It’s a trait of the women in my family that we have food phases. During one of my most fondly remembered childhood food phases, my mom cooked homemade pizza at least twice a week for five weeks straight. For years my sister only ate Inari sushi, California rolls, and teriyaki chicken at Japanese restaurants. She never strayed. I myself had a phase that lasted from probably age nine to thirteen: the chocolate and peppermint candy phase. While other people dabbled in Skittles and Snickers and everything in between, I invariably ate either York Peppermint Patties or Junior Mints. Sure, on Halloween, I took whatever came my way gladly (with the exception of Bottle Caps, which I consider an affront to the concept of candy), but if we stopped for snacks on a road trip or got a treat at the movies, I always, always chose chocolate and peppermint.
The weird thing about food phases is that they end, and often the food which you once so loved sort of just falls off your radar. You hit your limit, or OD, or something like that. I don’t think I’ve eaten a Junior Mint or a Peppermint Patty in, I dunno, maybe five years and I stopped being impassioned about them long before that.
Then, when my sister and I were at See’s Candy a couple weeks ago, she ordered a peppermint patty, and some faded memory whispered to me. The next time I was at a candy shop, I got one myself, and it was like being hit over the head with my childhood, in the nicest way. A long forgotten source of pleasure resurfaced, like a friend you run into unexpectedly after years of absence. And as with that friend, you feel sort of bad that you’ve been out of touch for so long. Why did I let this loveliness go unappreciated for so long?
But hey, there’s a way to make up for the oversight: by creating a scrumptious ode to the altar of chocolate and peppermint with my own two hands. So I did. And you can too. Recipe after the jump…
Homemade Peppermint Patties
After doing a little research, I settled on this recipe because the ingredients come closest to an actual York Peppermint Patty out of everything I looked at. And they taste just like the real thing, only better, since you can use as a luxurious or comforting a chocolate as you like. I myself tend towards 72% Belgian dark chocolate, though I admit there’s a nook in my heart for those Hershey’s Special Dark bars in the little foil wrappers. Whatever floats your boat, friends.
Yield: About 4 dozen 1-inch patties
1 egg white
4 cups powdered sugar (sift this, THEN measure or your patties will be dense!)
1/3 cup invert sugar or corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
16 ounces dark chocolate, chips or chopped
In a clean metal bowl, whip the egg white until it reaches medium peaks. Add in the powdered sugar, invert sugar, and peppermint extract and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until it is smooth. It may be slightly sticky.
Oil two sheet of parchment paper. Press the dough flat with your palms, place it between the sheets of parchment, and roll it to 1/4-inch thick with a rolling pin. Place the dough on a baking sheet between the parchments sheets and put it in the freezer for fifteen minutes to harden it. Once the dough is firm, peel the top parchment off and place it on a second sheet pan. Use a cookie cutter to make individual patties. Place the patties on the second sheet pan. You can re-knead the dough as many times as possible to cut out circles. Once your circles are complete, place them back in the freezer. Keep the now empty sheet pan handy for later use.
In a double boiler on low heat, melt the chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat. To chocolate cover the patties, I recommend removing eight or so at a time from the freezer to dip, as the dough softens and becomes difficult to handle when it’s not frozen. Using two forks, dip and coat each patty in chocolate. Place the finished patties on the empty sheet tray and let them set at room temperature.
Voila– an ode to chocolate and peppermint! The taste of nostalgia, as the case may be…