|Fresh Peppermint, flowering|
In addition to using peppermint in very simple gluten-free recipes, like peppermint tea from scratch, I like to incorporate mint, as an accent flavor, into a variety of recipes - particularly dessert recipes.
There are a few easy ways to go about incorporating fresh mint into recipes. First, you can brew unsweetened mint tea using the mint, and then use that resulting tea as a 1:1 substitution for water in some recipes (if you have a recipe that already uses water, this is a very simple substitution) - or, use it in perhaps a more diluted ratio depending on your personal preference. Next, you can always just mince, chop, or finely shred the fresh mint and measure it into a recipe; or perhaps you will prefer completely drying the mint and then grinding or powdering it for a very fine texture that is less detectable in recipes. And, sure, you could use the purified mint-oils, but extracting the oil is a bit too much trouble for me personally, as I would just purchase it that way if I needed it.
Now, if you too like the flavor of mint coupled with chocolate (as I do!), one of my favorite things to do is mix mint into things like decadent chocolate tortes and create a "French Mint" type torte. I have a chocolate (well, mocha to be exact) torte recipe in my book that lends itself to such modification, by simply substituting the brewed mint-tea for brewed coffee. The result of a mint-substitution here is quite nice, as it makes for a simple variation for anyone that may not enjoy mocha / coffee (I also perform substitutions using orange peel and berry-flavors in that recipe too, with or without coffee.)
Note: The chocolate / mocha torte recipe I am referring to is on page 100 of our cookbook and uses a sponge-cake base.Some of the gluten-free chocolate cake recipes or brownie recipes allow for nice chocolate-mint variations too. Depending on the recipe, I may simply add finely minced fresh mint with no other alterations required; others take a bit more work, but usually it is rather easy coming up with a winning flavor combo. I'm sure you can experiment and discover some favorite gluten-free recipes of your own that feature fresh mint.
You are certainly not limited to combining mint with chocolate, as there are quite a few other combinations that work well and produce a nice refreshing flavor. I have enjoyed mint with berry flavors quite a bit if kept subtle, and mint with other fruits too. And, though my focus has been desserts here, mint also comes into play nicely in some tasty Asian dishes. All I know is that the fresh-mint season is coming to a close soon, and it is time to use some of this season's crop while it is here and I can enjoy it.
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