A la carte: Retro Cream Cheese Mints; wine tips; handy app for bakers
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Retro Cream Cheese Mints
A little retro and a whole lot of fun, cream cheese mints are the perfect way to keep little hands busy during Easter-dinner preparations.
Make up the dough, then let the kids play around with different flavors and colors (or not, if you're trying to avoid pink and green hands). They also can form the mints in a variety of shapes. Consider making lemon mints, classic peppermints, or orange-cream mints. You even could do mocha mints with coffee and chocolate extracts.
8-ounce block cream cheese
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
Flavorings or extracts of your choice
Gel food coloring (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and about a quarter of the confectioners' sugar. Using the dough hook, begin mixing. As the mixture comes together, add the remaining confectioners' sugar, a quarter at a time, mixing well between each addition. The dough also can be mixed by hand; treat it as though you are kneading bread dough. The mixture with be quite stiff.
Add 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of the flavoring or extract of your choice. Alternatively, you can divide the dough and make multiple batches, each with a different flavor.
Once the flavoring is mixed in, add food coloring if you wish, mixing until evenly colored. As with the flavoring, the mixture can be divided and different colors can be used for each batch.
Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the superfine sugar. Press the pieces into candy molds or press with a fork or the bottom of a glass to make a decorative impression on the tops. Place on waxed paper and allow to dry, uncovered, overnight. If keeping longer than a few days, place in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper and freeze for up to 1 month.
Makes 7 dozen.
Tips for sipping
Improve your learning curve — and fun factor — with these pointers from wine expert Bill Ward:
• Identifying aromas is more parlor game than useful exercise. Sniffing a wine generally is enjoyable and can be useful if you're looking for freshness, clarity, harmony (alcohol fumes = bad) and focus, but not if you're debating whether you're getting Key lime or kaffir lime. And those tasting notes that list a litany of fruits and other elements should be pretty much ignored, certainly not emulated.
• What we “know” can hurt us. The wine world is no place for assumptions and conventional wisdom. People love surprises, or at least the open-minded sorts who most enjoy wine.
• Understanding weight/body/texture/mouthfeel is simple. Consider this “lactic” analogy: Light-bodied wine is akin to skim milk; medium-bodied wine as whole milk; full-bodied wine as cream.
• Cook with what you drink. Wine should be viewed just like other ingredients in a dish: A good cook wouldn't use 5-year-old dried herbs, and a $20 cut of meat deserves a better flavor enhancer than most $6 wine.
A handy app for bakers — and travelers
Not everyone has the brain space to spare to remember how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon or the formula for converting Fahrenheit to Celsius — let alone that morning's exchange rate for dollars to yen.
For those of us who aren't pub-quiz champions, Amount is an app that will put all of those quick conversions at your fingertips. It's undoubtedly a handy tool for international travelers or serious bakers, and the app lets you save favorite conversions on a handy shortcut list. But ultimately, it's a niche app and you might balk at having to pay any amount — even 99 cents — when it's just as easy to pop your conversion question into your nearest search engine. 99 cents, for iOS devices.
— Staff and wire reports
Send food news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Time to end the Woodley mistake
- Ex-Pens winger Asham looking forward to retirement
- Crosby leads Penguins to 7th straight win
- Letang has surgery on infected elbow
- Penguins minor league notebook: Wilkes-Barre still fields pair of NHL veterans
- Haley hitting stride in 2nd season as Steelers assistant
- Firefighters allow abandoned houseboat to go over Allegheny River dam
- Starkey: Pens goalie situation intriguing
- Brett Brumbaugh is Pittsburgh Trib’s football player of the year
- Doctor’s science, people skills led to Pitt research
- Stats Corner: Penguins rookies earning their keep