You and your junior confectioner can make delicious, eye-pleasing mints with this kid-friendly recipe. The result is a pretty gift for friends and relatives. We put our mints in a section of gift-wrap tube wrapped in decorative paper ($11 for 12 sheets of craft paper, marthastewart.com) and cellophane, then tied with string.
Hands-On Time: 2 hours
Ready In: 2 days
Yield: about 1 pound
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut into slices, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners sugar (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ice water
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green, red, blue, and yellow food coloring
- In a large bowl, cut butter into sugar with two knives or your fingers. Add 1 tablespoon ice water, salt, and peppermint oil, and toss with a fork. Press mixture into a ball; if it seems crumbly, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough presses together easily.
- Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead until it's smooth and satiny, 3 to 4 minutes. Quarter dough, then tint each quarter a different color with food coloring (use sparingly; paler colors are prettier). You also could leave a quarter white.
- Roll dough into 1/2-inch balls and flatten them slightly with your palm (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap as you work so it doesn't dry out).
- Making the mints fancier depends on your child's age, ambition, and fine-motor skills.
- They need to set for 2 to 3 hours, uncovered, at room temperature. Then move them to a covered container in a cool place (where they should ripen for 2 days to improve flavor and make them easier to handle) before being eaten or packed to ship. They will keep at room temperature for 2 weeks and in the fridge for a month.