Once upon a time, there was not one adorable little Girl Scout in a five-mile radius who had not sold us Thin Mint cookies. Apparently we became such a familiar sight that when the munchkins saw us walking toward the store entrance where they sold the
crack cookies, they started piling up the Thin Mints in anticipation.
Our entire freezer was stuffed with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Undoubtedly a 12 step program was probably in order. But that was then.
These gluten-free days I hand over the money and tell them to hold the cookies. And the freezer is filled with, well, freezer-like things: pie crusts, cookie dough, and ice. Oh, and a few vegetables.
Back in those days when we could eat anything, I’m not even sure we thought those commercially baked Thin Mint cookies were all that. But once a year, nothing could beat that thin little wafer dipped in chocolate. We missed them.
That is, until now.
Living gluten free has advantages. One of the stages you get to in living a life gluten free is being crazy creative. Learning to recreate the retros in a way that sometimes beats the original is excellent fun.
Thin mints, turns out, are so easy to make that after testing the recipe enough times I am happy to report that my freezer is once again full of minty chocolate covered treats.
It requires a food processor, a small kitchen scale, a few ingredients, and a bit of time. You can have plenty of great tasting gluten free thin mints for a fraction of the cost of the others. Give a donation anyway – it’s a good organization, but skip the commercial version and give it a try in your own kitchen. You won’t be sorry.
Now, if I can only nail those Mallomars….
- 185 grams GF flour - I use: 85 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 60 grams GF oat flour plus 20 grams teff flour and 20 grams of almond flour (about 1.5 cups total)
- 160 grams or 3/4 cup of superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I use flake salt)
- 60 grams or 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon shortening, room temperature cut into pieces
- 1 whole egg, slightly mixed
- 1.5 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 16 ounces of really good chocolate in a bar (not chips!) mixed bittersweet and semisweet for best flavor
- 2 teaspoons (and more maybe) of pure peppermint extract
Directions – Cookie
Weigh flours and combine them in a food processor with the sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Pulse a few times to thoroughly mix.
Drop the butter and shortening on top of that and pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Mix the flavorings with the eggs. Pour that into the food processor and pulse until it comes together in a ball.
It will look slightly dry, but it will come together. Drop onto a cutting board and knead just a couple of times. Cut the dough in half and roll into a 12 inch x 1.5 inch log. Place on plastic wrap and roll it up until tightly sealed. Repeat.
Place both logs on the cutting board and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to chill thoroughly. I like to pop one log into the freezer in a ziplock for using later on when the cookie urge strikes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Slice the frozen log (use only one at a time – keep the other for another day) into thin rounds about 1/8 inch. I am challenged when it comes to straight lines, so I often have slightly thin on one side, thick on the other slices. But no worries. Leave them on the cookie sheet for another five minutes and using your fingers flatten them into even thin disks.
Bake 4 minutes and rotate. Bake about 3-4 minutes more. Do not let them burn! Take them out of the oven and turn it off leaving the door open or ajar to cool down some. Flip each cookie over to the other side and jam them all on one baking sheet. Pop back into the oven which is now off and somewhat cooled down and with the door open slightly, leave them for 10 minutes.
Let them cool completely before coating. They will be hard little cookies and should snap when broken.
Directions – Coating
Line two baking sheets with clean parchment paper. Chop the chocolate using a large serrated knife. Scoop about 3/4 of the chocolate into a glass microwave-safe bowl. Using Ina Garten’s microwave tempering method, melt the chocolate for about 25 seconds. Remove and stir. Microwave again about 25 seconds and then stir. More of it should melt as you stir this time. If you have to, give it one more turn in the zapper for about 15 seconds and stir until almost all of it is pretty much melted and it is still very warm. Add the 1/4 remaining chocolate and stir that in. You’re tempering it by doing that.
Keep going with the stirring until it reaches about 85 degrees or feels just slightly warm. Then add the peppermint and stir. If you add the flavoring too soon while it is still too warm, the whole mess will seize and you’ll waste the chocolate as I did. Twice. Now I take its temperature before adding the flavoring. And more flavoring is better than less. Err on the side where you (oops) spilled some into the chocolate. It mellows overnight.
Dip the cookies in the chocolate with a fork and tap the fork on the edge of the bowl a few times to get rid of the excess. Work fast because as it cools off, it gets harder to use. Pop each coated cookie on the parchment lined baking sheet and leave to harden. The chocolate coating will harden in about an hour.
If it doesn’t harden – you didn’t temper it just right- but all is not lost. Just refrigerate or freeze and eat them from the freezer. I’ve done that, too. Many times. They are fabulous straight from the freezer.
Notes: tempering chocolate and dipping each cookie is a bit tedious. I store the cookies overnight and dip the second day. First, it gives the cookie time to develop the deeper minty chocolate flavor, Second, it saves my sanity. I love the process of tempering and dipping things in chocolate, but it requires that I pay attention and work efficiently before the stuff begins to set. So I block off a little bit of time, usually in the morning when my brain is functioning (after coffee) where I won’t be distracted. Go with what works best for you.
Probably makes about 4-5 dozen (thin) cookies.
And in case you are thinking about ratio baking here is the formula for the cookie portion with the assumption that one part = 2 ounces:
- 5 parts dry stuff including flour and sugar and cocoa
- 4 parts fats (butter and shortening)
- 1 part egg