Baking

Homemade Thin Mints

According to astronomy it is now spring. However, we live in Michigan, and I still have yet to believe spring exists for us.

When most people think of spring, they think of birds singing, flowers starting to bloom, damp air, and above freezing temps. Not in Michigan.

In Michigan spring is complete, utter chaos.

One day it snows, the next it rains, and you round out the week with 80 degree weather and more humidity than you remember possible just to have it snow again on Monday.

There are a few things a like about ‘spring’. You get a break from the relentless ice, my birthday, spring break, and probably best of all: Girl Scout Cookies.

I used to be a Girl Scout. My mom used to be a troop leader until life lead her back to school and she could no longer do it, but I remained part of a troop until one by one our mom troop leaders quit, taking their children with them. The one thing I remember most about my days as a scout are the cookies. If you aren’t familiar with Girl Scout cookies then you either aren’t from the states, or you grew up under a rock.

In order to be a good Girl Scout, get patches, build character and whatever else they used to tell you, you had to sit outside at a ‘booth’ during a Michigan spring and convince people to shell out $3.50 for a box of cookies. We were told the money we made went to our troop and helped with costs for things and blah blah blah (if you can’t tell, I’m not convinced by these facts).

Despite this, the cookies are down right amazing. Seriously, I get why people love them, and back in my day the price was reasonable for the product. A box of Thin Mints used to include three rolls and be fairly tall. Now however a box of shorter height, and only two rolls, sells for $5. I haven’t purchased a box in over 4 years. I refuse to spend more money on less product.

This however doesn’t help the fact that I really enjoy the cookies and know I can’t find Thin Mints anywhere else. That is, until I found this recipe and can now make them at home.

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup (8 oz, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour

For the coating:

  • 16 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or oil (Make sure you get peppermint, not spearmint, and make sure you get extract, or oil, not flavoring) I used McCormick’s Pure Peppermint Extract

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 350F
  2. Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure to not over mix.
  3. Form dough into a ball. Knead a few times to bring together, then flatten into a disk between half an inch and one inch thick, cover in plastic wrap then place in freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove dough from the freezer and roll it out really thin on a floured surface, about 1/8-inch. Cut cookies using 1 1/2-inch cutter.IMG_3222
  5. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack
  6.  Make the peppermint coating by breaking apart the chocolate and melting in a double boiler with the oil and peppermint extract (if you don’t have one, you can do it in a microwave, but then you need to chop the chocolate into fine pieces, microwave in short bursts, stir frequently, and give yourself a headache trying to get it right, just go buy a double boiler.) IMG_3225
  7. Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with a fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.IMG_3230

After making these with the exact specifications as above, I found the end result to be a bit bitter. It’s not bad, but definitely not what I wanted or expected. So below are my tips of altering the above to make them into more of what I was expecting. Too bitter and only the faintest whiff of mint. Now, I haven’t tested this yet, but will later this week and post an update as to how my alterations turned out.

  • The cookie part is fine as is, but if you want more of a minty taste you have a few options:
    • add the peppermint extract to the cookies as well
    • add more peppermint to the coating (without changing the chocolate you use)
  • For the coating I want to try using a different chocolate, the semi-sweet leaves too much of a bitter after taste and chokes the peppermint. I want to try using a milk chocolate, or finding mint chocolate candy melts. Like I mentioned above, you can just add more peppermint to the chocolate, but my fear is making it too minty.

IMG_3236

I’ve got more working to do with this one, but if you like a less sweet cookie, aren’t sensitive to bitter things, or brave enough to try my edits before I have, then go for it! The cookie is still great, and Joseph and I have almost eaten them all!

*If you take my suggestions and find they work/don’t or find a way on your own to make them more authentic, leave me a comment and share your wisdom!

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