Introduction: 'Tis the Season - Peppermint "Sugar"
Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is fast approaching and you are trying to think of some awesome homemade goodies to show the love to family and friends. Cookies and fudges, breads and cakes - they are nice but sometimes take more time than we have in the busy holiday season. Enter peppermint "sugar"! It is quick, inexpensive, and a nice addition to other homemade recipes or gift baskets for exchanges!
Step 1: Materials
This is a very simple thing to make. You might even find you have everything on hand!
A blender or food processor with S blade (I haven't made it with a blender so I can't say how long it would take)
Starlight peppermint candies - I used 50.5 pieces and yielded just shy of a pint
Container for storing/gifting
A funnel for pouring off the sugar
Step 2: Prep the Candies
This is the longest and hardest step! (And it really isn't terribly difficult :) )
Unwrap your candies and place them in your blender or food processor! Whew, easy peasy from here.
If you are using a food processor, carefully check that your candies are evenly distributed before you start processing them. Be careful of your blade while you do this!
Step 3: Process!
I like to pulse the candies a few times before I do the full process. Honestly, I am not sure if this helps or not but I like to think it makes it less strain on the blades going full speed.
Blend or process your candies until they are finely chopped up. For my food processor that is about 30 seconds. Your processor or blender may be different.
Step 4: Word of Caution
In the course of processing, the powder will get up into the lid. It will be messy when you remove the lid, and it is a little sticky if it contacts any kind of moisture. It isn't really hard to clean up, but it surprised me the first time I saw it!
Step 5: Admire and Pour
Wow! Pretty! I love the way this looks :)
Ok so now it is time to pour off your sugary, minty goodness. Since this is just a batch for me and my husband, I went with a regular pint jar. I have a wide canning funnel, which I used to help with the transfer. It isn't necessary, but it is nice if you happen to have it.
As you can see, my 50.5 candies yielded almost a full pint. Hopefully this will help you approximate how many candies you'll need for the amount you want to make.
Note that there may be chunks that don't fully process. I had less than one piece of the candy worth of chunk, which I opted to just toss. I didn't sift my powder, I just noticed these as I was pouring into my jar.
Step 6: Possible Uses and Variations
Now you have your peppermint "sugar", what do you do with it?
One nice thing is to make up a cup of your preferred hot beverage (black tea, green tea, coffee, or hot chocolate being ones I've tried or known people to try). While the liquid is still very hot, mix in a small spoonful, or more if desired, of peppermint "sugar" in place of some or all of the sweetener you would normally use. I usually drink my tea black or with a tiny bit of honey, so this was all I put in my drink, along with a splash of milk. It is very mildly sweet and more of a mint aftertaste than an assault as you drink it!
Some other ideas for using this are:
> Make a Christmas light viewing gift pack for someone - inexpensive travel mug, hot cocoa packets, a small container of peppermint sugar, and a map to the best local viewing spots
> Coffee gift pack, similar to the Christmas light viewing but with coffee items
> Dust the top of iced sugar cookies
> Top brownies
> Drizzle popcorn with melted white chocolate and sprinkle peppermint sugar on top of the chocolate before it cools
I have only made this with the classic red starlight mint. However, there are also green ones which are a different mint flavor, and brown & green which are a mint chocolate flavor (though this powder may not look as pretty!). The process would be exactly the same but the resulting flavor would be different.
I hope this has helped inspire you as we head into the holiday season! What fun ways have you used peppermint "sugar"? Please share so we can all be inspired!