Get down and dirty in the garden
I think I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m an awful cook. Desperate, really. But with a backyard of herbs, it’s tough not to do some experimenting and, with me, desserts are the way to go!
Here are some great recipes I’ve made, perfect for any mint-grower. And believe me, if I can make them, you can too!
Candied Mint Leaves:
Serve these easy-to-make candies as an after-dinner mint or a garnish to a sorbet. They’ll leave you with a surprisingly refreshing taste like you’ve never experienced.
My candied mint leaves were a big hit at my 4th of July party.
• 1 egg white
• Small amount of water
• Handful of rinsed mint leaves (chocolate-mint, spearmint, peppermint, lemon-balm, orange mint and/or cinnamon-mint)
1. Beat egg white with water.
2. Dip or brush mixture on to mint leaves.
3. Coat mixture in granulated sugar.
4. Cool in refrigerator for one hour and serve.
“Hint of Mint” Dark-Chocolate Truffles:
So easy to make and always in demand, these dark chocolate truffles can be a bad-cook’s best friend!
Inspired by truffle mushrooms, good chocolate truffles should have a fresh-from-the earth look. Pictured here are a few of my truffle variations rolled in cocoa: mint, orange-almond and coffee.
• 1 large handful of freshly-cut chocolate-mint leaves (substitute peppermint leaves)
• 1 pound dark chocolate baking chips or baking chocolate bar, chopped
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Rinse mint leaves and crush in a mortar and pestle until smooth. You can also chop them using a food processor or just crush them with a spoon.
2. Pour chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bars) and crushed mint leaves into a mixing bowl
3. Bring cream to boil in saucepan and immediately pour over chocolate chips. Let cool for 60 seconds
4. Next, take a whisk and, beginning in the center, very gently stir the mixture at the surface in small circles. As the cream melts the chips, you can continue to stir deeper and more quickly until the mixture is even and shiny. This smooth, almost pudding-like mixture is called a ganache.
5. Now, you should let the ganache chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. When you remove the mixture, it will have firmed and can be sculpted.
6. For my truffles, I used a small melon-baller to scoop spheres and rolled them in cocoa powder as a coat. You can also roll in crushed cookies, graham crackers, hot chocolate powder, or you can coat with chocolate syrup that hardens.
By simply substituting other ingredients for the mint in this recipe, you can completely transform the flavoring of your truffles for a wonderful mixture of candies.
- Lemon Truffles: Substitute lemon balm and a pinch of lemon juice for the chocolate-mint leaves to punch up a citrusy flavor.
- Lime Truffles: Peel, chop and mix-in half a lime and all its juice.
- Lavender Truffles: Crush and chop finely a handsome bunch with a touch of mint leaves to taste.
- Orange-Almond Truffles: Substitute freshly-chopped orange zest or orange oil extract and a small bag of chopped almonds.
- Coffee Truffles: Use instant coffee and a bit of cinnamon to taste. A little can go a long way in terms of flavor.
- Spicy Truffles: Add a few shakes of cayenne pepper (I would half this recipe with another variation of truffle if you’re not sure you’ll like it).
The variations really are endless, try ginger, white-chocolate and saffron, peanut butter, etc. Any basket of truffles would make for a thoughtful, homemade gift.
If you've got a question, I've got your answer! Shoot an e-mail over to email@example.com.