Making Thin Mints

For some reason, everyone starts drooling anytime Thin Mints are mentioned. It’s like some kind of holy dish people only get to indulge in once a year. I’ve always thought, “They’re good, but aren’t they just processed cookies?” I’ve seen the back of the box before, and in my opinion, if there’s ingredients that are more than thirteen letters long – that’s definitely a sign that it isn’t good for you.

I buy one box from my neighbor’s daughter every year (at $4 a pop, which according to my friend, is a steal), but I would probably buy more if they were organic, all-natural, or homemade. I hate to burst the Girl Scout cookie bubble, but they’re made by Interbake Foods, LLC. There’s nothing really that cute about it.

Image from: Interbake Foods, LLC

Image from: Interbake Foods, LLC

I have to admit, I’m also a little bitter about my own personal Girl Scout experience. My mother enrolled me into Girl Scouts one summer just to try it out, and it turned out to be a traumatic experience. I was the last in line while we were hiking in a single file line through the woods one day, when the third to last girl stepped on a wasp hive. All three of us, being at the end of the line, ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction down the trail, frantically batting away the wasps. I ended up with the most stings – 26 to be exact – countless oatmeal baths, and a vow to never, ever be a Girl Scout.

So anyway, here’s to me being a Girl Scout, 15 years later. I don’t have any badges to prove it, but these cookies are damn good.

See more of my photos here >
Recipe source: No more waiting for Thin Mints by Pearvana

done1.jpg
Homemade Thin Mints
Makes 48 to 60 cookies | From Pearvana

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts and beat until smooth. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

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Mix until just combined. Place dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes — this will make it easier to shape into logs.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.

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Turn one portion onto a piece of waxed paper and roll into a log about 10 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (Or bigger, if you want bigger cookies.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up 24 hours. Repeat with remaining dough. (You can also freeze the dough for a month, then slice and bake directly from the freezer.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the dough into 1/4- to 1/3-inch rounds. Place on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are firm around the edges but soft on top, about 13 to 15 minutes (or a little longer for frozen dough). Let cool.

Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in double boiler, or in the microwave. Line two baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Use a small offset spatula to spread a layer of the chocolate glaze over the top of each cookie. Place the cookies in the fridge for 15 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm. Store at room temp in an airtight container.

Suggested listening: Paula’s Folk Station on Pandora

ingredients.jpg
These are the ingredients that I used. Magazines and cookbooks usually aren’t allowed to show branded products but the great thing about blogging is that I can – and I like to, too because this is the way real people cook. Real people don’t go browsing the farmers markets every weekend in France

for the freshest produce, or buy ingredients in special little jars from Whole Foods. Nope. Real people buy Safeway branded dairy, and Costco vanilla (but may I mention that it is 100% natural).

coco-powder.jpg I’m still new at baking, and this is my first time using unsweetened cocoa powder. It is amazing. The powder is very fine, almost fluffy. It adds an incredibly rich taste to desserts and it smells amazing just mixing it into batter.

peppermint-extract.jpg This stuff is strong! I used just half a teaspoon of peppermint extract in the batter and my house still smelled like peppermint the next day. I’m not complaining, though.

premix-near.jpg Lumpy batter after adding sifted flour. After some stirring…

batter.jpg …it turns into silky, rich chocolaty goodness.

spoon-white.jpg It was so tempting not to lick this spoon.

batter-ball.jpg The recipe calls for dividing the batter into two cookie logs for refrigeration. This is the first lump before being formed.

batter-log.jpg And here is the cookie log! After refrigerating the soft batter for ten minutes or so, it was easy to form it into logs. I usually avoid making “freezer cookies” (cookies formed into a log shape, freezed, then sliced for baking) because it involves a lot of butter…what you see here contains one entire stick of butter! Like most freezer cookies, the recipe calls for two whole sticks of butter. The only reason I let myself make them is becuase thin mints are just so good…but no more freezer cookies after this one, unless I learn how to make them low fat. Anyway…

cookies-raw-close.jpg After slicing the cookies thin, I pressed each down with my fingers to ensure they are super-thin. They rise a little bit after baking, and with the thick chocolate coat, they should be about the right size. Each cookie log made about 25 cookies, so I ended up having three cookie sheets full.

cooling-rack.jpg And now the cookies are DONE! They are yummy by themselves, but it’s not a true thin mint without the chocolate coating. So on to the fun part…

chocolate-chips-melting.jpg Melting chocolate chips in a “double boiler”. Of course I don’t have one of those, so I used a large bowl on top of a pot of hot water on the stove. I kept the heat medium high to melt the chocolate, then I turned it down to low so I could keep it smooth while dipping. It worked beautifully. It might be ok to do this part in the microwave, but I’ve never had luck with it.

whisk1.jpg The chocolate is ready for cookie-dipping! (or fondue. maybe next time.) As much as I didn’t want to put in vegetable oil, I did as the recipe told and it made the chocolate smoother and much easier to work with. I also found that my uncoated cookies weren’t minty enough, I added a few drops more of the peppermint extract into the coating for extra flavor.

cookie-dipped.jpg It took several tries to get this coating on correctly. I used a bagel knife/cake froster/pie cutter tool I found to do this. I discovered that pushing the cookie to the sides of the bowl help get the excess chocolate off – easier and more

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attractive than spreading it on the cookie.

cookies-dry.jpg The finished Thin Mints. It was definitely a process, but very worthwhile. It was a hit at the office today – they were gone the second time I went back into the kitchen. I even saw four of them on my co-worker’s desk. I’m definitely making them again.


Update: March 22, 2009
This post has been getting A LOT of views. That’s great. Thanks to everyone who has checked it out, and good luck to making your own Thin Mints! Show the Girl Scouts what you’ve got.

My post has been added to Star News Online. They also include recipes for making other Girl Scout cookies at home. It was also seen here, on Serious Eats. Thanks guys!

23 Comments

Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Mike says:

    Yields 48 to 60 cookies…and I only got 2? ;P

  2. Paula says: (Author)

    @Mike
    Hehe I promised you the lumpy ones but I ate most of them. It’s okay I’ll make them again!

  3. gfrank5835 says:

    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  4. Brittany says:

    Oh man, thin mints are my favorite cookies! The pictures are awesome, btw. Your site is great :)

  5. Paula says: (Author)

    @Brittany
    Thanks, Brittany! Yeah, food, photography and design are three things that I absolutely love…so blogging about it is fun. I’ll be posting more of these now, hehe. Thanks for reading.

  6. Reimers says:

    That cookie log looks… yummy

  7. Paula says: (Author)

    @Reimers
    Seriously, huh? I thought the same exact thing. It looks much more appetizing sliced.

  8. spyra says:

    This post really makes me hungry! Love your photos, btw.

    I completely agree with you on that we should boycott corporate-made, mass-produced, highly-processed foods. Although I must admit, getting a bunch of cute young girls to sell it is the most ludicrous advertising scheme ever. O_o

    I think I will have to try out this lovely home-made recipe sometime. Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. Paula says: (Author)

    @spyra
    Yeah it’s SO hard not to buy cookies from cute young girls. They really know how to get you. Them and their moms.

  10. anne says:

    Your post is making me hungry for these cookies all over again! Great photos!

  11. Sam says:

    These look really good. My mom makes faux thin mints, but instead of baking cookies, she just uses ritz crackers. That doesn’t make sense, right? (ritz cracker != chocolate butter cookie) But trust me they turn out really good! Maybe she compensates the extra saltiness with extra mint in the chocolate coating?

    Nice work on the pictures!

  12. Paula says: (Author)

    @Sam
    Sam,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m sure a ritz cracker covered in chocolate is delicious, too. This is probably a little more work but it’s definitely worth it!

  13. Sue (London, ON) says:

    You should check out Julie VanRosendaal’s blog at http://dinnerwithjulie.com/ for low fat cookie recipes. She wrote the book One Smart Cookie which has many low fat ice box recipes. I made 2 of them just last night and each recipe only uses 1/4 cup of butter. And they’re delicious too!

  14. Paula is QuiteCurious says: (Author)

    @Sue (London, ON)
    That’s great! Thanks for the link. I do like making low fat sweets :)

  15. Princess99 says:

    You are rude! Girl scout cookies might be bad but its not little girl scouts fault that that girl stepped o a wasps nest and u got stung. so dont be all bitchy and dislike little girl scouts. i dont like u!!! :P

  16. Www Melfina87 says:

    Took me half the day but they came out great, they didn’t seemed to store very well, they started to melt a little bit so I kept them in the fridge. I will keep this recipe and make this agian! thxs for the helpful pictures and guide.

    • Anonymous says: (Author)

      Hrm, that’s weird, mine didn’t seem to melt. They’re good cold anyway. Glad you like them! They’re time consuming but still one of my favorite cookies to make.

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