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Andes Mint Cookies are just one of dozens of treats that can be made using Andes products in any variety -- Crème de Menthe, Toffee Crunch, Cherry Jubilee, Mint Parfait and Peppermint Crunch.

Food find: Andes mints

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Although they're most commonly known as the "after-dinner mint," Andes candies are that and so much more.

The iconic crème de menthe flavor features a thin sheet of green mint sandwiched between two chocolaty layers. And the bite-size rectangular treats come in several other varieties as well: Toffee Crunch, Mint Parfait, Cherry Jubilee and Peppermint Crunch.

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So many options originally made it difficult for me to choose just one recipe as I searched for a minty indulgence to bake up this holiday season. However, my culinary skills leave something to be desired, so when I spotted a dessert with only four ingredients, I knew I had found the one.

My choice seemed to have very simple and easy-to-follow directions, with an equally as simple and straightforward name -- Andes Mint Cookies.

Just combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a bowl before dropping balls of dough onto a cookie sheet and popping them in the oven. Although they aren't used until the very last step, the Andes candies add the most important flavor to the treat.

Using Peppermint Crunch thins may have given my Christmas cookies a more festive air, but I opted for the ever-popular Crème de Menthe instead. The beauty of Andes mints is that your favorite variety can be substituted in almost any recipe and the outcome will still be scrumptious.

Of course, other recipes are likely to take a bit more effort than the one I chose, but they'll no doubt produce even more mint-filled deliciousness as a result. Take a stab at some of these ideas while you're baking up goodies for your upcoming holiday get-togethers.

Andes Mint Cookies

Six Sisters' Stuff

Ingredients:

1 box of devil's food cake mix

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 package Andes Crème de Menthe thins (4.67 ounces)

1. Mix cake mix, oil and eggs together to form dough. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for six to nine minutes. Take care not to leave them in any longer because you don't want them to be overdone.

3. Immediately after removing the sheet from the oven, place one Andes mint on top of each cookie.

4. After about five minutes, the mint will be melted. Take a spoon and smooth out the mint across the top of the cookie like frosting.

Andes Mint Fudge

About.com

Ingredients for bottom layer:

1 jar marshmallow cream or fluff (7 ounces)

1 cup butter

10 ounces chopped Andes Crème de Menthe thins

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar

Ingredients for top layer:

1/4 cup cream cheese

1/2 tsp. mint extract

1 tsp. milk

2 cups powdered sugar

Green food coloring

1. Prepare an 8-by-8-inch pan by lining it with foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the butter, evaporated milk, granulated sugar and marshmallow cream in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture boils. After reaching a steady boil, continue to cook for five minutes.

3. Remove the mixture from the heat and add vanilla extract and Andes mints. Stir until well combined and pour immediately into the prepared pan. Refrigerate fudge and allow it to partially set, at least 2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the second layer. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until it's softened. Add the mint extract and the milk, and beat it until well combined.

5. Add the powdered sugar in several batches and beat slowly at first so the sugar will not fly out of the bowl. When it is well combined, add three to four drops of green food coloring. Add the milk a half teaspoon at a time, if necessary, to get the mixture to a spreadable consistency.

6. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the fudge after making sure the fudge is set enough to support another layer. Return the treats to the refrigerator to fully set.

Andes Chocolate Mint Cheesecake

Food.com

Ingredients for crust:

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. butter, melted

Ingredients for filling:

32 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 package Andes Crème de Menthe thins (4.67 ounces)

Ingredients for topping:

3 tbsp. whipping cream or whole milk, your choice

1 package Andes Crème de Menthe thins (4.67 ounces)

1. Begin with the crust, mixing the crumbs and sugar together in a small bowl. Add the butter and mix well.

2. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

3. Beat the cream cheese and one cup of sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing on low until well combined. Take care not to over mix.

4. Chop up one package of Andes mints and stir them into the filling mixture. Pour the mixture over the crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until the center is almost set.

5. After removing the pan from the oven, run a knife between the pan and the cheesecake. Set it onto a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature, and later remove the sides of the pan.

6. To make the topping, start by setting aside 10 or 12 Andes mints from the second package.

7. In a microwavable bowl, mix the remaining mints with the cream or milk. Microwave on high for 45 seconds.

8. Stir until the mints melt and the mixture is smooth. Spread it over the cheesecake and let it drizzle down the sides.

9. Decorate the dessert with the remaining Andes mints.

10. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

Andes Peppermint Crunch Chunkies

Tootsie Roll Industries

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup sweetened grated coconut

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

1 1/2 cups chopped Andes Peppermint Crunch thins

1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

2. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

3. On low speed, add the baking soda, salt and flour. Mix completely.

4. Stir in the oats, coconut, pecans and chopped Andes mints.

5. Form the dough into balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press lightly.

6. If desired, chop additional Andes mints and sprinkle them on top of each cookie.

7. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes if the cookies are large or 12 to 15 minutes if they are small. Do not over bake.

8. Once baked, remove the cookies from the sheet and let them cool.

Andes Mint Brownie Truffles

Sugar Plum blog

Ingredients:

1/3 cup oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup chopped Andes Crème de Menthe thins, plus additional for sprinkling

1/2 block white almond bark

Green food coloring

1. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.

2. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the oil, sugar, vanilla, milk, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl until it's well combined (about two minutes).

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour until just combined.

4. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle 1/3 cup of chopped Andes mints over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until the mixture is set.

5. Let the brownie cool until it is cool enough to handle, and then take spoonfuls of brownie and roll it into balls.

6. Melt the almond bark in a medium bowl. Stir in a few drops of green food coloring.

7. Dip the brownie balls into the almond bark and set them on wax paper to dry.

8. Before they dry, sprinkle the additional chopped Andes mints on top of the truffles.

Andes Mint Pillow Cookies

Just a Pinch Recipes

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

49 Andes Toffee Crunch thins

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat everything with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.

2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the mixture at a low speed until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in half.

3. On a well-floured surface, roll half of the dough into a 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Space the mints evenly apart on the dough, forming seven rows of seven.

4. Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll the remaining dough into a second 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Remove the top sheet of the waxed paper and throw it away.

5. Carefully turn the second rectangle over the mint-topped dough, matching the edges. Remove the remaining waxed paper.

6. Using a pizza cutter or scalloped-edge pastry wheel, cut the dough evenly between the mints.

7. Gently press the edges of the pillows to seal them.

8. Place the pillows two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

9. Bake them at 400 degrees for seven to 10 minutes or until the edges are light brown. Cool them completely before storing.

Take it easy

Not all recipes have to take a significant amount of time or energy.

By dropping a few Andes Peppermint Crunch thins into a cup of hot chocolate, your beverage will quickly transform into a holiday delight. Also consider replacing a plain chocolate bar with a couple of Andes Crème de Menthe or Toffee Crunch thins to put a unique spin on classic s'mores.

With a little imagination, you'll likely come up with plenty of other common desserts that can be creatively tweaked using the addition of an Andes mint in any variety.

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