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Homemade Thin Mints

March 31, 2011

Credit: Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks

That got your attention, didn’t it. Yum! Who doesn’t love the best selling, all time favorite Girl Scout cookie. March is all but over. Do you have any thin mints left?

Why make them at home? I can think of a couple of very good reasons. The most obvious is that you’ll have them year-round. Wait a minute, that could be bad. I know I have another reason. Let me think. Oh, yeah, homemade thin mints are more healthful. The Girl Scout thin mint is made with partially hydrogenated oils even though they claim zero trans fats per serving. Remember that when a product declares zero trans fats per serving, they mean exactly that – “PER SERVING”.

“… but a food product can still contain up to 2.2 grams of trans fat in it’s “standard serving”, and yet claim zero percent (0 %) trans fats. The labeling system is just too weak to keep partially hydrogenated oils (and the trans fats they contain) out of the American diet.”

Here’s a recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Homemade Thin Mints
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Make 3 or 4 dozen cookies

Chocolate Wafers

  • 8 ounces butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (cake flour or all purpose will work just as well)
  • Chocolate Peppermint Coating

  • 1 pound good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • natural peppermint oil to taste
  • Preheat your oven to 350. Racks in the middle zone.

    Make the cookie dough: In a mixer cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract and then the salt and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy, sort of like a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking, it might still be a bit crumbly, and that’s o.k. If you over mix, the cookies will have a  tough texture.

    Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and kneed it just once or twice to bring it together into once nice, smooth mass. Place the ball of dough into a large plastic bag and flatten it into a disk roughly 3/4-inch thick. Place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

    Roll out and bake: Remove the dough from the freezer and roll it out till it is very thin, remember how thin Thin Mints are? That’s how thin you need your dough, about 1/8-inch. You can either roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or dust your counter and rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll it out. Stamp out cookies using a 1 1/2-inch cutter (Heidi used a fluted edge cutter). Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a baking rack.

    Make the peppermint coating:

    While the cookies are in the oven you can get the coating ready. I use a makeshift double boiler to melt chocolate (a metal pan over a saucepan of gently simmering water), but some people melt it in the microwave. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until it is glossy and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. If you think the chocolate needs a bit more peppermint kick, add more extract a drop or two at a time – be careful to add too much.

    Finishing the cookies: Coat the cookies one at a time. Then carefully set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to set. Drop one cookie into the chocolate and (using a fork) carefully make sure it gets fully coated. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to drain any extra chocolate off the cookie till you have a thin, even coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set. They will last for weeks and weeks. Well, they would, but probably not… unless you forget they’re in there.

    Make 3 or 4 dozen cookies.

    If you want to try a more healthful thin mint, try Heidi Swanson’s original recipe at 101 Cookbooks.

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