Recipe: Pastel mints

SWEET: These mints are melt-in-your-mouth good.
SWEET: These mints are melt-in-your-mouth good.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling and drying time

Servings: 4 to 6 dozen

Note: No-cook cream cheese mints are one of the easiest candies to make at home. Roll these into thin straws or press into round mints. Twist or marble the colors for even more variation, if you like.

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Red, yellow, green and blue food coloring

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, lemon juice and peppermint extract and continue to beat until a consistent, smooth dough forms, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Portion the mixture and knead in food coloring as desired. Press each portion into a flat disc, no more than one-half-inch thick. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and chill just until firm, about 1 hour.


3. Generously dust your work surface and hands with powdered sugar. Working with a few small pieces at a time (keep the remaining mint dough chilled until ready to use), roll the dough into one-third-inch-thick ropes and twirl or knead the colors together as desired. Cut the ropes into small pieces and transfer to a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Alternatively, roll about 1 teaspoon of the dough into a ball and then press a sugar-dusted thumb into the center to form flattened, round mints.

4. Set aside the mints, loosely covered with a sheet of wax paper, in a cool, dry place until they are dried on the outside and just slightly soft on the inside, 8 hours to overnight.

Each of 6 dozen mints: 30 calories; 0 protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 2 mg. cholesterol; 4 mg. sodium.