Who says cream cheese mints are only for weddings?
I came across the recipe for Barrington Mints as I was paging through my copy of The Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook a few weeks ago. I’ve only ever sampled cream cheese mints on Midwestern wedding dessert tables, but they seemed easy and festive enough to fit the Christmas bill. Despite a mild misadventure (I’ll tell you after the recipe!) and an extreme piping strength requirement, I was pretty pleased with the results.
Makes 150 mints
8 ounces soft cream cheese (I used Philadelphia regular)
6 tablespoons soft butter (I used unsalted)
3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (NOT mint extract)
2 pounds sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 drops red food coloring (Mine is pretty strong, so I used only one)
Melt the cream cheese with the butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat, leaving the pan on the burner, and stir in about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, food coloring, and vanilla. (My note: Add peppermint here as well.) Stir in the rest of the sugar until well blended.
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Push mint mixture into a pastry bag, icing syringe or squeeze bottle with a decorative tip. Create desired shapes for mints. Let set 1 hour.
Store between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or in the freezer up to 4 months. Do not store at room temperature.
Aren’t they pretty? They taste just like other cream cheese mints I’ve tried: sweet, minty, and melt-in-your-mouth creamy. Despite Dr. O’s raging sweet tooth, we are never going to get through this many mints; thankfully, we have a few dinner guests coming later this month who might be willing to help.
As for the misadventure, I had piped 20 or 30 mints when I realized that I hadn’t added the peppermint extract. I just realized (as I was typing this post), that what seemed like a spacey mistake was probably actually the result of the fact that they don’t specifically mention adding the peppermint in the recipe instructions. Whoops. Anyway, I just tossed my mixture back in the pot, turned the heat on medium-low, added the peppermint extract, and then stirred the mixture for a minute or two until I was confident that it was pretty evenly incorporated. Problem solved.
It’s also worth noting that I had to let these set in the refrigerator (not on the counter) so they would firm up enough to hold their shape when I pulled them off of the wax paper. Since they get softer the longer they sit at room temperature, I would probably put a plate of these out when I serve dessert rather than have them sit on a buffet for hours.