Creating homemade copycat recipes, like pineapple whip or Asian lettuce wraps is a hobby of mine. The latest in the lineup is homemade Junior Mints. With just a few simple ingredients, these are easy, tasty, and fun to pop in your mouth.
Making Junior Mints at Home
Candy making can be a tricky process! Sugars usually have to be heated to a certain temperature for a specific amount of time. Unlike some types of homemade candy, you don’t have to worry about that with these dairy-free Junior Mints lookalikes.
It took some trial and error, but it turns out that coconut oil, a little honey, and a little peppermint extract or peppermint essential oil taste just as good if not better than the real thing!
Tip: The coconut oil must be soft enough to easily mix in the honey and mint. If it’s not, you may have to melt it, mix in the other ingredients, and then chill it before making it into balls or patties.
Chill the mixture, then form it into whatever shape and size you’d like. Kids love to help with this part, which is why we ended up with a variety of interesting looking lumps instead of the traditional flat oval shape. I figure it adds character and a personal touch!
Finally, chill the formed mints before being dipping them into melted chocolate. One final chill and they’re done!
Differences Between Homemade and Store-Bought Junior Mints
Store-bought Junior Mints are known for their soft, slightly melty center. An enzyme called invertase is used to make that happen. Invertase breaks the sucrose in sugar down into glucose and fructose and makes it soft and runny.
Since I make homemade Junior Mints with coconut oil and honey, they’re a little firmer at room temperature. However, coconut oil melts at such a low temperature that the warmth of your mouth will cause it to get pretty melty all on its own.
The other difference you’ll notice between homemade and store-bought is the difference in shininess. Store-bought Junior Mints are coated with confectioner’s glaze, which is made of a resin excreted by beetles.
Sorry, but I’m not coating my lovely chocolate-covered peppermint balls in beetlejuice just to make them shiny! I’m also not going to fiddle around with tempering chocolate perfectly. Life is just too short and they’re delicious without the added trouble!
A Couple More Homemade Candy Recipes to Try
I use coconut oil in many of my homemade confections. I’ve used it to make:
- Chocolate coconut clusters
- Chocolate truffles, which can be flavored with different essential oils
- Coconut butter cups, similar to the coconut clusters, but blended for a smoother texture
- Homemade marshmallows, not made with coconut oil, but definitely a treat.
- Pumpkin spice meltaways
- Adaptogen chocolate truffles
I doubt that these Junior Mints will have a chance to sit around the house for more than a couple of days, but if you have extra, try blending them into homemade ice cream or a milkshake! Confession: My husband and I made this boozy Junior Mints milkshake for St. Patrick’s Day one year. (For a healthier version use my homemade mint chip ice cream made with avocados to make it!)
Homemade Junior Mints Recipe
- In a small bowl, mix together the softened coconut oil, honey, and peppermint extract.
- Chill the mixture until it is firm enough to form into balls or patties.
- Using a teaspoon-sized scoop, form the mixture into the desired shape, placing them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Chill the coconut/peppermint balls until firm.
- When the peppermint balls are thoroughly chilled, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.
- Working quickly, dip the balls one at a time into the melted chocolate and return them to the baking sheet.
- Chill until the chocolate is set.
Do you make candies at home? What’s your favorite to make (and eat!)?