13 August 2011

Peppermint Crisps

Today I have for you a genius little recipe. It's a no-bake, deceivingly impressive, utterly moorish cookie thats perfect for after dinner or, lets be fair, any time! You really must make these right now and then love me forever, seriously.

There is many a recipe out there for homemade after-dinner mints, and even though I am a masssiivee fan of them and their creamy peppermint filling (mmmm), I do like a bit of a crunch in my cookies and as soon as I saw these knew they would be a winner. Im not sure it it's really right to call these a cookie but Im not sure what else to call them! Maybe just lovelies. Minty lovelies.

If you have ever had Cadbury's Mint Snaps these are what they remind me of. I used to be totally obsessed with the mint and orange versions, then they stopped selling Snaps in the supermarkets around us...sob...there is nothing more distressing than seeing a favourite treat has stopped being stocked, don't even try to argue this fact! But now I can flip the bird at those silly supermarkets as I can make my own, hurrahhh!

The bottom right photo shows the re-melted and re-set scraps from the first attempt. This time I marked the discs before refrigerating and it was much more successful (see notes)

Im elated I got round to making these and will DEFINITELY be making them over and over again, they are so easy and just perfect to have for when guests come over or to give as gifts. The compliments I received for these refreshing lovelies was amazing, people really won't believe you made them! If you or your family are not coconut lovers then don't stress, they do not have even the slightest taste of coconut - it just helps to enhance the flavour and texture of the cookies, but if you insist then I think you probably could omit it (although I find this a horrendous thought and Im not entirely sure we could be friends any more...)

Im already dreaming of trying out an orange version, but in the meantime mine and my families bellies are very content with these addictive little treats :)

Peppermint Crisps
Adapted from the oh-so lovely Nicole of The Galley Gourmet also at Taste.com.au
Makes 20, 1 1/2 inch cookies

1/2 cup (95g) caster sugar*
1/2 cup (110g) water
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract, divided
7 1/2 oz dark chocolate, chips or chopped bars**
1/4 cup (20g) desiccated coconut

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, I used a 7 x 11 inch tin
Put the sugar and water in a medium pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves
Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a light caramel colour - about 7 to 9 minutes***
Remove from the heat, add 1 tsp of the peppermint extract, and swirl the pan to disperse it
Pour the mixture onto the sheet and tilt the sheet to spread the sugar mix out a bit thinner
Set aside for at least 15 minutes until hardened. Break into shards and whizz in a food processor until it resembles fine sand

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I just flipped over the parchment in the pan I used for the sugar mix)
Either melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, or put it in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Remove, stir, and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. It took me 2 minutes total
Stir in the coconut, 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and processed peppermint sugar
Pour/spoon onto the parchment and spread into a rough 10 x 8 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick
Rap the tray a few times on the counter to even the surface and, if wanting neat cookies, mark out circles in the mixture using a 1 1/2 inch cutter ****
Place the sheet in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
Remove from the refrigerator and use the cutter again to cut out the marked discs
Store in an air-tight container in a cool place or the refrigerator

ps I think you know what to do with the scraps... :) apparently they are scrummy folded through your fav ice cream but they didn't last long enough to test that theory!

* This has been a bit of a point of confusion for me. I believe UK granulated sugar is much coarser than American granulated. Caster sugar is basically a slightly finer version of US granulated but the two are roughly equivalent
** You can use a mixture of dark and milk chocolate if you prefer. Taste.com uses 7oz whereas Nicole uses 8oz, I used the halfway point but you don't need to be too exact
*** It took longer for me, about 11 minutes after the mix started bubbling
**** I didn't mark out discs to start, and my first attempt gave me only 12 thick, whole circles as the mix was cracking as I was going along. I remelted and re-set the remainder, making it slightly thinner and marking it before refrigerating, this batch worked much better

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