Thin Mint Cookies
It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the beautiful blooming cherry blossoms along Washington, D.C.’s tidal basin marking the official coming of spring here in the District (even though there was a light dusting of snow this morning and the temperature right now lingers just above 40 degrees). No, I’m talking about the season when those ubiquitous Girl Scout booths begin to pop up in front of grocery stores and libraries and college campuses like the much awaited-for early flowers of spring.
Everyone has their favorite. Mine happen to be Samoas and Thin Mints; what’s better than a chewy cookie of caramel, coconut flakes and chocolate or the cool crispness of a Thin Mint? They are a guilty pleasure and an expensive one at that (4 dollars is not the best bargain for a box of cookies, whether you’re buying them from a young, green sash-clad entrepreneur or not) but oh so good and so worth the wait every year. I remember the dearth of them in my life during college when the scouts were only selling them during the weekend at our University Center at much too early an hour for me to crawl out of bed to buy.
A friend of mine found this recipe and sent me a picture of her delicious looking cookies and, of course, I immediately asked for the recipe. While mine are not the classic, chocolate-enrobed wafer cookies, they still pack the wonderfully minty bite and chocolatey taste of this most beloved of iconic cookie!
Thin Mint Cookies, from Chef Chloe
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegan margarine (or butter), softened or melted
3 tablespoons nondairy milk (e.g., almond, rice, or soy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 cups dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vegan margarine (or butter)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until combined. Add margarine, milk, vanilla, and mint extract. Pulse a few times until mixture comes together. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and knead with your hands in the bowl for one minute. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches in between each ball. Evenly flatten the dough with your fingertips so that it is about ¼ inch thick and bake for 12-14 minutes.
3. Let cool completely.
1. Melt chocolate chips and margarine over a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir in the mint extract and mix until smooth.
2. Dip completely cooled cookies into the chocolate and remove with a fork, gently scrapping off excess chocolate using the side of the bowl. Or, spread a thin layer of the chocolate on top of the cookies.
3. Place cookies on a parchment-lined plate or tray and refrigerate until chocolate coating sets. Store in the refrigerator.
Starting off, I had all intentions of dipping these cookies in chocolate, just like the regular thin mints. I unfortunately could not get the chocolate to reach that silky, smooth coating texture; I think perhaps I overheated my chocolate and the cream and sugar had separated. Be very careful during the chocolate melting step. That said, though, these cookies are still delicious. I actually think just frosting the cookies with the chocolate makes for a better contrast between texture and flavor; you still get a nice crunch from the wafer cookie and a richness from the chocolate top.
The original recipe is a vegan one, but I substituted real butter instead of margarine simply because I did not have the vegan substitute and just because I think real butter tastes better. Instead of flattening the cookie dough with my fingertips, I used the flat bottom of a measuring cup and it worked beautifully, just be careful when peeling the cookie away from the cup if it gets stuck.