll the ball in sugar and then with your thumb press the dough into the mold. Remove any excess that spills from the mold. I find that a full mold pops out easier - so don't be stingy. I do the entire sheet of dough.

Tip - After I press the sugar-rolled dough into the molds, I place my mold in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Please don't leave your mold in the freezer for too long if you're using a plastic mold (like mine shown above). I'll digress and be an Engineer for a moment and tell you the thin plastic will become very brittle at low temperatures and will want to break very easily. This would not be good. So 5 minutes in the freezer. I cover a cutting board with wax paper and gently whack the mold on the board and 95% of the mints fall out. If you're using a rubber mold, take your finger and gently push the backside of rubber - the mints will fall out. There's not a real right or wrong way to do this.

Tip - After I've finished, I'll place the mints in one layer on a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet in the freezer. Let them get solid - about 6-8 hours. Then you can place in an air tight container - using wax paper in between the layers for best results. Keep these refrigerated until it's time to serve them. The mints will keep in the air tight container for several weeks. This is an added bonus - you can make them ahead of time!

Are you going to try to make these? How was my instruction. Leave me a comment. Let me know what you think so I can make this better!
Happy baking,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Thanks for stopping by. As long as I can remember I've been cooking and baking. Do you have these memories? I remember going to my Aunt Jo's house during Christmas break and baking and decorating cookies. I remember making crepes and home made ice cream in the summer with Aunt Lois. And I remember cooking and baking everything else with my mom. Some memories go pretty far back, I think I was standing on a chair helping.

I once heard a pastry chef say you can make a really good pot roast, and get complimented, but if you want praise, bake something. There's something about sweet delicate treats. I have a great test group (co-workers) that willingly accept my treats and I try to make them something once a week. Some weeks the goal is to try something new, other times, it's something FAST. This often results in wives of said co-workers writing for the recipe. I smile. Since I have the recipes almost all typed in emails, I've decided to add a step and post 'em here for you. Try 'em out. I'm a visual learner, so maybe a few pictures will help you too.

Now, I must be honest. Before I tell you who I am, I must tell you who I am not. I am not Bakerella. She's far too talented and patient. I am not Ree. I love Ree. She's great. She has a cookbook. She lives on a ranch. She details each and every step. I am not Smitten Kitchen. Although she has a tiny kitchen like myself, Deb is a writer, a photographer and a kitchen genuis.

I have a nice old camera and an itty bitty kitchen with poor lighting. I have a full-time job in a crazy city and I keep things crafty over at sweetestdesigns. My friends recently asked me what cooking shows I watch. Confession: outside of the occassional Martha show, I don't watch; I'm too busy creating. I do not hold a culinary degree. I've never taken a baking or decorating class. I do hold a Civil Engineering degree, but that has nothing to do with this site. There may be some parallels - cooking and baking often includes precision. If a recipe doesn't work for you, re-read it and ask yourself are you following it exactly? It's a science. Now, with all that said, I'm also not as tedious as Michael because, as I mentioned, I have a full-time job. I'm busy - just like you!

Are you still with me? Let's get started.
I'll try to post preparation and baking times, level of difficulty, and whether it's good the next day! Those are all important - although sometimes omitted from recipes.