Making your own breath mints is pretty easy; plus, you get to add the wonderful benefits of essential oils to them! Also, if you are looking for something to give away for Valentine’s Day, these make cute (and practical!) gifts for anyone.
The hardest part of this recipe is getting the mints all cut out. So, if you don’t have kids that can help, try cutting out squares with a sharp knife instead to make the process faster. We used tiny metal “clay cutters” from a craft store that come in a variety of shapes (including a small heart). You can also use a 1″ (2.5 cm) piece of straw for tiny circles.
Some essential oils we used that taste fantastic as breath mints are peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, and fennel. Other oils that may taste good are ginger, orange, lemon, or lime. If you want to make the mints sour, you can add a little citric acid to the gum paste and dust with citric acid instead of the powdered sugar.
This recipe may seem super unhealthy, but keep in mind that you aren’t eating more than 1 or 2 small pieces at a time. In other words, even though these taste amazing, they are breath mints and are meant to be eaten in very small doses.
Essential Oil Breath Mints
- 4 tsp. (20 ml) water
- 1 tsp. (3 g) unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups (170 g) powdered sugar + more if needed to get the right consistency
- Food coloring (optional)
- Essential oils such as peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, fennel, ginger, orange, lemon, or lime
- Powdered sugar (or citric acid for sour flavors)
- Put the water in a double boiler. (You can create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl or measuring cup over a pan holding an inch of simmering water.)
- Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to look foamy.
- Stir in the corn syrup, and warm on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture turns clear.
- Stir in 1 1/2 cups (170 g) powdered sugar. Continue adding sugar little by little and kneading with your hands just until it doesn’t stick so much to your fingers.
- Once the texture is soft and stretchy, your gum paste is ready.
- Divide the mixture into 2–3 equal portions. Knead the first portion with your hands until it becomes soft and pliable. Wrap the other portions in plastic wrap to keep them soft until you are ready to work with them.
- Add food coloring if desired (3–4 drops is usually sufficient), and knead until the color is well blended into the dough. (Note: To make sure both the food coloring and the essential oil or blend stay in the dough and don’t drip off, create a well in the top of the piece of dough with your finger, drop the coloring or oil in the well, fold the dough so it closes over the well opening, and then continue to knead the dough as normal.)
- Add 3–4 drops of your desired essential oil for a mild flavor or 5–8 drops of essential oil for a stronger flavor. We recommend starting with 3–4 drops, tasting a small piece, and adding more essential oil if needed.
- Once the color and flavor are as desired, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on a clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on the powdered sugar to a little more than 1/8″ (3 mm) thick.
- Cut out your mints using a straw (for circles), a sharp knife (for small squares), or another small shape. We used a mini clay cutter for our small heart and flower shapes.
- As you cut out your mints, dust them with a little powdered sugar so they don’t stick together.
- Leave the mints exposed to air until they become hard (about 48 hours); then store them in your desired container.
Here are a few container options: