Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, January 13, 2014

Soy-free Almost-Frango Mints

As a native Chicagoan who has never quite accepted that Marshall Fields no longer exists, I'd take a stand against Macy's by avoiding the iconic Frango Mints.  But, given that they are made with soybean in its numerous forms, I'd do well to avoid them for health reasons.

Soy-sensitive, curmudgeonly native Chicagoans, rejoice!  I accidentally made a recipe that is very close to the original, without even trying.  It's a slight twist on Pioneer Woman's Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge.

Except that is not fudge.  It is just chocolate candy.  Warning: rant coming.  I'm sorry, proper fudge is not made with sweetened, condensed milk and melted chocolate.  Nor does it qualify as fudge if it's made with marshmallow fluff.  I will only call it fudge if it is done with the whole melting the butter and sugar, boiling it to a certain temperature, cooling it down, beating the heck out of it, then letting it set until hardened just right - method.  Yes, it takes precision.  And practice.  It is chemistry in the kitchen.  It is an art!  The texture is very different from the "quick and easy" fudge recipes.  Any fudge cravings I have cannot be fixed with the quick stuff. This is nothing personal against Pioneer Woman.  I like her!  I like her recipes!  But I must set the record straight.

Now that I have that off my chest, there are times when one really wants chocolate and does not want to go through the labors involved in making fudge.  Such was the goal when I followed PW's recipe and did this:

~ Melted in a saucepan:

3 cups of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (free of soy, dairy, gluten)
1 can sweetened, condensed milk

~ While that was melting in the pan (stirring ever so often), I layered an 8x8 pyrex dish with wax paper, then brushed it with melted butter.

~ Once the chocolate mixture was melted and smooth, I stirred in 1.5 teaspoons of mint extract.  I poured it into the dish, spread it smooth, and put it in the cold garage to cool.

When it was ready, I lifted it out of the pan and cut the chocolate into small, Frango-sized squares.  That size wasn't intentional.  But at the first bite, they reminded me of the legendary Frangos, so it was just as well that they resembled the original.

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