I have a girl crush, everyone. Don’t you ever get girl crushes? Wait, you don’t know what a girl crush is? Alright…well let me break it down for you because I can guarantee you have one, but you just don’t know it.
A girl crush is when you think another girl is smart, funny, interesting, and just generally awesome. You probably want to be her friend, and better yet, sort of BE her. I get them all the time. I’m majorly crushin’ on Joy The Baker, Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, the girl from this band, and various other girls. Recently I’ve been sort of obsessed with Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. She’s amazing. I’m not a vegetarian, nor a health freak when it comes to cooking, but it’s great because now I can live this healthy life vicariously through her, though I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Whatever.
Anyway, when a friend was having a dinner party, I decided to make cookies, though I was searching for something that was different, but felt holiday-like. I wanted to pair peppermint with chocolate and my memory immediately went to thin mints, you know, like, the girl scout cookie. So I began scouring the internet and met so many thin mint recipes that used shortening. Shortening and I have never been friends. That relationship has never been developed, which is okay by me. I’m a sugar, flour and butter type girl, ya know, that other stuff isn’t me.
And then came Heidi…sigh…she had a “healthy”, homemade recipe for thin mints sans all of the bad stuff, of course. She won’t let you down. And when I made these, I’m not gonna lie, my crush grew a little. They were amazing. Messy, but amazing. So now for the big question… who is your girl crush?!?
Homemade Thin Mints
Recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks
Yield 2 dozen cookies
8 ounces of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
3/4 teaspoon of fine grain salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Chocolate Peppermint Coating:
1 pound good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
Peppermint extract or peppermint oil (I found it at Whole Foods)
Preheat your oven to 350. Racks in the middle zone.
Make the cookie dough: In a mixer cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract and then the salt and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy, sort of like a thick frosting. Add the all-purpose flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking, it might still be a bit crumbly, and that’s okay. You don’t want to over mix and end up with tough cookies.
Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and kneed it just once or twice to bring it together into once nice, smooth mass. Place the ball of dough into a large plastic bag and flatten it into a disk roughly 3/4-inch thick. Place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.
Rollout and bake: Remove the dough from the freezer and roll it out really thin, remember how thin Thin Mints are? That’s how thin you need your dough, about 1/8-inch. You can either roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or dust your counter and rolling pin with a bit of flour and do it that way. Stamp out cookies using a 1 1/2-inch cutter or whatever shape you want (I used a shot glass). Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a baking rack if you’ve got one.
Make the peppermint coating: While the cookies are in the oven you can get the coating ready. I use a makeshift double boiler to melt chocolate (a metal pan over a saucepan of gently simmering water), but I know many people who swear by melting chocolate in the microwave. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until it is glossy and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. If you think the chocolate needs a bit more peppermint kick, add more extract a drop or two at a time – but don’t go overboard.
Finishing the cookies: You are going to coat the cookies one at a time and then gently set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to set. Drop one cookie into the chocolate and (using a fork) carefully make sure it gets fully coated. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to drain any extra chocolate off the cookie. You are after a thin, even coating of chocolate. Place on the aforementioned prepared baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set. I put them in the freezer for 20 minutes and then transferred them to the fridge. I like ‘em cold. Always have.