January 27, 2011

It’s been a busy week. So far, after 3 days, I love my job. It’s been total information overload, but from what I can tell it’s never going to be boring, which is great! But it’s still been a bit of an adjustment, and I haven’t had nearly the time or the energy for as much baking as I usually would. All I managed was a batch of zucchini bread on Wednesday night because I had to use them up!

But this weekend, I think I might make up for lost time. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’m thinking sweet and I’m thinking mini. Michael and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day – we’re both kind of blah on the holiday altogether – but I love an excuse for a themed sweet treat!

So how about peppermint patties? You can’t get them over here, it’s tragic. Wouldn’t they be festive with a little red food coloring added to the filling? The only stumbling block for Irish readers will be finding a substitute for shortening. I think you’d have to just give either butter or lard a shot and see if it works. I’ve got a mother-in-law with a secret stash of imported American Crisco (doesn’t that sound exotic??), so I’m hoping she’ll donate some to a good cause!

Peppermint Patties
{Recipe and image via Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen}

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I’m going to use golden syrup)
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 T shortening
10 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I’m going with Cadbury’s Bourneville dark chocolate)

Make filling:
Beat 2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening, and a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until just combined. Knead on a work surface dusted with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until smooth. Roll out between sheets of parchment paper on a large baking sheet into a 7- to 8-inch round (less than 1/4 inch thick). Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove top sheet of paper and sprinkle round with confectioners sugar. Replace top sheet, then flip round over and repeat sprinkling on other side.

Cut out as many rounds as possible with cutter, transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gather scraps, re-roll, and freeze, then cut out more rounds, freezing them.

Temper chocolate and coat filling:
Melt three fourths of chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove bowl from pan and add remaining chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool until thermometer inserted at least 1/2 inch into chocolate registers 80Β°F.

Return water in pan to a boil and remove from heat. Set bowl with cooled chocolate over pan and reheat, stirring, until thermometer registers 88 to 91Β°F. Remove bowl from pan.

Balance 1 peppermint round on a fork and submerge in melted chocolate, letting excess drip off and scraping back of fork against rim of bowl if necessary, then return patty to sheet (to make decorative ridges on patty, immediately set bottom of fork briefly on top of patty, then lift fork straight up). Coat remaining rounds, rewarming chocolate to 88 to 91Β°F as necessary. Let patties stand until chocolate is set, about 1 hour.

Okay, now just one more: zeppole. Little homemade donut holes, Italian style. So cute! Wouldn’t that make a festive Valentine’s brunch treat?

{Image and recipe via Pictures and Pancakes}

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup for coating
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tbs orange zest
vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return to low heat and cook, stirring vigorously until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, beat in eggs one at a time. Add orange zest and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and set aside.

Pour enough oil into a frying pan to reach a depth of 2-inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Using a small ice cream scoop, carefully drop small tablespoons of dough into the hot oil. Fry several at a time but be careful not to crowd the pan. Turn zeppole with a wooden skewer to evenly brown both sides and cook until golden and puffed, about 5 minutes. Roll cooked zeppole in cinnamon sugar and serve immediately plain or with melted chocolate for dipping.


Next week – I have a VERY exciting announcement, so make sure you tune in! You won’t want to miss it! It’s BIG, BIG news!


  • Reply Becky January 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Did I tell you that I made those pepp-patties at Christmas?
    Yep – your blog inspired me – or made me hungry for bold treats as it does daily!
    I used Stork margarine after researching online as to why I couldn't just chuck in a bit of butter instead! Apparently it's because butter has a water content and the purpose of the shortening is to make the chocolate runnier!
    So, in other words, on that project alone, I learned LOTS of things as a result of reading your blog!
    They were very tasty but seriously rich!!
    Keep up the good blog-work!!

  • Reply Becky January 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Oh brilliant and now I have to go make donut holes – they're just what my diet needs right now!! Ha!!

  • Reply Carrie ~ Cherry Blossom Tattoo February 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    peppermint patties! oh lordy i couldn’t get enough of them every time i was in america – they are so delicious they must be evil, lol. Now I have a fab recipe – oh dear…

    • Reply emily February 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      ha i know! and the homemade ones are even more addicting! sometimes i think i am a crusher of will power πŸ™‚
      ps welcome to my blog – and i think yours is great!

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