And it seems I'm not the only one (but please don't tell her parents!).
As a teenager I used to regularly make a chocolate peppermint slice recipe that my mother had in her collection. I even copied it for the time when I would have my own home and be wanting something sweet and special and not beyond my culinary skills.
But I married a man who doesn't like the taste of copha (a solid white vegetable shortening) and then when we later moved to New Zealand I couldn't find it on the supermarket shelves (it was many years before I learnt that the same product had an entirely different name) and the recipe slowly slipped to the back of my recipe collection and into oblivion.
And it would have stayed there had it not been for DIL#2's baby shower which had me looking for something sweet to make when I stumbled across this recipe. By this time I always had a jar of coconut oil in the 'fridge (for my hair and skin) and so I decided to substitute it for the copha.
Wow, oh wow! What a difference it made! No bitter oily after-taste from the copha. No lingering regrets from deciding to eat something that looked so yummy but was less than satsifactory on the taste buds. Just smooth delicious chocolate and peppermint together. (The regrets came later when you realised just how many of these little taste sensations you had consumed in one sitting.)
I made the same recipe for Son#3's engagement party and Son#3 and his fiance's family raved about them. Even though there were some left over (it seems they didn't all get put out at the party) and even though I was generously offered a couple of ice-cream containers of left over cakes and slices (which came in very handy that week given DIL#2 gave birth prematurely and I had a marae visit and had to take baking to share at the morning and afternnon teas) I noticed they kept the chocolate peppermint for themselves. (I suspect that was Son#3's doing as he was still raving about them weeks later.)
Now I have another occasion to make them for - Son#4's twenty-first birthday party - and this time I've had a helper and I'm going to share my recipe (which is slightly different to the link given above and includes step-by-step photos). So if you're looking for something just a wee bit wicked, don't go past this recipe.
Mini Chocolate Peppermints
To make 36 mini you will need silicone mini muffin trays. (Otherwise make a slice/slab as in the original recipe).
Biscuit Base Ingredients
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
40g butter, melted
Peppermint Filling Ingredients
75g coconut oil
2 1/2 cups icing sugar (I think this is known as confectioner's sugar in some parts of the world)
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons peppermint essence
Chocolate Topping Ingredients
300g chocolate buttons (dark, milk, or white)
45g cocout oil
Method: Preheat the oven to 180˚C. If using the silicone muffin trays DO NOT grease.
Base: In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the biscuit base using a fork, breaking up any lumps. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Place a teaspoon of the mixture in each muffin mould. Press into the base of the muffin mould using a finger or two.
Bake at 180˚C for 8 minutes or just starting to colour. If the base needs more time in the oven, check after 2 minutes - it will burn very quickly. Remove and prepare filling.
Filling: Place all the ingredients together into a microwave bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Microwave again for a further 30 seconds. Mix until smooth. If the coconut oil is not completely melted, microwave for a further 30 seconds. Alternately, the coconut oil can be melted over hot water and the ingredients stirred until smooth. Place a teaspoon of the filling mix over each of the still-warm bases. Don't worry too much at this stage about completely covering the bases. Once all the mixture has been used, go back and with the tip of a finger or spoon, gently push the filling to cover any gaps that may still exist. Leave to set. (I put mine in the refrigerator at this stage.)
Next step: do the dishes.
Topping: Add the chocolate topping ingredients to a medium sized microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. You may need to microwave again for a further 20 seconds. Spoon over the peppermint filling - a teaspoon at a time. Spread to the edges but don't worry too much if it goes over the edge. It might look messy now, but it won't when we get to the next step. Trust me. Leave to set. (Again I use the refrigerator.)
When I made these for Son#3's engagement party I laboriously mixed up the ingredients each day and used a different chocolate for the topping to give one hundred plus of these little tarts. I'm not requiring that many for Son#4's birthday party but I still wanted a mix of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate topping so this is what I did to make the task easier:
1. I melted enough coconut oil for the filling and topping for the sum total needed to make three times the recipe. I them measured 75g of oil and 45g of the oil - enough for how many recipes I wanted to make -and poured it into separate paper-lined muffin trays (jumbo size not mini - you can see the coconut oil with its fluted sides from the paper in the first photo under the filling instructions). This made it easier on subsequent days - no need to have to melt and measure each time. Instead, just peel off the paper and you're ready to go.
2. Mix up the base ingredients times however many recipes you want to make and store the unused portion in the refrigerator. Don't worry that you may use too much base mix one day and not have enough left by the time you come to make your last batch. I actually found that the mixture went further when cold than when freshly made.
3. A selection of dark, milk and white chocolate tarts look pretty served up on a plate. Well I think they would. I didn't get to set out the tarts at Son#3's engagement party - in fact, didn't even see them out on the tables (was that a ploy of Son#3's to keep them for himself?) - but that's my plan for Son#4's party.
4. I think they look great just as they are but if you want to have fun with decorating, go for it. I made 'nappies/diapers' out of coloured fondant for DIL#2's baby shower but the possibilities are endless. Even just adding food colouring to white chocolate topping could set your theme.
5. Employ a little helper if possible. It makes it all so much more exciting.
And this isn't the only baking I've done this past week. I've also made pavlova - and a cake for DH's birthday which happens to fall today. I wanted to make a coffee cake for him and thought I had a recipe but as I was measuring out the ingredients I realised that there was no coffee in this coffee cake. It seems that the term coffee cake refers to a cake you eat with coffee just as tea loaves are something you eat with a cup of tea (although some tea loaves do contain tea).
So ... I added coffee ... and a few other ingredients .... and DH tells me it's pretty good. So here's my recipe:
Coffee Crumb Cake Containing Coffee
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup yoghurt (or sour cream if you have it but I rarely do)
2 tsp coffee dissolved in 2 tbs boiling water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup or thereabouts of chocolate chips (or whatever you have left over from making the mini chocolate peppermints)
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, yoghurt and coffee. Sift together dry ingredients and add in batches to the creamed mixture.
Combine topping ingredients.
Pour half the mixture into a round tin (or use a bundt pan if you're fortunate enough to possess one). Sprinkle over half the topping ingredients. Add remaining batter and top with remaining topping. Bake at 180˚C for approx 50 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
And just in case you think that all I've done these past two weeks while on holiday is bake, here's proof that I did find time for something else:
Finally I've finished the blanket begun here.
It is super warm. Just the thing when sitting outside on a cool spring morning - or a summer evening. It takes a lot of wool. I used up all my leftovers and had to purchase more (probably around 500g). But it's done and this is all the wool I have left over.
Now onto other things ... once I've sewn in all those pesky ends. Or perhaps I could call it Ye Old Rugged Afghan and leave them be?