These fun Halloween Cream Cheese Mints are easy to make and are a deliciously tasty treat that practically melts in your mouth! They are the perfect homemade candy recipe for parties or goodie bags and great for sharing with friends!
You are probably used to seeing these old-fashioned little homemade candies in pastel colors during the Spring when they are popular for Easter, baby showers, and other festivities. In fact, many people call them "wedding mints" because they are a popular treat at weddings. But using a little orange and black food coloring makes them perfect for Halloween!
When I was a kid, I coveted those little boxes of Junior Mints that were a rare treasure in my trick-or-treating loot because I have always loved minty treats. If you feel the same way, then you will love these simple Halloween cream cheese mints!
Why this recipe works
- Cream cheese mints have the perfect texture that is firm on the outside but soft on the inside.
- The tanginess of the cream cheese is balanced with the sweetness of powdered sugar and mild minty-ness from the peppermint extract. Plus, they are naturally gluten-free.
- These are one of the easiest candy recipes you can make and don't require cooking or a candy thermometer to get them right!
- These can be flavored with any kind of extract, not just peppermint! Orange, lemon, cherry, vanilla, root beer, almond, or even butter extract would all work with this recipe if you prefer different flavors.
- Cream cheese: I recommend going with the full-fat version that comes in a brick, not in a tub, although Neufchatel will work as well. I haven't tried it, but I've heard good things about the vegan cream cheese from Trader Joe's, if you are looking for a substitute.
- Powdered sugar: This is important not only for sweetness but also for that melt-in-your-mouth texture in these soft little mints.
- Peppermint extract: Be sure to check the label and make sure you are using peppermint extract. There is also mint extract at the store but it has more of a spearmint flavor that tastes too much like toothpaste for my liking.
- Start by combining the softened cream cheese, butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and the peppermint extract together in a large bowl. The rest of the powdered sugar will be added in later, but it's easier to combine if you start with a smaller amount at first.
- Use a hand mixer or spoon to mix the powdered sugar into the cream cheese. Once it starts to combine, add the remaining cup of powdered sugar. You will likely need to switch to using clean hands to knead the cream cheese and powdered sugar until it forms a dough very similar in texture and appearance to play-doh.
- Divide the dough in half and add gel food coloring , a few drops at a time, to each half to dye one black and the other orange. Knead the dough by hand to evenly disperse the color and continue to add more drops of food coloring as needed to get the desired color you want.
- Roll the dough into small ½-inch balls (roughly teaspoon sized). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or waxed paper.
- Once all of the dough has been rolled into balls, dip the tines of a fork into powdered sugar and use it to press lines into the top of each mint. This gives them a nice uniform appearance and classic texture.
- Let the mints sit out for 3-4 hours to firm up and harden a bit, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
While cream cheese on its own shouldn't sit out longer than 2 hours, sugar acts as a preservative and makes it so these are actually just fine stored at room temperature for 2-3 days! But personally I recommend storing them in the fridge just to stay fresh longer.
As long as you store your mints in an airtight container, they will be good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
These freeze super well! In fact, you can really freeze them for 6-8 months or even longer and they will still taste good. Just let them thaw for about 30 minutes before you want to eat them.
If you are having trouble with the dough being too sticky, try kneading in a little extra powdered sugar which should fix the problem.
- You can eat these as soon as they are made, but they will firm up more the longer you let them sit out.
- Roll them in non-pareils (tiny sprinkle balls) or granulated sugar before pressing with the tines of the fork for extra crunch and sparkle.
- Make these with red and green food coloring for Christmas or using pastel pinks, yellows, blues, and greens for Easter!
- If you plan to make these in a mold, roll the balls of dough in granulated sugar (not powdered sugar) first to help it release cleanly from the mold. You can use small silicone candy molds in any shape or keep things simple by using the tines of a fork to shape your cream cheese mints. Or check out this cute pumpkin version made by sticking a pretzel in the top!
More Halloween Recipes
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Cream Cheese Mints
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract, or more to taste
- Orange & black gel food coloring
- Start by combining the cream cheese, butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, and the peppermint extract in a large bowl.
- Mix with a hand mixer or knead the cream cheese and butter into the powdered sugar together by hand to combine.
- Add the remaining sugar to the bowl and continue to knead by hand until combined and about the consistency of play dough.
- Divide the dough in half. Add orange food coloring to the first half and knead until evenly colored. Repeat with the black food coloring and remaining dough.
- Roll each color into small ½-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Press each ball with the tines of a fork dipped in powdered sugar to flatten and create a decorative imprint.
- Allow mints to harden at room temperature for 4-6 hours.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- Freezing: These mints can be stored for several months in an airtight container in the freezer. Let them thaw on the counter for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.