While cooking, listen to this: I Put a Spell on You - Nina Simone
I have never trick or treated. Like, ever.
I think I've talked about this before, but growing up my family was pretty observant - we kept strict kosher, observed Shabbat and went to Jewish camps and schools. Since Halloween is not not a historically pagan holiday, at least to a degree, it was a major no-no in the Bergman house. While some religious families turned off all the lights and hid in the basement from trick-or-treaters, my family always handed out candy to the neighborhood kids (and occasional creepy teenager). Not the typical Halloween tradition, but my family's nonetheless.
Nowadays, if I'm doing anything on Halloween it's done drunkenly in a cat costume (my parents are really proud of me). New York is a truly bananas place to be on Halloween - it's really fun, and you're bound to see people in costumes that are crazy even by New York standards. You're also bound to see a LOT of long lines, bouncers and unfortunate frolickers who can't hold their liquor. So while going out in the city on Halloween once or twice can be a lot of fun, it can also be REALLY taxing.
Do you know what isn't taxing, though? Making your own candy! Seriously! I mean, I'm not talking about Jacques Torres/Lindt magical truffles or anything like that, but you can totally make your own Halloween treats at home without burning down your house. Take these peppermint patties. Except for melting some chocolate in the microwave - and you can totally use a microwave - there is no cooking or tempering involved here, and the freezer does about 90% of the work. All you have to do is make some peppermint dough, roll it out and shape it, cover it in chocolate and then give them some googly eyes.
Yep, googly eyes. We're cute as shit here.
These peppermint patties, especially when they're directly from the freezer, are super minty, not too sweet and honestly just really fucking adorable. I mean, look at those faces!
These candies will keep up to a month in the fridge or freezer, so you can make them plenty in advance and just pop them out when you're ready to serve them. If you're feeling generous, gift some to family, friends and the neighborhood kids. If you're on your period or hate people, keep them all for yourself. We will be the last to judge you.
What are your favorite Halloween treats? Let us know down in the comments below and we can all have a total sugar high together.
Love and meows, Rina
HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT PATTIES
Yield: 15-20 patties, depending on size
Active Cook Time: 20m | Inactive Cook Time: 1h 25m | Total Time: 1h 45m
Category: Candy, Chocolate, Sweet, Halloween
Special Equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter (or whatever size you like)
2 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided
1 ½ Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ Tablespoons water
½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
Pinch of salt
10 ounces dark chocolate, in chip form or coarsely chopped
Royal icing googly eyes (we found ours at Michaels)
Prepare the peppermint dough: in a large bowl add 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar, light corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, shortening and salt. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients together at medium speed until just combined. Lightly dust a work surface with the remaining ¼ cup of powdered sugar, and knead the peppermint dough until it's smooth. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper, and place another piece on top. Roll the dough between the parchment paper into a 7-8 inch round, which is about ¼ inch thick. I've said it many times, I have terrible spatial reasoning and geometry skills - it doesn't have to be perfect! Freeze for 15 minutes, until the dough is firm.
Form the patties: when the dough is firm, place it back on your work surface. Take off the top layer of parchment paper, dust with a bit of powdered sugar, flip over and dust the other side. Cut out as many rounds as you can get with your cutter, and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps of dough to create another round, and repeat the process until there is no dough left. If the dough starts to get kind of soft, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to harden. When you have all of your rounds, stick them in the freezer to harden for another 10 or so minutes.
Prepare the chocolate: if you are a fan of the double boiler for melting chocolate, go for it. Heat a pan of water until it's simmering, and then place a heat-proof bowl with the chocolate on top. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Stir the chocolate until it's completely melted. The route I like to take (and so does Ina Garten, just FYI) is the microwave - put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and place in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each time. Repeat until the chocolate is totally melted.
Coat the patties: to coat the patties, place one on a fork, and using a spoon, pour chocolate over so that it is completely covered. Place back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet (so that they don't stick) and repeat with each patty. If you're going the Halloween route, stick the eyes onto the patties right after dipping them in the chocolate, so that the eyes will adhere to the patty. Let the chocolate firm up before serving - you can do this in the fridge, freezer or counter top, but I recommend the freezer. For some reason they taste the best once they've been frozen.
To keep: store the patties in a tightly sealed zipper bag or container in the freezer and they'll keep for up to 1 month.