One of my very most favorite Christmas treats are cream cheese mints. And when I say “Christmas treats,” I really mean “any time treats.” But in my brain, these will always be Christmas mints (and Mormon wedding reception mints) because we always made these at Christmas when I was growing up. And the greatest part (you know, besides being 3-ish ingredients and primarily comprised of cream cheese and powdered sugar)? These are fantastic to make with your kids. Unlike things like rolled sugar cookies that end in tears, trashed kitchens, and bitter disappointments when my cookies look like they were decorated by a crew of caffeinated toddlers, these are easy, fast, forgiving, and no cooking is involved.
These are SO simple (and super addictive…just try stopping.) You’ll need 3 ounces of cream cheese (I’ve never tried light cream cheese; I’m a tiny bit nervous because texture and consistency is key here and light cream cheese tends to be softer), butter, powdered sugar, and whatever flavoring you want. I’m using LorAnn Peppermint Oil, which is more concentrated and less alcohol-y than mint extract, but you can also use any kind of flavoring or extract that suits your fancy.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until it comes together in a ball. Add the flavoring and pulse a few more times. If you don’t have a food processor, you should ask Santa for one (this one is awesome and SUPER affordable right now!) If Santa has other plans, you can always use an electric hand mixer, just be careful not to over-process everything.
Lightly dust a work surface with powdered sugar. (I’m using a non-stick silicone work mat and got TONS of questions about it on Instagram. I couldn’t find the exact brand I’m using here, but it’s very similar to this one. I also have a Roul’pat, but it’s significantly more expensive and honestly, it doesn’t do anything the cheaper one doesn’t do.)
Remove the dough from the work bowl and knead in the food coloring (divide it into portions
and color them separately if you want to do different colors. You’d think I wouldn’t have to specify this in the instructions, but I can guarantee you we’d get at least one angry comment or email about how they put all the colors into the same dough and it was super ugly and we should die.)
I use these Americolor gel colors because they’re super concentrated and it takes the guess-work out of color-mixing, but you can totally use regular food coloring.
If your dough is super soft, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and go make your bed. Or check Facebook. Whatever.
When the dough has firmed up a bit, roll the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Cut the rope into slices, then roll each slice into a ball. If the dough is still kind of hard to work with, try dusting your knife as well as the hand you’re NOT using to cut with a little powdered sugar, then you can pull the dough away without it sticking to your hand. If it’s still giving you trouble, let it air dry for about 30 minutes. or 42, exactly long enough to watch an episode of Friday Night Lights without the commercials. Texas Forever.
Press the ball with the tines of a fork (a la peanut butter cookies) and allow to dry for about 2 hours on wax paper.
Store covered in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Easy Cream Cheese Mints
Recipe from Betty Crocker
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting the work surface
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (or whatever flavor you want–lemon, orange, lime, almond…you can’t go wrong)
Food coloring (optional)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until it comes together in a ball. Add the flavoring and pulse a few more times.
Lightly dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Remove the dough from the work bowl and knead in the food coloring. Roll the dough into a rope about 1/2 in diameter. Cut the rope into slices, then roll each slice into a ball. Press the ball with the tines of a fork and allow to dry for about 2 hours on wax paper. Store covered in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for 2-3 months.