It seems that all the kids in my neighborhood have outgrown their Girl Scout memberships – that’s a shame, because I could really use a year’s supply of Thin Mints, Samoas (or their politically correct twin, the Caramel De-lite), and Tagalongs. Do you think that girl is still selling them on YouTube? In any case, when I couldn’t get my hands on the real thing this year – I decided to make my own. How’d they turn out? I’m still trying to answer that one for myself.
This is an easy recipe, and the second icebox cookie I’ve made in the past week. But do they taste like the crisp, mint-chocolatey variety that comes in the recognizable green box? Ehhh, almost. The Girl Scout version are a bit waxy – these ones aren’t, and that’s a plus. Mine didn’t turn out quite as crispy as expected, but I also cut them thicker than the recipe said to. And, the finished product was disappointingly lacking in strong peppermint flavor – I’ve made adjustments in the written recipe here. The recipe could use a few tweaks, but you might have better results. Wait, that didn’t sound very positive – these are, in fact, good! And worth making again! Just don’t expect the real thing. Read on for some very detailed instructions…
Homemade Thin Mints
Adapted from Baking Bites
(makes 3-4 dozen cookies…I still have 1/3 of the dough hanging out in my freezer.)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiardelli brand, but whatever you have on hand)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
Cream butter and sugar together. Add in milk, vanilla, and peppermint. The mixture will resemble cottage cheese at this point.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt with a whisk, making sure to get rid of all the cocoa lumps – it should be an even tan color in the end. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to scrape the sides as it mixes. Don’t overmix – when done, it will look very crumbly – but if you grab a hunk and squeeze, it should hold together.
Next, roll out a sheet of plastic wrap or foil – dump about 1/3 of the crumbly mixture onto the foil.
With your hands, shape it into a log about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. It should resemble….um, well, you get the picture.
Now, roll the foil tightly around the dough, reshaping it into as best a cylinder as you can manage. When you’ve done this for all of the dough, throw the tubes into your freezer for 1-2 hours, or until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut frozen dough into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. I had trouble cutting them thinner than 1/2 inch because the dough kept breaking – maybe mine was left in the freezer for too long? I had no trouble cutting the second tube, which had been warming up on the counter for a few minutes. Place slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet – don’t be afraid to crowd them, they don’t spread out. Bake for 12-15 minutes – they should be slightly darker brown around the edges, but you don’t want to burn the bottoms.
When done, transfer them to a wire rack immediately to cool. They should look like this:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips or bar (I used Baker’s brand)
1 stick butter, room temp, chopped into smallish pieces
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
I think you can use any bittersweet chocolate for the coating – Nestle chips, Baker’s brand chunks, whatever. Chips will probably melt faster, and you eliminate the chopping chocolate step. If using chunks, chop with a sharp knife into small pieces.
Put the butter and chocolate into a double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler set up – just put a metal bowl on top of a saucepan). You could do this in the microwave, but it will melt more evenly in a double boiler, and you can control the consistency. When the chocolate is smooth and glossy-looking, remove it from the burner. Stir in peppermint extract.
Now, take the cooled cookies and throw a few into the melted chocolate – toss them around with a spatula, making sure they are completely covered in chocolate. Fish them out with a fork, shake off the excess, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When you’ve covered all of the cookies, put the trays in the fridge for ~30 minutes so the chocolate will harden.
The verdict: they’re good, quite tasty, but not exactly like real Thin Mints. The end cookie is less minty than the dough was (I added more mint to the recipe here). I guess you can’t replicate the processed crispy-ness of the original, but I actually prefer a softer, thicker cookie. I’d make them again, but with a few tweaks. I was too eager to try them and, because the chocolate coating wasn’t completely hardened when I transferred them to a container, my fingerprints are now all over them. Whoops. I would recommend storing these in the fridge, just like you would with the original Thin Mints.