Freshly Minted

Produced by Brett Levine

Food Styling by Lily Plauché

Photography by Beth Dreiling Hontzas


Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint. Used dried, fresh, or as an oil, it adds a distinct flavor to every recipe that calls upon it as an ingredient. These three recipes will add a fresh sweetness to your holiday season.


Peppermint Marshmallows

When a big bag of marshmallows simply won’t do, why not try making Peppermint Marshmallows instead? These beautiful handmade marshmallows are as gorgeous as they are delicious. Share the wonder of making the sugary designs with others in the kitchen. What you can create is limited only by your imagination!

Makes about 9 dozen marshmallows


1 cup cold water, divided

3 (¼-ounce) packets unflavored gelatin

2 cups granulated sugar

⅔ cup light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ cup corn starch

¼ cup powdered sugar

8 to 10 drops red food coloring


1. Place gelatin and ½ cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.


2. In a small saucepan, combine remaining ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Cook until mixture reaches 240F; remove from heat. Immediately turn mixer on low speed and slowly pour sugar syrup down side of mixing bowl into gelatin. Once all syrup has been added, increase mixer speed to high and beat 12 to 15 minutes or until thick and slightly warm.  Beat in vanilla and peppermint extracts during last minute.


3. Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and corn starch in a bowl. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray; sift some of the powdered sugar mixture over bottom and sides of pan, coating completely. Reserve remaining powdered sugar mixture. When marshmallow mixture is ready, pour into prepared pan and spread evenly with a lightly greased spatula. Dot food coloring in a random pattern over surface of marshmallows; drag a knife through the mixture to swirl. Let stand at room temperature 8 hours or until set.


4. Dust work surface with some of powdered sugar mixture; turn marshmallows out onto surface. Dust with powdered sugar mixture. Cut into 1-inch squares using knife dipped in powdered sugar mixture. Store at room temperature up to 1 week.



Peppermint Macarons

For something equally delicate, but certainly no less delicious, Peppermint Macarons are the perfect delight. These bite-sized, cream-filled treats crunch with the sweetness of a crushed peppermint edge.

10-27-13 BMetro_Peppermint 002Makes about 40 cookies


1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

1 ½ cups almond flour

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar



½ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ teaspoon red food gel paste

1-2 tablespoons whipping cream

1/2 cup finely chopped peppermint candies


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.


2. Sift together powdered sugar and almond flour. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine egg whites, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed until egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks. Gently fold in almond flour mixture. Batter should be fairly thin and spreadable. If too thick, stir a few more seconds.


3. Pour batter into a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe rounds of batter the size of a quarter. Once you have them all piped, tap baking sheets on counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Let piped cookies stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Place cookies in oven; reduce temperature to 350F. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed and set, but not hard. Let cool to room temperature on baking sheets.


4. To make filling, beat butter, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and red food paste until smooth, adding whipping cream if necessary to reach a spreadable consistency. Spread on half of cookies; top with remaining cookie halves. Roll edges in crushed peppermints.



Red Velvet Peppermint Torte

The Red Velvet Peppermint Torte brings the colors of peppermint to a contemporary torte with rich layers of red velvet cake separated by sweet cream cheese icing and topped by crushed peppermint candies.

10-27-13 BMetro_Peppermint 003Serves: 12


2 ½ cups cake flour

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

4 cups powdered sugar

⅓ cup crushed peppermint candies


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 4 (8-inch) round baking pans with parchment and spray with cooking spray.


2. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder, stirring well. In a medium bowl, combine remaining cake ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry, whisking only until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back lightly when pressed in center. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove to racks to cool completely.


3. To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in peppermint extract. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Top with ¼ of frosting, spreading to edges. Repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, topping with frosting. Sprinkle with crushed candies.




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