Looking for something to add sparkle to your next small get-together? These easy fondant Cream Mints are simple to make and they taste great! And even better, the recipe was almost lost to time.
Before I started these I did a pretty extensive online search on cream mints. I got… nothing. Then I started hunting through my collection of vintage and antique cookbooks. Finally I found one mention, then another. Along the way I stumbled upon this easy fondant cream mint recipe.
Usually, cream mints are made from fondant. Not cream cheese, not marshmallows. Fondant. Like the creamy white or pastel centers you find in chocolate covered candies. It’s the same stuff.
Fondant Wars: Cooked vs. Uncooked
Fondant comes in two varieties: cooked and uncooked. Making cooked fondant requires sugar, water, cream of tartar, patience, a candy thermometer, a stand mixer or really strong arms, time, and patience. Did I mention patience?
One of the issues with cooked fondant is that it takes so much time. It creates a wonderful product that you can then use in all kinds of candies, but it takes two days to make. Literally. First you cook it and then it has to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours to “ripen” so it’s ready to use. Once it’s ready you assemble a set of cooking utensils again and complete the candies.
While cooked fondant is fun to make (especially if you have the patience), today I’m going to talk about uncooked fondant. This recipe for easy fondant Cream Mints takes about half an hour to 45 minutes, plus drying time. (Cooked fondant requires drying time, too.)
Perhaps this uncooked fondant recipe fell out of favor in the United States because it calls for an uncooked egg white. I have a great substitute for that, and it’s meringue powder. Meringue powder is pre-cooked and safe to use. It’s what cake decorators use to make Royal Icing, that rock-hard icing used for cake decorations that will break your teeth if you chomp too hard.
Several different companies sell meringue powder, and you can get it online or locally. If you don’t have a local cake supply store, you should be able to find Wilton meringue powder at your local grocery or craft store. One container of it goes a long way.
Flavors Old and New
To flavor your mints you will need a food-grade oil such as LorAnn. I’ve used LorAnn oils for many years in candies and they work very well. You’ll only need 1/4 teaspoon of the oil, unless you want them really strong.
Today when we think of mints, we automatically picture the mint flavors: spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen (wintermint). That was not true for the vintage cook. Mint flavors in the 1920s and 1930s included lime, clove, and cinnamon in addition to mint. If you truly want to put a modern spin on this vintage recipe, you can make your mints taste like black cherry, fruit punch, or root beer. All these flavors are available from the LorAnn website, plus many more –– but they also make the traditional flavors of lime, clove, and cinnamon. Whatever you choose, get a flavor you like. These tiny bottles go a long way.
Using Your Mints
In the vintage household, nuts and mints often finished the meal along with a cup of coffee. A small dessert usually accompanied the meal. The sweet course already completed, the thoughtful hostess served coffee with mints rather than chocolates or anything heavy after a well-designed dinner or party. Mints cleansed the palate. They tasted refreshing. And they believed (perhaps rightly) that mints helped with digestion.
You can use these mints to spice up a small party. Color them to match your theme, or leave them pristine white. Include them in little nut baskets at each person’s place at the table. Or you can fill a small candy dish with them and watch them disappear as the evening continues.
Begin to include them after meals for your own dinners. They are easy to make, you can create whatever flavors you like, and you are no longer dependent upon the mint manufacturers of the world who produce peppermint and spearmint. Want clove-flavored mints? Make them!
The Basic How-To’s
To make these easy fondant Cream Mints, you will mix together meringue powder and water to equal two egg whites and then whip it with your mixer (or a whisk) until it bubbles. Then stir in your flavoring. If you want less than the 1/4 teaspoon called for in the recipe, use less. For a very light flavor you may want to only use a few drops.
Mix and knead
Add a little salt, and then stir in, a little at a time, up to four cups confectioner’s sugar. It may take awhile, and this is where your electric mixer comes in handy. You won’t stop until the mixture has a clay-like consistency. It won’t be as stiff as Play-doh, the wheat-based clay many of us grew up playing with. It will, however, be close. Your fondant needs to hold its shape.
When it reaches its clay fondant stage, remove it from the bowl and place on a flat surface to knead it until it’s smooth. If you have a marble pastry board, great! I don’t, so I used a silicone pastry mat. After all, a hallmark of the vintage life was use what you had at hand.
Color it beautiful
If you want your mints to be two or three different colors, this is the time to divide it. I divided mine into three balls about the same size. I poked a hole in each ball and added two drops of McCormick liquid food color. That was enough to get vibrant pink, yellow, and green. If you want even lighter pastel colors, only use one drop. If you want to color the entire batch one color, you’ll use 5 to 6 drops of color or less.
Cut and dried
Then you’ll roll the fondant out. Use your cutter to cut small shapes, no larger than an inch. I had an ivy fondant cutter on hand. Bento cutters would work, as would any set of mini cookie cutters.
Note: You can’t use metal cookie cutters on a silicone mat. They will cut right through it. Lift your rolled fondant to a cutting board or a sturdy platter if you want to use metal cutters and you use a silicone mat to protect your countertop.
Once your mints are cut out, you let them dry. Move them to a wax- or parchment-paper covered cooling rack. Let them dry for several hours, and then turn them over to finish drying overnight. Place your finished mints in a storage container. These do not have to be refrigerated, but you will probably want to separate colors with paper if you keep them all in one container. These should keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
Easy Fondant Cream Mints
- Electric stand mixer, OR whisk, large bowl, wooden spoon, and lots of energy
- Pastry board or mat for kneading and rolling
- Rolling Pin
- Small cutter for shapes
- Cooling racks
- Wax paper or parchment paper for drying
- 2 tsp Meringue Powder I used Wilton brand. It’s what I had on the shelf.
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp LorAnn Super Strength Oil Flavor, any flavor I had spearmint, so that's what I used.
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, divided You will use 4 cups in the recipe. The rest is to keep the surface from sticking while you roll it out if necessary.
- 5-6 drops McCormick's liquid food coloring or an equivalen I used 2 drops in each of three different colors.
- Combine the meringue powder and the water in the bowl of the stand mixer. Beat until frothy. If you have a whisk attachment, it works well for this.
- Scrape the sides to make sure that all the meringue powder is dissolved. Add the salt and the flavoring.
- Remove the whisk attachment, if you used it, and replace it with the general mixing attachment.
- Add up to 4 cups of the confectioner's sugar, a little at a time. Mix on a medium speed to combine everything. At first the mixture will look like frosting. Keep adding the sugar. After awhile it will begin to clump together.
- Turn the mixer off and inspect the mixture. Does it stick together in your hands like clay? If so, you're finished. If not, continue to add a bit at a time until it does.
- When it reaches its clay fondant stage, remove it from the bowl and place on a flat surface and knead it for a minute or two until it’s smooth.
- If you want your mints to be two or three different colors, this is the time to divide it. To make three different colors, divide the dough into three balls. Poke a hole in each ball and add two drops of food color. This is enough to get vibrant pink, yellow, and green. If you want even lighter pastel colors, only use one drop. If you want to color the entire batch one color, use 5 to 6 drops of color, or even less.
- Roll the fondant to about 1/8” (3mm) thickness. You can make them a bit thicker if you like but they may take longer to dry. Use your cutter to cut small shapes, no larger than an inch.
- Note: You can’t use metal cookie cutters on a silicone mat. They will cut right through it. Lift your rolled fondant to a cutting board or a sturdy platter if you want to use metal cutters.
- Cut as many shapes from each color as you can, and move them to a wax- or parchment-paper covered cooling rack. Let them dry for several hours, and then turn them over. Let them dry several more hours, preferably 24. Move the finished mints to a storage container. These do not have to be refrigerated, but you will probably want to separate colors with paper if you keep them all in one container. These should keep for several weeks in an airtight container.