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.
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.
Homemade Thin Mints
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 oz 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
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
- Add salt and and peppermint extract, and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides/bottom of the bowl.
- Add sugar and mix for 2 minutes. Again, scrape down the sides/bottom of the bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat your oven to 325F. Make sure your racks are in the upper and lower thirds of your oven before heating.
- 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.
- 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.
- Arrange the rounds on parchment-lined sheet pans, leaving about 1 inch between them.
- 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.
- Dip, baby, dip! (Does anyone remember that song from 1995?) (See notes above on dipping cookies.)
- Store cookies in an airtight container between layers of parchment, preferably in the fridge (they're way better cold!)