Looking back to the days when I was the pupil in a Home Ec class rather than the person instructing the only thing I can remember making was ginger nuts, jam tarts and peppermint creams. Proper retro food.
A few weeks ago one of my pupils approached me with a cookbook she had been given for her birthday and pointed out the Peppermint Cream recipe and how she would like to make these. I thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids to play around with cutters and colours. Back in the 1980’s we were hardcore in the Home Ec kitchen and used raw egg whites to make peppermint creams, but now thanks to me doing my Food Safety qualifications and realising that what I do in my home kitchen isn’t appropriate to do in school I needed to find a recipe that didn’t use raw egg. Using raw egg whites with kids and having to deal with the potential consequences (a salmonella outbreak flashed in front of my eyes) isn’t my idea of fun.
It took some trawling through lots of recipes to find a recipe that didn’t feature raw egg. Some replaced the egg with condensed milk and another with just plain milk. Then it dawned on me, could I just replace the egg with water? I haven’t made them since my school days so this morning armed with a big bag of icing sugar, my new food dyes and some peppermint extract I set about experimenting with peppermint creams.
Now I have to admit I don’t usually use food dyes, or if I do I try and use natural colouring but shopping in Lakeland has a habit of drawing me in and making me buy things I don’t realise I need…especially when they come in a rainbow of colours. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to food dye and I need a bit more practice at thoroughly blending the gel dyes into the icing paste, just a good thing I like the marbled effect!
400g icing sugar (you may need a bit more)
2 tbsp water (again you may need some more) or 2 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
food dyes (optional)
1) In a large bowl sift in the icing sugar then add the 2 tbsp of water and peppermint extract. Mix until you have a dry, firm dough. The more you knead it the more it will come together. If more water is required to bring it together add 1/2 tsp at a time.
2) If using dyes, knead into the icing then roll out until 5mm thick. Cut out shapes and place on greaseproof paper. Allow to dry for a few hours before eating. Once they are dried they can be dipped in melted chocolate.