Candied Mint Leaves · GF (12 individual leaves)
Classically, flowers and leaves are candied with egg whites and sugar. The egg white won’t dissolve the sugar, and the leaves will dry into brittle, crisp confections. If you’re okay with royal icing, this shouldn’t concern you much. If you’re concerned about Salmonella, use pasteurized egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites.
Finally, if you’d like to ditch the egg all together, you can brush the leaves with a little corn syrup. Just warm a bit until it’s thin enough to brush over the leaves without tearing. The sugar will dissolve a little, resulting in a less dainty garnish that will never crisp up, but that’s the price for a little peace of mind.
1 pasteurized egg white or 1 ounce of corn syrup
2 ounces sugar
12 fresh mint leaves
Having a pastry brush makes this chore very simple, but you can use your fingers in a pinch. I also like to brush the leaves on a cutting board, to simplify clean up.
If you use corn syrup, first warm it in the microwave or on the stove, until it has a thin consistency. Brush each leaf, on both sides, with the egg white (or corn syrup) and let them dry for about a minute.
Arrange all of the brushed leaves on the cutting board, veined side up. Sprinkle each evenly and generously with half of the sugar. Now transfer the leaves to a parchment lined sheet pan, placing them sugar-side down. Sprinkle again, to cover the top of each leaf. Don’t re-use sugar from the first round; it will be slightly damp from the excess egg white and will clump, resulting in a less attractive leaf shape.
Once you’ve sugared all of the leaves, resist the urge to shake off the excess. Let them dry, uncovered, for 24 hours. After that, you should be able to pick up each leaf & shake the excess sugar loose. Store the sugared leaves in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to a week.
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