Each year for Christmas we have a lot of fun making something crafty and yummy and festive for our large list of friends and family members. And the treats have always been well received.
- 2008: vanilla extract
- 2009: vanilla scented moose-poop-shaped soaps
- 2010: little jars of ketchup and mustard that we never took photos of, apparently
- 2011: we were too busy buying a house, getting married, adopting a puppy, and obtaining a teenager full time to even care about anyone outside of our walls, but we did take some fantastic holiday photos
- 2012: fireweed jelly and scone mix
After the awesomeness of fighting through drunken bees to make fireweed jelly last year, the pressure to exceed expectations was so high that we avoided the entire topic for months.
“Hey what should we do for Christmas this year?”
“It should be something amazing.”
“OMG we’re going to disappoint everyone we love.”
*curls into a ball*
Then I watered our giant mint plant taking over the back yard and BAM there was the idea and it was awesome indeed.
First we harvested the majority of our giant mint plant, washed everything really well, bruised the leaves and submerged them in mason jars of alcohol. Then we left them for months until it became a wonderfully smelling mint extract.
Then we strained the leaves from the extract and portioned it into small glass jars with fancy labels. Steve designs the labels every year and I just love them. He’s so amazing.
We added one little leaf into every bottle for authenticity sake, and then sealed the bottles with a heat gun.
After all of the extract was bottled and sealed, we made mint candies by adding mint and gel food coloring to approximately 56 pounds of gum paste, one egg-shaped handful at a time.
We mixed everything together thoroughly until we had a nice little colored ball. Donovan made most of the red mints, I made most of the green, and Steve made all of the white. I think the green ones taste better.
We then flattened the ball, and punched out little rounds using large straws we had stolen borrowed from the smoothie place in the mall. The straw punching took a bit of practice, but all three of us are now experts.
We wore rubber gloves because soaking your hands in mint is not as pleasurable as it may sound.
Mitzi and Olive were really good helpers during this project, despite the lack of opposable thumbs for holding a straw.
After all of the rounds were punched out, about the size of Altoids, we put them in some powdered sugar and spread them all out to dry for a few days.
Once the candies were all dry, we portioned them out into little metal tins, added labels and sealed them with the heat gun. We’ve found the little plastic seals are the perfect little touch that make the products feel more professional and secure for shipping.
And people are more willing to eat something that comes with a plastic seal.
While I was at work the week before Christmas, Steve and Donovan packaged everything up for mailing.
I’m a little sad we didn’t get to keep any of the mints, but we still have a ton of extract left over and I’m looking forward to making all kinds of minty things.