Last week was tiny food week. I could have made anything… tiny s’mores, tiny tarts, tiny cookies, tiny tea sandwiches… and I made mints.
Kind of a stretch, yeah?
Well, let me explain why I couldn’t not make them.
I’ve been getting out of work pretty late these past weeks. Not 10-p.m. late, but definitely 6:30- or 7-p.m. late. When this happens, I usually end up picking dinner up on the way home. There’s just too much going on for me to think about stopping at Publix for ingredients, cooking something legit, and doing dishes. I mean, sometimes I’ll make a quick pasta or something, but real talk… Chick-fil-A and I have become great friends.
So, one day, as almost usual, I stopped by my favorite fast food restaurant for dinner. Confession: I tend to go the drive thru route… (Getting out of my car and walking the ten steps to the door? Umm, too much. Please.) However! On this night, I decided to park and actually walk into Chick-fil-A for my food. Want to know why I did this? I did this exclusively so that I could steal a handful or two of the delicious individually wrapped butter mints that sit in a basket by the door (sometimes by the utensils).
Uhh, yeah. Guess what. They had NO MINTS left. I even asked at the register. As politely as possible. “Oh, hmm, I was just wondering if you had any more of those little mints left…”
“Sorry. All out.”
NO. I headed back to my car, defeated, and realized I should probably think of a tiny food week recipe and pick up ingredients for it on the way home.
Then it hit me. Mints are tiny. I wanted mints, dammit… and so, a Google search for “after-dinner mints recipe” happened. I found a yummy-looking version on Averie Cooks, and as soon as I realized the only ingredients missing from my apartment were condensed milk and powdered sugar, it was settled. Mints for dessert!
I came home and whipped up the “batter” according to the recipe using my beloved KitchenAid mixer, which someone recently named Betsy for me. I kind of like it. After mixing was complete, I took a teensy spoonful of the sweet, slightly minty pillow of goodness sitting in my mixer’s bowl. Then I took another teensy spoonful. Then I took a bigger spoonful… and another… and I said, out loud in my empty apartment, “Why does anybody ever BUY mints?!”
After eating half the dough (Batter? Mixture? What do I call this?) I rolled out the rest and tried cutting it into tiny mint-like pieces. After a minute, I got hopelessly frustrated, rolled everything back into a ball, and just broke off pieces in small sizes and dropped them onto a parchment-covered pan.
Now, the problem… they never hardened. I’m not sure if they were supposed to…
Averie never mentions it on her blog. But I was hoping they would, just like the Chick-fil-A mints. I saw another recipe with egg whites and one with cream of tartar, both involving different methods. Maybe those would have hardened. But these really just remained all soft and pliable. (EDIT!: If you read Averie’s comment below, you’ll see that hers did in fact harden, and she suggests adding a bit more powdered sugar than I did. She mentions it’s dry where she is, so I”m thinking the typical-even-in-“fall” Florida humidity might have affected the ability of my little minties to solidify. Oh, well… this just means I DEFINITELY have to give this another shot!)
I’ll tell you what, though… I didn’t even care that they didn’t harden. These definitely satisfied my mint craving that night. They were quick, super easy, and incredibly yummy. I’d make the dough again any day and just sit in front of my TV eating piece after piece of the melt-in-your-mouth minty deliciousness.
In fact, I think I hear the remaining ones calling out to me from the fridge…
Old-Fashioned Butter Mints
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Yield: So, SO many mints. I didn’t count… but definitely well upwards of 150.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt (I made mine rounded.)
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar (+ 1/4 to 1/2 cup more, in case your dough is too sticky to roll out)
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat butter and salt at medium-high speed for 1 minute.
2. Add the powdered sugar, condensed milk, and peppermint extract, and beat at medium-low for a couple of minutes, until a dough forms. Add more powdered sugar as needed.
3. Taste the dough, and decide whether you want to add more peppermint extract. If you do, literally add it a drop at a time. Peppermint extract is SO strong and really easy to overdo.
4. Sprinkle powdered sugar over any flat surface on which you want to roll out the dough. (True story: I covered my desk chair in parchment paper and used that because I was out of countertop space.)
5. Remove the dough from the mixer and separate it into four blobs.
6. Roll one blob into a long, 1-cm-in-diameter rope. Slice it into teensy mints!!! Or just eat it… (I won’t judge!)
7. Repeat with the rest of the dough blobs. Store the mints in an airtight container in the fridge.
8. Eat sugary mints for days!