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Of Peppermint Patties and Tempered Chocolate

Leaning tower of peppermint patties for your viewing pleasure.
I’ve decided for Christmas that some people are going to be getting homemade chocolates. I’ve come up with about dozen different kinds of chocolates I’m going to include, but they all require *dundundunnnnn* tempering the chocolate.
Tempering. No other word (except Parisian Macaroons) strikes more fear into my heart than hearing I need to temper chocolate. Not that I’d ever tried before last night though. Nope, I cried uncle and ran home to my mommy every time I saw something needed to be tempered.
But these are Christmas gifts, they have to be tempered or it’s lame (for me). If you’re not OCD and can dip truffles in normal melted chocolate without a second thought I envy you. Yes indeedy, envy. But I am OCD and a perfectionist so I bought this nifty chocolate thermometer http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31nYsHpjSdL.jpgat Sur La Table and it was cool and nifty. Both the thermometer and spatula only one thing to clean faaaaabulous. I was three degrees from completing the cooling process and the thermometer shattered into my chocolate!! OH LUMP MODE. Lump mode, for those of you who are wondering is a Rodgers Family thing where when something doesn’t go your way¬† you slump over while standing and it’s lump mode. Lump mode goes very nicely with Sad Panda.
Ok so, now that I have that off my chest, let me go back and talk about the actual peppermint patties. If you like York Peppermint Patties or Jr. Mints these are for you and honestly they aren’t that hard to make. You whip up ONE egg white until firm peaks and then slowly add in 4 cups of powdered sugar. It looks good until you get about 2 cups in and then it just looks kinda crumbly. Don’t worry, it’s totally ok. You add in 1/3 of a cup of light corn syrup and 1/2 a teaspoon of peppermint extract. THIS STUFF IS STICKY. You’re supposed to knead it by hand until it looks like dough. My advice? Don’t do what I did. Don’t use gloves thinking you’re all spiffy for not getting your hands dirty. It’ll just stick to your gloves and you’ll have to call your mom out to help you get it off and its all just very demoralizing. Oh, and your dad will laugh. After that fiasco, I cornstarched a clean area and then cornstartched my hands and kneaded it very easily. After I kneaded it I poured out more cornstarch¬† and rolled it out and made HUGE 2.5 inch circles. Next time I’m making them smaller.
Now, back to the chocolate. After the first fiasco of the breaking thermometer I used my dad’s digital thermometer which I will go to my grave swearing it’s not as fast as the chocolate thermometer. But long story short, the second attempt went swell and on my first (complete) attempt I tempered chocolate! And by George if they didn’t taste JUST like a York Peppermint Pattie.

My Hair Brained Scheme to Temper Chocolate.

I basically combined the method in my book The Field Guide to Candy and David Lebovitz’s.
This is for dark chocolate, milk and white chocolate require different, lower, temperatures.
1. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate to 115 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Remove from heat, white the bottom of the bowl to remove condensation, and the last 1/3 of the chocolate. Cool to 82 degrees.
3. Rewarm to 88-91 degrees Fahrenheit. DO NOT GO OVER 91 DEGREES. You’ll have to restart the process and then we’ll be sad.
Peppermint Patties
1 egg white
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, shifted
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (It didn’t seem OMG PEPPERMINTy, so if you want intense flavor I’d add an few extra drops or so)
Cornstarch for dusting
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, I used Trader Joe’s 74% Pound Plus bar. It was PERFECT.
1. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
2. Whip egg white to firm peaks. After you’ve got the firm peaks slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar. If it gets crumbly, don’t worry. Mine did too and it still turned out fine, it’ll all work out when you work in the corn syrup.
This is what the “dough” looks like right before I finished mixing everything in.
3. (I’ve revised what I did to what I’m going to do next time) If you’re using a stand mixer, remove the bowl and add in the cornstarch and peppermint extract. Use a spoon to start mixing the goo in or use your hands…I’d cornstarch them first though. Knead until it looks like dough
4. Cornstarch your work area and rolling pin and roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. I used a 2.5 inch round cookie cutter, I’d used a MUCH smaller one next time. Like 1 inch probably.
5. Place each round on the lined baking sheets. Cool for AT LEAST 45 minutes.
6. Dip in tempered chocolate and let cool completely for about an hour. Or at least wait until the chocolate hardens, I understand if you want to eat them NOW.

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