Monday, July 18, 2016

In Mint Condition

A couple of weeks ago I offered to help my friend, Ann, prepare for her daughter's baby shower.  The shower was being planned by Ann's sister, Sharon and Sharon's daughter, Sarah.  It was decided to have the shower at Ann's place because it was more centrally located.  Sarah lives in Seattle and Sharon lives two and a half hours from Ann's, so Ann was helping with the preparation.  A few days before the shower Ann called me while she was searching for a few last minute items.

"Do you know where I can find some good mints for the shower?  I have looked everywhere and just can't find any that I like."

My ears perked up at the word "mints" and before I could stop myself, these words tumbled from my mouth, "Why don't we make them?  I have an old family recipe.  Linda and I made mints for Maggie's (my niece) wedding and everyone loved them!"

"You know how to make mints?  Is it difficult?  Do we have time?"  Ann had good reason to question our ability at making mints as we have had a few other adventures in creating interesting treats.

I assured her that we could do it and told her the ingredients that we would need. (Well, I had to get the recipe from my sister...the recipe that our mother, Maxine, sent to her thinking it would be a fun business for Linda and her friend Janie to have...way back in 1973.)  The business never started, but the recipe remained in Linda's library of cookbooks and recipes.

I arrived at Ann's early in the morning after stopping to pick up butter, powdered sugar and the "secret ingredient" (Kayro Syrup).  I brought my large Kitchen Aid Mixer because I remembered that the batter becomes really stiff and a hand mixer would not work.  The following pictures show our progress.

These are the ingredients we used.

The butter was not soft enough so I put it out on the patio table.  It was really hot outside so it did not take long for the butter to become soft.

We mixed the butter with the powdered sugar and then added the Kayro syrup.  It looks like I did not mix the butter and powdered sugar first, but dumped all the ingredients in at the same time.

 Even with the mistake of not mixing the powdered sugar and butter first, the batter worked out fine.

 This is what it looks like before adding the flavor and coloring.

The next few steps will be videos. 
In the first video I am mixing the lemon flavoring into the batter. Since Apple devices don't allow Flash videos, click on the YouTube links to see the videos. YouTube link for Mint Flavoring .

Ann will now show the proper way to add the coloring. :-) YouTube link for Mint Coloring . For some reason this video is upside down, but it doesn't hurt presentation.

We soon realized that we did not read the instructions carefully.
YouTube link to Reading Instructions Helps

The next video is short and blurry, but it explains why we decided to use the color we had. YouTube link for Coloring Mistake II

Of course, we do not know that dinosaurs are this color, but we had a choice of dinosaur molds or shell molds.  We had little square molds but they just looked like blobs of dark teal.  The next step is to put the batter or dough (not sure what to call it) into the molds.  We first....well, watch the video, it explains it much better...and Ray thinks it should be used on Saturday Night Live. YouTube link for Having a Ball

Here is the last step...rolling the balls in sugar and then placing them balls in the molds.
YouTube link to Molding Mints

The next two pictures show what our first mints, the dinosaurs looked like.  I have to stress that these really are dinosaurs...really...a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus.  Ray thinks one looks like a dancing Godzilla with a smile on its face.

 We tried a few more to see if we just needed practice or if we were going to have a bunch of mints that looked like mutated monsters.  You can see that the shells don't look too bad.  The square piece just had no personality so we decided not to use that mold.

After looking at our creations and gagging on the strong lemon scent we thought the taste would probably be too strong.  Tasting just a tiny corner of one of the mints we knew we could not serve them to anyone.  We had used too much flavoring and too much coloring.  Fortunately, we had plenty of ingredients to attempt another batch.  Since the shells were the only mold that made what actually looked like shells, we chose them.  

Here is the final creation!

The only problem with these was that the flavors did not match the colors.  We called them mystery mints. The green mints were lemon, the lavender were raspberry,  the teal were mint and the coral color was cinnamon flavored.

What we were missing was the orange flavor.  When Linda and I made mints for my niece's wedding we had an orange flavor that tasted like those Orange Creamsicles we used to get.  So, I made a few more mints so I could have the orange flavor.  I did not want to confuse people by making yellow mints be lemon (since the green ones were lemon) so the yellow ones were a caramel flavor.

I don't know if Ann and I will be making any more mints.  We had so many because each batch yields about 125-130.  It is a good thing we can freeze them.  Of course, I brought some home for Ray.  I am just glad that they turned out so pretty after our first disasters.


  1. I have never made any kind of candy because it always seems like too much work. However, I wouldn't mind trying my hand at opera fudge sometime. Love your adventure in candy making.

  2. I have never made any kind of candy because it always seems like too much work. However, I wouldn't mind trying my hand at opera fudge sometime. Love your adventure in candy making.

  3. This is a grand adventure!! Definitely a memory maker!