Were you a Scout? I was. But I was something of a rebel. I had stringy hair, wore my uniform skirt hiked up, my tie undone, sash askew, and my badges were sewn on crooked. I categorically refused to wear the beanie. It was the late 60s, and that’s how we rolled. Both my daughters were Girl Scouts too. So I have ALOT of experience with Girl Scout cookies. I’ve schlepped them, loaded them, unloaded them, stacked them, stored them, inventoried them, counted, miscounted and recounted them,
foisted them off on sold them to friends, relatives, and unsuspecting passers by, bribed teachers with them, gifted them, regifted them, froze them, thawed them, used them as dog treats, and of course eaten them. Many, many, many of them.
Lets just say I don’t have the purely nostalgic associations that some of you might have with these cookies.
Even so, when I came across this wacky scheme to make Thin Mints from scratch, I was intrigued. It might have had something to do with the fact that I was stuck inside all day during a freak March blizzard. But Thin Mints are truly unique cookies. They’re the all time top seller for the Girls Scouts, and people have been known to hoard them in their freezer. Couple that with the fact that no commercial bakeries are allowed to market them, and you’ll understand why I jumped on this one.
It’s not often that a recipe hums along, step by step, without a hitch. Especially when it’s a copy-cat recipe that depends on an exacting replica of the original. The color, shape, texture and taste of these cookies was perfect. Eerily perfect. I can tell you without hesitation that this is the perfect Thin Mint recipe. If you’re one of those people who loves Thin Mints, put your face right up close to the screen and listen carefully…run, don’t walk, to the nearest store to get what you need to make these. Seriously.
I could tell the minute I cut out the cookies that something special was about to happen. Even unbaked, the cookies already look like they’re going to be the perfect Thin Mint. An added bonus is that the dough itself is wonderful to snack on, and there are LOTS of little leftover bits in between all those perfect little circles!
I tasted one of the cookies just out of the oven. Still perfect. I was getting really excited.
By the time I dipped the cookies in the peppermint infused chocolate I was positively giddy. These are exact replicas of Thin Mints. Clones, actually.
Homemade Thin Mints: ~~~ from Chicagoist.com
For the cookies:
1 cup (8 oz, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutched dark cocoa powder which worked well)
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 ½ teaspoon peppermint extract or oil (Make sure you get peppermint, not spearmint, and make sure you get extract, or oil, not flavoring)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (I used a small cordial glass that measured almost 2″ and it was the perfect size).
- 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. While the cookies bake, make the peppermint coating. Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass measuring cup or similar container and microwave in short 15-20 second bursts. Stir in the peppermint extract. Feel free to add more peppermint as you see fit. (Don’t add any more, the amount is perfect)
- Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment or plastic wrap-lined baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set. (I didn’t need to do this, they set up fine after about 1/2 hour at room temperature, but then again, we were having a blizzard, “room temperature” is relative!)
My Notes: The dough is a little stiff and tended to crack while I was rolling it out. I just smooshed it back together with my fingers as I went. Melt the chocolate just before you are ready to dip, and make sure you stir in the extract well. A large glass measuring cup works well for the melting and dipping.
I think I just earned my cooking badge.