Thursday, August 19, 2010

124. Mint-Chocolate Parfait in a Jar, Happy Flavors

Whether it is peppermint or spearmint, mint is a happy flavor. Not only is it refreshing, but the healing properties associated with mint are not to be discounted. There are dozens of informative websites touting the benefits of mint and mint oil. Widely held beliefs suggest that mint can settle a nervous stomach, slow the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi and help reduce the pain from a headache and the actual length of time it lasts.

Mint is present in medicines such as cold remedies, muscle rubs, vapor rubs, and vapor bathing supplies.  It is absorbed into the skin quite easily and it has the temporary pain-relieving effect as it relaxes organs or muscles that spasm. When I was growing up, many parents used Vick's Vaporub to comfort children and themselves if they were congested with a cold . The salve was rubbed onto the sick person's chest; the effect was immediate...a sensation of warmth and coolness...nasal passages often opened up, at least temporarily. The smell of Vick's was comforting and somehow seemed necessary to getting better.

One of my first experiences with the flavor of mint, on the other hand, had to be in toothpaste...it is still the predominant flavor among all the toothpaste varieties. No matter how many alternate flavors I try, I always go back to mint...it is familiar and the most refreshing.

Many people brew mint tea for its fresh flavor and healthful properties. During the steeping process, it is recommended that the cup or pot should be kept covered to keep the oils from evaporating.

 Mint candy and mint ice cream have always been favorites of mine. Combine chocolate and mint and it becomes a heavenly partnering of flavors. Today's post combines those flavors, requires NO cooking and is very, very pretty. While I made the parfaits in jars, they can be layered in dessert or drinking glasses.

The jars I used, however, can be capped and if you are not going to eat your serving in one sitting...simply twist on the cap and return it to the refrigerator.



Mint-Chocolate Parfait in a Jar



1 pkg 4.4 oz Jell-O Chocolate Mint Chip Instant Pudding
2 C cold milk (do not use soy milk, the pudding will not set up!)
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 C whipped topping
8 drops red food coloring
15 candy mints, crushed finely

Combine pudding mix, milk and extract with whisk for 2 minutes.
In a separate container, mix whipped topping and food coloring until evenly blended. Add crushed mint candy and mix gently.

Layer jars starting with pudding and alternating with whipped topping. Cap jars  and refrigerate. (Eat within 24 hours).

Makes 4 servings.

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