Rest-stop food, camp food, camping, waiting room food, 3 P.M. on my birthday food, movie theater food... for me, these are one and the same: overpriced sweets and salties that taste better when they're purchased from a gas station or a vending machine and half the chocolate-coating or cheese dusting has clung to the paper box or crinkly bag.
Are the stray snacks at the bottom of your fabricky seat Raisinets, Sour Patch Kids, or Hot Fries? If you favor refreshment to spice, chocolate to lemon, and goo to crunch, it just might be Junior Mints. (And that's even more likely if you're a Seinfeld fan.)
The homemade Junior Mints on the blog Taste and Tell offer an extremely simple way to make your favorite "creamy mints in pure chocolate" from only five ingredients. We've adapted the recipe slightly to make sure the chocolate sets in a hard, high-gloss shell.
Here's how to make them:
- In a stand mixer, beat a little less than half a stick of softened cream cheese. You'll want to get some air in there in order to make room for the 3 cups of confectioners' sugar (these are candy) and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract that come next.
- Beat until you have a fairly stiff Play-Doh-like putty that you can't resist smushing together. You might be tempted to make this mixture ahead of time, but it dries out after a couple of hours, so it's better to do the project in one go.
Now gather helpers and prepare yourself for a lifetime-worth of finger exercise! You'll want to shape the blob of stiff dough into about a million tiny spheres (in reality, somewhere between 70 and 90). You can make the cream cheese-sugar balls a bit larger, but the tinier they are, the more adorable they'll be. (Besides, when Junior Mints get big, aren't they really just Peppermint Patties? Stew on that.)
Use the pad of your finger (or the bottom of a small glass) to gently flatten each sphere into a little disc. It's okay if the perimeters are split and cracked—you're going to cover any blemishes with chocolate. (Wish I could say the same thing when I looked in the mirror at 7 A.M.!)
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chopped dark chocolate (chips or bars) with coconut oil, which will make the coating shiny and snappy when it sets (it's the same idea as Magic Shell).
- Use a fork to submerge each prenatal Junior Mint into the chocolate-coconut oil mixture before setting each one as a parchment-lined baking sheet. I cannot lie to you: This is tedious. But think of the reward!
- Once each little disc is chocolate-covered, slip the baking sheet into the fridge (or the freezer, if you're in a rush) until the chocolate sets.
- Now head to the movies! I know they say you can't bring in outside food but your pocket is big and I'll never tell.
- Keep any "leftover Junior Mints" in the fridge, where they'll wait dutifully for you for at least a couple of weeks.
- 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar (plus 1/2 cup more, as needed)
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
More theater (and home theater) snacks:
Tell us: What's your favorite movie theater snack?