Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trader Joe’s English Soft Peppermints

Trader Joe's English Soft PeppermintsSometimes I want a little more information on the package. I saw these at Trader Joe’s last Friday and I was intrigued. Trader Joe’s English Soft Peppermints. I liked everything I saw. Peppermint, good! English, yes, they know good candy. Soft, why yes, I like soft things. Even the blue tin was compelling. But what were they?

The back of the package didn’t tell me much more except that they were actually a product of The Netherlands (and not English as the name may have led me to believe). The ingredients were pretty simple: Sugar, Cream of Tartar and Natural Peppermint Oil.

What what manner of soft mint were they?

Open the package and it’s clear. They’re pillow mints. Lovely, king sized pillow mints (not those domestic throw pillow mints you get at the drug store!).

They smell of sweet peppermint and at first as light and cool on the tongue. Then the blistering peppermint kicks in. It’s like the word “English” is code for"Altoid” or something.

I enjoy pillow mints and their Butter Mint brethren, but the intensity of these doesn’t make for popping them one after the other very pleasant. Perhaps that’s a good thing, I could learn a little self control through negative feedback behavior modification. With fresh breath as a side effect whether I’ve learned anything or not.

As a breath mint, these are fine and dandy. As a candy, they’re not quite munchable.

Related Candies

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  2. Russell Stover Organic Pecan Delight
  3. Chocolate Dipped Altoids
  4. Necco Mint Julep
  5. Choward’s Violet
Name: English Soft Peppermints
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Trader Joe's
Place Purchased: Trader Joe's (Silverlake)
Price: $1.99
Size: 5.3 ounces
Calories per ounce: 71
Categories: Mint, netherlands, Trader Joe's, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:14 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Have you tried the TJ’s peppermint marshmallows? We just got some yesterday and they’re soooo good.

    Comment by Grace on 12/12/07 at 8:00 am #
  2. I wish I had access to a Trader Joe’s!

    Comment by Alicia on 12/12/07 at 8:52 am #
  3. Like you, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I brought these home, but with the name “soft peppermints” I had to find out.  I ended up really enjoying them; they reminded me of the after-dinner mints that steak houses used to provide in jars near the register. Mine didn’t have quite the “Altoid” kick yours did, but the peppermint flavor was nonetheless quite aromatic.  A definite winner in my book!

    Comment by cacaobug on 12/17/07 at 11:22 am #
  4. I’ve been trying to find good peppermint candy this holiday but have found very little. Usually the boxes of candy canes at the grocery store are appealing looking and fairly satisfying but this year all I seem to find is super-generic discount canes that are more pink-and-white than the classic red-and-white I’ve come to expect.

    I found a box of King Leo peppermints that are a described as “soft peppermints” and were almost what I was hoping to find except for a slight chalky aftertaste.

    Any recommendation for good peppermint candy canes or sticks? Thanks!

    Comment by ana on 12/18/07 at 3:14 am #
  5. I also enjoyed the Trader Joe Soft Peppermints and yesterday went to buy another tin and they don’t have them anymore.  I have had this problem with Trader Joes more than once.  They seem to carry new items only briefly.  It is very frustrating.

    Comment by Pam Moseman on 3/28/08 at 9:50 am #
  6. I had previously purchased a similar product under a different name from England/Netherlands. But the store stopped carrying it, said company no longer making product. Then “voila”, found the same product “soft peppermints” at Trader Joe’s. Needless to say I bought a bunch, they are so gooooooood!!! But like some of you, when I went back again, they were all out. They carry them sort of in a hit-miss way. Wish they would keep it stocked all the time. Yum-Yum

    Comment by Arlene Schulte on 7/19/08 at 1:32 pm #
  7. I love these peppermints. The problem is that my Trader Joe’s keeps shifting them around or hiding them or just doesn’t stock them all the time.

    I wish that we could purchase some items on-line and get TJ’s to ship them to us.

    Comment by Steve Cooperman on 9/09/08 at 9:40 am #
  8. no trader joe’s carrys these peppermints [why not]

    Comment by james johnson on 10/19/08 at 9:37 am #
  9. I asked at my Trader Joe’s, and they said the peppermints were “seasonal.”

    Comment by Steve Cooperman on 10/19/08 at 11:02 am #
  10. Does anyone know the manufacturer of the TJ’s Soft English Peppermints? Maybe you could order directly through the manufacturer?

    Comment by Joseph on 12/06/08 at 9:02 am #
  11. Oh WOE IS ME! and my mother!
    TJ is no longer carrying the Soft English Peppermints in the blue tin!!!
    Does anyone have something to recommend as a replacement?
    Advance thanks to all who reply.

    Comment by Susan on 12/06/08 at 5:04 pm #
  12. I put in a request at Trader Joe’ to find out who their manufacturer is/was.

    Comment by Steve Cooperman on 12/06/08 at 5:13 pm #
  13. yes, I did put in a request about a month ago.  I happened to talk to an employee who was also a fan of the mints (she had hoarded her last can, eating only one at a time for MONTHS!!!”
    “...I said I would get back to you with any info regarding the soft mints. Unfortunately I was only able to find out that we cannot reveal the source due to our on going business with them. I hope you find another just as good…as I recall you like to send them to your mother a few at a time what a great way to share and keep in touch…”

    Comment by Susan on 12/07/08 at 6:38 am #
  14. Waaaahhhhh!! I want my soft English mints!!! I should have bought a whole bunch the last time I saw them.  I am so disappointed, an employee at the new TJs told me they are no longer carrying them because they didn’t sell.  I still hope she was just making that up.  I would buy them direct from the manufacturer as well, why do you do this to us Trader Joe’s?  Addict us to good stuff and then it’s gone!

    Comment by Carlos on 12/18/08 at 3:39 pm #
  15. I am down to my last tin of Trader Joe’s soft peppermints!! Does anyone have knowledge of a recipe that could achieve similar results? Only three ingredients!! Come on, we can do it!!

    Comment by Jeanne Marie on 1/19/09 at 1:53 pm #
  16. Remind me, what are the three ingredients?
    I will join you in figuring out a recipe. There really are four ingredients -  let’s face it - the “blue tin” adds to the flavor!

    Comment by Susan on 1/19/09 at 4:08 pm #
  17. Oops, I just re-read the top text:

    The ingredients were pretty simple: Sugar, Cream of Tartar and Natural Peppermint Oil.

    I will add it to my list of “ongoing search for the perfect recipe”.

    Shall we post our attempts here? 


    Comment by Susan on 1/19/09 at 4:10 pm #
  18. Here are some, no indication they will be soft melt in your mouth. Similar ingredients are in Candy Canes.

    2 cups granulated sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 1/2 cups boiling water
    Flavoring desired (Peppermint)
    1 1/2 quart sauce pan
    Candy Thermometer
    Butter the sides of your saucepan. Mix all ingredients. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Cook without stirring to soft ball stage (238?). Pour onto a platter or shiny cookie sheet with sides. DO NOT SCRAPE SAUCEPAN. Cool mixture until only slightly warm (about 30 minutes). With a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape fondant mixture from the edge of platter toward the center. Gradually the fondant mixture will turn stiff and white. Knead until free of lumps. Wrap and place in covered container. Allow to ripen 24 to 48 hours. Add coloring, roll in to small ball to fit mold shape. Dip front half in granulated sugar, press sugar side in mold shape and flex out of mold.
    Mint Creams
    > Hi, I’m searching for a recipe for a very simple candy, but I don’t
    > know the name of the candy, so it’s hard to find a recipe. The candy
    > is usually found at Christmas time in shapes like bells, wreaths,
    > trees, etc. and my or may not be decorated with the kind of icing
    > that turns hard.  The candy may be white, green or red, but always
    > is peppermint flavored.  It looks sugary outside, but melts on the
    > tongue to an almost creamy consistency.  The ingredients are sugar,
    > dried egg whites, oil of peppermint and food coloring, if desired. 
    > Can you help?
    > Sincerely,
    > CKay

    Hi CKay,

    Well, your persistence is rewarded. Below are two recipes for “mint creams.”


    Mint Creams
    Makes about 20

    Cute and colourful mint creams to adorn your Christmas table


    1 tsp. peppermint essence (oil)
    1 egg white
    8 oz. (225g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
    red and green food colouring

    Cooking Instructions:
    Gradually fold in the egg white into 6 oz. of the icing sugar until stiff
    Add the rest of the icing sugar and the peppermint essence then knead to
    form a stiff paste
    Divide the paste into three pieces, adding red colouring to one, green
    colouring to a second and leaving the third piece plain
    Lightly dust a work surface with icing sugar then roll out each piece of
    paste to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch (5mm)
    Cut into one and a half inch (3.5cm) rounds with a round or fluted biscuit
    cutter transfer to a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave overnight
    Peppermint creams

    1 egg white
    3 cups of icing sugar
    1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

    Whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in the icing sugar and peppermint
    Make the dough like mixture into little balls and place on a greaseproof
    tray. Press the balls flat. Best left overnight.

    *you can add colouring to the mixture to make coloured mint creams

    Comment by Susan on 1/19/09 at 5:14 pm #
  19. The following website has two recipes right after each other about making mints and making dark chocolate peppermint creams:

    Comment by Steve Cooperman on 1/19/09 at 5:26 pm #
  20. These look promising, thanks!

    What is it that makes some cookies “soft” and others hard?

    Can we do this?  “yes, we can!”

    Comment by Steve Cooperman on 1/19/09 at 6:45 pm #
  21. I am guessing, based on my limited candy making experience of peanut brittle (also uses cream of tartar), taffy and cornballs, the hard/soft is a combination of how high a temperture the cooked mixture reaches and how much cream of tartar is used. My guess is lower on the former, higher on the latter.

    Comment by Susan on 1/20/09 at 4:35 am #
  22. This was quite possibly the best mint I ever had!  I still see the empty tin and it brings a tear to my eye.  I too was told it was a seasonal item but when the holiday season rolled around, they didn’t have the item anymore :-(  I’m going to forward this page to Trader Joe’s and plead with them to bring them back.  Please join me!!

    Comment by Haelee on 12/09/09 at 4:21 pm #
  23. I just found this online.  I’m wondering if it’s the same thing.  Same grams, similar packaging (the inside of the tin is the same color) - Fortuin English Peppermint in Black Round Tin. I will buy one and let y’all know.

    Comment by Haelee on 12/09/09 at 5:10 pm #
  24. I did some sleuthing.  I think the manufacturer is Fortuin, a Dutch company.  One website lists the ingredients as sugar, acids (potassium tartrate), peppermintoil.  Potassium tartrate is also known as cream of tartar.

    Comment by Haelee on 12/09/09 at 5:33 pm #
  25. Thanks Haelee!! It does look like we may have a winner. After you get the mints, and when you have time, could you please post the exact ingredient list? My son has some allergies so I’d like to find out before I order. Thanks and Good luck!!

    Comment by Jeanne Marie on 12/10/09 at 8:52 am #
  26. Thanks, Jeanne Marie smile  Hope this helps:

    I just received my package from Holland?s Best with mixed results.  I ordered several items to cover my bases and justify the ~$7.50 and up minimum shipping price.

    The item I had the highest hopes for was a bit of a disappointment.  Ingredients of English Peppermint in Black Tin (made in Dockum by Fortuin): sugar, gelatine, modified starch, peppermintoil.  Unlike the picture on the website, these mints are disks, not pillows.  The tin was dated best before 01-01-2006.  I called up the store and a cheerful guy with a European accent told me mints are mints, this item is being phased out, people buy these only for the tin, not for the mints, he doesn?t remember the picture, no big deal.  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.  He didn?t offer a refund.  I thanked him for his time and that was that.  Hm, I started to think the odd tape job on the tin was suspicious.  I recall the TJ?s Soft Peppermint tin being wrapped completely once with a piece of tape, but maybe there aren?t the same food packaging standards in Holland.  However, the mints are actually quite tasty.  Eh, what?s four years? 

    I had more success with the second item.  Ingredients of Fortuin Pepermunt Kussentjes Minis: sugar, acids (potassium tartrate), peppermintoil.  These pillows are about half the size of the Trader?s Joes Soft Peppermints.  Overall the Minis are tasty and pretty darn close. I think they dissolve a little more quickly than I remember, are not as strong tasting in peppermint, and are a little sweeter, but it has been ages since I?ve had a TJ?s mint, so my memory might be playing tricks on me.  Perhaps someone who still has the TJ?s mints can do a comparison and let us know.

    The third item I purchased was mainly because I thought the name was funny.  Ingredients of Fortuin Maag Pepermunt: sugar, dextrose, gelling agent: gelatine, modified starch, peppermintoil.  So I thought maag meant big in Dutch, considering they?re like little hockey pucks, but an online dictionary just informed me maag in Dutch is stomach.  Go figure.  They?re not bad, not bad at all.  They?re chalky and minty, and I don?t mind the hint of slipperiness.  Oh, most amusing is the fact that the best before date is scratched out on the bag.  Well, more like erased out, like some of us did with our peachy folders in school.  You can still see the imprint on the bag: 17-06-2005.  Is this even legal?

    There?s another website, germandeli, that sells Fortuin, but they have a minimum $25 order requirement.  This website provides the ingredients of their products, which is a bonus.  They also sell the Pepermunt Kussentjes in the non-mini form.  I hope they’re not as sketch with the dates but buyer beware (especially with Holland’s Best).  Good luck, all!

    Comment by Haelee on 12/11/09 at 10:38 am #
  27. Cybele's avatar

    Haelee - thank you so much for your expert descriptions of your experience!

    I should have popped in here and mentioned that I actually visited the Holland’s Best shop last year in person since I was passing through town and was curious to see some of the licorice up close before purchase. What you’re describing about the expiry matches EXACTLY with my experience in the store. I did inadvertently buy some past-its-prime stuff though certainly at better prices than some other places.

    As for the search for the best buttermints, I’m back to eating the stuff from the drugstore. I know they’re not quite as minty, but they’re cheap, usually fresh and easy to find.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/11/09 at 10:48 am #
  28. OK Everyone….I wrote to TJ and included this blog.  I’ll let you know if they answer….but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for everyone to do so…I told them we have been told at one time or another that they don’t sell well… I said to send me a case!  And I asked them to be homest about why they REALLY don’t sell them anymore.

    Comment by Jeannette Patocskai on 4/21/12 at 2:22 pm #
  29. If you’re looking for mints with a chalky texture try soft white After Dinner Mints made by “Ross of Edinburgh”. I’ve been hunting for this type of mint for years. You might find them at a specialist candy store that sells British sweets (or Sweeties as they’d say in Scotland!) or online.

    Comment by Lisa on 8/24/14 at 4:07 pm #
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