make your own girl scout cookies: thin mints edition

homemade thin mints

I’m just gonna come right out and say it…these DIY thin mints are seriously the best things to come out of my kitchen in a while.

Thin Mints are not even my favorite of the Girl Scout cookie varieties. That gold medal goes to Samoas, which, although I’ve never tried, I am pretty convinced I could never accurately recreate because I love them so much. Why are there only 14 Samoas in a box?! Rude.

thin mints

This homemade version is surprisingly accurate (can you call a cookie accurate?) but also better than the original. Partially because you’re eating cookies wherein you can pronounce all of the ingredients, but even more so because the chocolate flavor is a bit darker and more intense without becoming too rich or overwhelming. There’s also the teensiest bit of saltiness to balance the chocolate, too.

If you’re looking for a faster shortcut with these, go ahead and just dip half the cookie in chocolate. Less process involved there. Just dip, let the excess run off, and then set them on a parchment-lined sheet pan to harden. The freezer/fridge are your friends here.

If you’re looking to fully coat your cookies in chocolate, here’s what you do:

  • Make sure your cookies have cooled completely.
  • Melt your chocolate in a double boiler (I used a combo of Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate bars and Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips…I think, in total, it was two chocolate bars that weighed about 3.5 oz each and about a 12 oz bag of chips, give or take a little). I added two tablespoons of coconut oil to my melting chocolate. It helped the chocolate stay melty and smooth longer, and also helped ensure they would harden nicely, since coconut oil is solid at room temp.
  • Thoroughly stir 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract into your melted chocolate. Use more or less, depending on your taste preference.
  • Take a pastry brush and brush the bottoms of all your cookies with a layer of chocolate, and set directly on a parchment-lined sheet pan to solidify (again, fridge/freezer are your friends here).
  • Once the chocolate has solidified, then dip the tops of your cookies in the melted chocolate, let the excess run off, and place them face up on a cooling rack set over a sheet pan. For me, this involved using a couple of forks to get cookies into/out of the chocolate without having fingerprints and smudges all over them. You can use whatever tools/process you’re most comfortable with, though. Obviously my fork method isn’t perfect since you can see some cookies have  tine marks from the forks on them, but whatevs.
  • If, at any point, your chocolate becomes too thick to work with, just stick it back on the double boiler for a few minutes until melty and smooth again.

thin mints

Homemade Thin Mints

recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

makes 3-4 dozen cookies with a 2″ cutter

259 g all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups + 1 TB)
78 g unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder (a scant 1 cup)
3/8 tsp baking soda
8 0z unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temp
1 tsp kosher salt (use an extra pinch if you’re a fan of the chocolate/salt combo)
161 g sugar (about 3/4 cup + 1 TB)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

chocolate for melting (see notes above for what I used)
peppermint extract (again, see above)
1 – 2 TB coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
  3. Add salt and and peppermint extract, and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides/bottom of the bowl.
  4. Add sugar and mix for 2 minutes. Again, scrape down the sides/bottom of the bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Then, mix until the dough begins to come together.
  6. Mound the dough on your work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together into a 6-inch-square block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325F. Make sure your racks are in the upper and lower thirds of your oven before heating.
  8. Unwrap the dough and place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, pound the top of the dough, working from left to right, to begin to flatten it, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat (this will help prevent the dough from cracking as it is rolled). Roll out to a 1/8 or 1/4-inch-thick sheet (depending on how thick you want your cookies). If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.
  9. Using your cutter of choice (I used a 2″ round fluted cutter), cut shapes from the dough. Feel free to push the trimmings together, refrigerate until firm, and reroll.  If the dough softens, return to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to a sheet pan.
  10. Arrange the rounds on parchment-lined sheet pans, leaving about 1 inch between them.
  11. Bake for 9-17 minutes (yes, this is a huge window. If you’re using small cutters, your bake time will be on the shorter end. Large cookies will need more time). Rotate the pans halfway through baking. Bake until the cookies are fragrant, with small cracks on the surface. (Because the cookies are so dark, it can be difficult to tell when they are done.) Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
  12. Dip, baby, dip! (Does anyone remember that song from 1995?) (See notes above on dipping cookies.)
  13. Store cookies in an airtight container between layers of parchment, preferably in the fridge (they’re way better cold!)

thin mints

Advertisements

6 comments

  1. Lindsay

    After hearing about Girl Scout cookies on Friends I loved the sound of the thin mint ones. Chocolate and mint. What could be wrong with that? Fast forward to about ten years later when I actually got to try some while on holiday visiting my friend……

    What a letdown. They are dry and horrible and the chocolate is rubbish.

    Perhaps homemade is the way to go!

    My favourite ones are the Samoas, or those lemony crescent ones. Anything that has peanut butter in is an instant yuck in my book, and the shortbread ones are boring.

    • mel

      Homemade is totally the way to go — the depth of flavor is so much better! I meant to hide a few of these in the freezer for a spring/summer treat (they’re amazing when they’re cold!) but they all got demolished before I had a chance. And I totally agree with you, those plain shortbread girl scout cookies are incredibly bland/boring. Who thought that was a good idea?

  2. Sarah

    Nearly every Thin Mint recipe that is featured in food blogs calls for buying Oreos, scrapping and discarding the creme, and dipping in chocolate. Am I the only one who sees the absurdity in buying cookies to make cookies? (One blogger even had the audacity to title such a recipe as “Homemade Thin Mints”.

    Finally, a recipe which takes the time and energy to recreate (and even improve upon) Thin Mints.

    Bravo, Mel. Bravo.

    • mel

      Hah! I have seen so many of those, and even saw one where the author called them “four-ingredient homemade thin mints.” One ingredient was Oreos. Boooo. I mean, I’m all for shortcuts sometimes, but let’s at least not be misleading about it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s