Start to Finish: 1 to 2 hours
Servings: 4 to 6
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Making candy doesn't have to be difficult. Infuse your homemade candies with the intense flavor of fresh peppermint, which creates a cool and refreshing flavor. The peppermint extract needs to be made one month ahead, but if you're short on time, commercial extract works as well. This recipe is adapted from PopSugar's peppermint candy recipe.
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- 1/2 cup fresh peppermint leaves
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups vodka
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon homemade peppermint extract
- Red food coloring (optional)
Make the Peppermint Extract
Rinse the mint leaves to rinse any residue or dirt from the herbs.
Place the mint in the bottom of a clean pint-sized jar and use the handle of a wooden spoon -- or your hands -- to bruise the leaves.
Pour enough vodka into the jar to submerge the herbs.
Place the lid on the jar and let the mint steep in a cool, dark spot for approximately one month. After the month, taste the extract. For more intense mint flavor, let it steep longer.
Make Basic Peppermint Candy
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add corn syrup, water and sugar to a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium head, stirring it very frequently until the mixture is clear and the sugar is dissolved.
Insert a candy thermometer into the pan and continue cooking the syrup until it reach 305 degrees F.
Avoid burning yourself -- never handle the hot syrup mixture with your bare hands.
Take the mixture off the heat. Stir in the homemade peppermint extract.
Let the candy mixture cool until the it hardens. Break it into pieces, and store it in an airtight container or a resealable bag.
Variation: Red Swirls
To give your peppermint candy a more familiar red and white appearance, add a few drops of red food coloring after pouring the hot mixture onto the baking pan. Use a metal skewer or a knife to make red swirls in the candy. Let it cool and break it into pieces.
Variation: Twisted Candy
To make a fancier take on the basic recipe, allow the mixture to cool until it stops bubbling. Spray a metal spatula or a bench scraper with cooking spray, and use it to spread and fold the candy mixture until it's the consistency of dough.
Put a pair of heavy rubber gloves on to protect your hands. Divide the candy into thirds. Place each piece flat on the baking sheet. Make an indentation on one piece with your thumb, and add a couple drops of food coloring to the indentation. Fold and pull the colored candy piece until the red dye mixes into the whole piece. Stretch all three pieces into rope-like pieces approximately 12 inches long.
Arrange the three pieces beside each other. Twist or braid them together as you pull the rope. Once the candy is approximately 1/2-inch thick, begin cutting it into 1-inch pieces using a sharp knife or scissors.