in this second part of my "minty sweets and holiday treats" series, i'll be showcasing delicious cream cheese mints as well as marzipan almonds and caramel pretzel sandwiches. all three take just five ingredients or less to make and can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes flat! let's get started!
the star of this "non-traditional holiday candies" post is really the cream cheese mints. sometimes people call them "party mints" and they are similar to those multi-colored candies that restaurants have in bowls up front for guests to take as they leave. but, unlike that chalky consistency, my cream cheese mints are soft and sweet and i make them in three different flavors and holiday colors. they are almost stupid easy!
the shopping list:
-4 oz. softened cream cheese (1/3 fat or regular-- not fat free)
-3 cups powdered sugar
-your choice of flavorings (i used raspberry extract, almond extract, and peppermint extract)
-food coloring (i used red and green)
-1/2 c. regular white sugar to roll the mints in
to start, grab a medium sized bowl and add the softened cream cheese. to the cream cheese, add the three cups of powdered sugar and start to combine them with a fork. this process tends to take a little while because the sugar and the cream cheese don't seem to like each other very much. you might find that using your hands will speed up the process slightly :) here's what mine looked like in stages:
i like to make three different color and flavor mints just to add some variety to my christmas treat plates. so at this point, i divided the mixture in to thirds and put each section into a little glass bowl. i decided to make a green mint, a red mint, and leave the third one white. using just a drop or two of food coloring, dye your mints and stir well.
next for the flavoring. i chose to make the green mints peppermint flavored, the white mints almond flavored, and the red mints raspberry flavored. i added 1/2 tsp. of each flavoring to their correct color bowl and stirred around well. now its time to form the mints!
take a ball the size of a nickel of your "dough" and roll it around in your hands until its round. then, drop it in a little dish of white sugar and coat it completely. lastly, take a fork and press the mint down in to a flat disk and carefully remove the fork to create pretty grooves in the mints. they should look like this!
and voila, you're done! store these in the fridge for the long-term until you're ready to give them out. these are sure to be a big hit at your party!
the next treat we are going to make is super simple: marzipan apricots sprinkled with nutmeg or dipped in chocolate. delicious!
the shopping list:
-1 bag whole (and pitted) dried apricots
-1 log of marzipan (ground almond paste)
-melted chocolate OR ground nutmeg
i am telling you... this is the simplest but most crowd-pleasing dessert out there! there are like three steps:
one) find where the apricot has been pitted-- there should be a small slit opening. open it further to expose the inside of the apricot but don't pull it in half
two) take a small ball of marzipan and place it right inside the split apricot, and then press the apricot halves together to seal the marzipan inside
three) either sprinkle the apricots with a little fresh nutmeg, or half dip them in dark chocolate for a more decadent version of this fruity treat! serve them up in a little cupcake liner and enjoy!
*note: this was taken right before the nutmeg sprinkle, but serve them whichever way you prefer!
lastly, i wanted to share a lightning-fast recipe for delicious caramel pretzel sandwiches that i'm sure every mom has a variation of in her "toolkit" of christmas goodies. but they were too cute to leave out, so here it goes!
the (meager) shopping list:
-1 bag "snap" shape pretzels (or the ones that look like squares with windows)
-1 bag of Rolo candies
this really doesn't even warrant the title "recipe", but what the heck! this might be the easiest candy you'll make all holiday! lay down a layer of pretzels on a microwave-safe plate and on each pretzel place an unwrapped Rolo candy. put the plate in the microwave for 15 or 20 seconds, or until the Rolos are looking slightly soft. then, take the plate out and cap each Rolo and pretzel with another pretzel, effectively making a chocolate and caramel pretzel sandwich. let me tell you, these things are addictive!
just look how cute they look on the plate with all the other candies!
i hope you enjoyed these three "non-traditional" recipes! they are lovely additions for those who want to spice it up this holiday season. let me know what you think!
happy holidays from piquant plates, straight to you!