Peppermint Semifreddo Recipe

Served in shot glasses this peppermint semifreddo recipe makes a fluffy, dreamy, cloud-like, winter wonderland dessert.

Peppermint Semifreddo

Another favorite from the archives - today's post focuses on a peppermint semifreddo recipe that I like to serve in tiny shot glasses. Unlike many of the sweets I write up on this site that are rustic, served in the pan, and not very fussy - semifreddo is a bit more fancy-pants, but worth the effort. These little showstoppers are the perfect bookend to a holiday meal - or pass them around your New Year's party if you aren't completely sick of peppermint by then.

Semifreddo is a study in whisk technique (and wrist endurance), particularly if you are doing things by hand. It is a workout for your stand mixer if you opt for the flip-the-switch, modern-mixer route. To make semifreddo (which means 'sort-of-frozen' in Italian), you are going to whisk, and whisk, and then whisk some more. And then you are going to fold, and whisk, and fold - and then freeze. All in the quest to create a fluffy, dreamy, cloud-like, winter wonderland dessert. You can flavor semifreddo with just about anything, but it's Santa season, so we are going for the peppermint.

Before I sign-off, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who played a role in 101 Cookbooks being awarded the Food Blog of the Year award. I can't think of a better way to end 2007! Congratulations to all the other category winners. For any of my readers who might not be familiar with some of these other sites, I encourage you to poke around!

Food Blog of the Year - 101 Cookbooks
Best Food Blog (Chef) - Michael Ruhlman
Best Blog Covering Drinks - Married with Dinner
Best Food Blog (City) - Becks ‘n Posh
Best Food Blog (Family/Kids) - Lunch In a Box
Best Food Blog (Group) - Serious Eats
Best Food Blog (Humor) - French Laundry at Home
Best Food Blog (Industry) - Michael Ruhlman
Best Food Blog (New) - French Laundry at Home
Best Food Blog (Photography) - La Tartine Gourmande
Best Food Blog (Post) - Gluten-Free Girl
Best Food Blog (Rural) - Farmgirl Fare
Best Food Blog (Theme) - Fat-Free Vegan
Best Food Blog (Writing) - Bittersweet Blog

And to wrap things up - just a quick note that we're going to switch from sweet to savory for the next recipe - I've think I've got a great one up my sleeve for later this week, so check back in.

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Peppermint Semifreddo

For those of you without an ice-cream maker, this recipe is a way for you to make a sophisticated frozen-dairy dessert without having to make the appliance purchase.

1/2 cup peppermint candies (divided), I like the vintage looking ones, and buy the ones made with natural dyes when I can find them.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 large organic eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/3 cup peppermint liquor

Start by putting the peppermint candies in a paper or plastic baggy - crush them into little chunks (not dust) with a rolling pin.

Now you are going to whip the cream. Pour all of the cream into a medium-sized bowl and whisk until soft, floppy peaks form - they should be lazy peaks, if they look pert and perky, you've gone too far. Place the whipped cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Prepare an ice bath by filling an extra-large bowl with water and ice cubes. I don't like to sacrifice all those perfectly good ice cubes so I usually throw a couple bags of frozen corn (still in the bag) into the water instead. Set the ice bath aside.

Set a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. You need to move quickly here, so have everything right on hand. Add the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar, and quickly start whisking - whisk until the mixture starts to pale, 30 seconds or so. Add the peppermint liquor and whisk like you've never whisked before until the mixture starts to thicken (somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes depending on the heat). Quickly move the bowl from the stove and set it in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is cool to the touch. Keep the pot of water simmering.

Take another heatproof bowl (you can use the one from your electric mixer if you've got one) and set it over the simmering water, whisk the egg whites and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Start whisking, you want the sugar to dissolve and the egg whites to warm up a touch - the heat makes it easier to whip them. After a minute or so remove them from the heat and whisk the whites until they have glossy peaks - four or five minutes.. They should be structured and stiff.

Time to put it all together: Gently fold the egg-whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pull the whipped cream from the refrigerator and for that in as well. Add half the crushed peppermint candies, and fold in with as few strokes as possible. One of the reasons I add the peppermint candies in the end is because I don't want them to stain everything pink. If you stir them too much you are going to get pink.

Spoon the mixture into serving glasses.
This dessert is rich in heavy cream, so I like to do tiny portions of it served in little vintage shot-shaped glasses. Just the right amount of sweet to end a meal w/o putting you over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining peppermint candies and place in the freezer until it firms up, an hour or so.

This recipe will make a dozen or so desserts, depending on the size of your glasses.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Hey Darling,
Grats to you and a lovely holiday to you.
Your blog has gotten me hooked on food blogs in general.
Uncle Hannah

Uncle Hannah

Not only are your recipes fabulous, but your pictures are even better! Beautiful!


it’s no wonder you got that award. THanks for sharing the list. THere’s a lot I haven’t discovered yet.


It looks delicious. Now, I have an icecream machine. Is it Ok if I try this preparation in it?

Digital Polaroids

This sounds delicious, and looks so festive! Congratulations on recognition of this blog- it is very well-deserved!

Deborah Dowd

Congrats! These look beautiful!


Congratulations & thank you for sharing your expertise with all of us this past year!


Yes! Congrats on the food blog award! I’m also happy to see some other family sites honored. Now I need to check out the others for their offerings.
Peppermint with chocolate is becoming a new holiday favorite combination. I’m intrigued to try this recipe. I don’t own an ice cream machine so a semi-freddo sounds perfect! Happy Holidays!!!


Congratulations and WOW those look amazing!!!


Congrats on being the best of the best, Heidi! That is fantastic, and you are definitely an inspiration to all us food-bloggers out there!! You deserve it!
BTW—these semi-freddos—or should I saw “semi-freddi” are going to be a MUST at my New Year’s Eve party!!!!

The Secret Ingredient

Congratulations! You deserve it.

Eve Fox

Congrats! I am new to blogging and you give me something to aspire to! Really beautiful blog.


Congratulations, Heidi!
I voted for you and am so pleased that you won this much-deserved award. Enjoy your success and keep up the great posts!


Lovely shot!
Congratulations on Top Food Blog, but it’s no surprise and much deserved.
btw: Super Natural Cooking popped up on several wish lists this year – making my shopping simple and warming my heart that we’re spreading your natural approach to eating right while eating well!


Ok I am totally frightened and really excited to try this recipe for a holiday party I am having. (Thank you for the make ahead suggestions) All that whipping and simmering and ice bathing sounds like something to get me focused on the moment! It is the perfect finish for my menu – thank you…oh, and wish me luck…I may ruin christmas 😉


Wow this looks great – congrats on the food blog awards!!!


I just have one question: Did you try using non-alcoholic peppermint? I would like to see if it works before I go out and buy the starbucks syrup because that is pretty expensive. Well, thanks…it sounds like a good recipe. 🙂


Yum! Can’t wait to make it! Maybe i can surprise my parents with a little Xmas treat 🙂 Thanx Heidi!


Hello Heidi,
the picture is really pretty and the sprinkled peppermint candies lovely – made me think of childhood – but I must admit I didn’t get why you named this a “semifreddo” ?… Or it’s a strange variation…
Anyway it’s sweet for the eyes – for I haven’t taste this dessert yet 😉


Ohh, this looks great. I think I’ll make em for a holiday potluck-y dinner for next week.


After about an hour and a half (or so) the semifreddo becomes more and more ice-cream-like…denser, colder, etc. If that makes sense.
I might try making the pre-freeze mixure in the morning (of the party), and then save it in the refrigerator – place the individual portions in the freezer a couple hours before the guests arrive. It’s hard to do wrong with this dessert, even if the semifreddo gets a bit over-frozen.
My leftovers have been in the freezer for two days now and it still tastes good. -h


Sounds fantastic. I’d like to reiterate Ann’s question, though. I’m doing the cooking for an elaborate dinner party, so can I make these a day in advance, or should they be made just an hour or two before serving?


Sounds differnt, but in a good way. I was planning on going grocery shopping tommorow.Guess maybe i will have to get the things i need to make it


Man, that sounds good. I’ll have to try it. One thought: perhaps freezing the pulverized peppermint candy before combining it would keep the mixture from getting pink?


I wanted to thank you for the wonderful toffee recipe. I made it over the weekend and my dad made the comment. “You made that”?!!!! Good toffee is a great thing! Thanks again


Heidi – these sound great! How far ahead of time do you think they can be made?


Hi Rose Marie and Belinda,
There are a few places that sell peppermint syrup (I think Starbucks might be one this time of year) – try try adding the syrup a few tablespoons at a time…you should be going for a peppermint flavor that is nice, and not too strong. You will end up folding in all that cream later as well which will make the flavor more of an accent (as opposed to overwhelming)…
OR You might try peppermint extract, a tiny splash at a time…
Report back if you end up doing it this way…
Nic, Thanks – your quinoa baguettes look delicious.


I would like to know if there is something to use instead of the alcohol also. they sould wonderful but we don’t drink alcohol.


Those sound delish. However, I have a small problem. We don’t drink alcoholic beverages. I have heard that the alcohol will cook out. Is that true or just another myth? If true, is that heat hot enough to do it? If it is a myth do you know what I could use instead of the liquor? I am planning on having a few friends over and they don’t drink either, but we all like peppermint.

Rose Marie

I just can’t get enough peppermint around this time of year, so these look particularly wonderful, Heidi. I think that holidays are a good reason to do something a little fussy, too.


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