Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Never buy thin mints again!

That is what Sebastian, my 6 year old said today. Sebastian was the member of my family who was the most upset after I read the nutritional information and ingredients for thin mints and decided not to buy any. No I wasn't expecting them to be low in sugar and fat or high in fiber and vitamins. However I am not okay with feeding my family hydrogenated oil or corn syrup. If it cannot be made in a home kitchen without the use of chemicals and high tech heating I don't want it in my house. So I told him I would make some. Hey, sometimes kids forget things, albeit not my children, so maybe I wouldn't have to make them.

I had seen a recipe for them on another blog so I figured I was safe. I had even read over the recipe and it seemed pretty manageable, not always a step I bother with. Now I could just wait until the mood seized me or my children remembered my promise. Well as luck would have it we went over to a friends house yesterday for a play date where we were given some thin mints as part of our snack. So when I picked up Sebastian from the bus today he asked if we could make thin mints. I was so relieved not to be pestered about having a play date that I said yes.

So I sat down at my computer to print the recipe and I while I was there I also read the comments. This recipe had mixed reviews, many folks loved them, however even more had trouble with the dough. It was too dry, hard to work with, shattered etc. Between school, making dinner and 2 boys who are tired because of the daylight savings switch, this did not sound like the sort of project I wanted to start with a kitchen that is already in disarray. (read very little clear counter space)

So I began to think of what other cookies have the same flavor and texture as thin mints. OREOs! Now I just needed a good recipe for homemade OREOs. I did sub whole wheat pastry flour for some of the all purpose flour. I discovered a few years back that chocolate is such a strong flavor it can safely hide some whole grains. Not that I think these cookies are now health food, but a little extra fiber is not a bad thing. I was a little rushed, and honestly flakey, while softening the butter in the microwave. As most of the butter was still quite firm I ended up having to use more to make it form a dough. The extra butter meant that the cookies ended up soft instead of crisp. To fix this problem I changed the baking procedure, rebaking them like biscotti. In the end I also decided not to dip them in melted chocolate but instead to make them as sandwich cookies with a chocolate peppermint ganache. I made this choice purely because I love the ganache in the peppermint bark recipe on Orangette. If you already have the Platonic essence of dark chocolate and peppermint, why not use it? I encourage you to try the peppermint bark as well, it is outstanding.

The resulting cookies are perfect. The cookie itself ended up crisp, the ganache soaked in to the cookie just a little. The best part is they are so rich you will not be tempted to eat a whole box as with the original cookies. So really they are diet food.

Fat Mint Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp unsalted butter at room temperature (1 stick plus 51 grams)
1 large egg

Peppermint Ganache
3 1/2 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbsp heavy cream
3/8 tsp peppermint extract

Set the oven racks in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 ° F. Put flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor and mix thoroughly. On low speed or while pulsing if using a food processor add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing or pulsing until dough forms a ball.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop out tablespoons of dough and place approximately 1 inch apart on sheets. (Next time I make these I am going to make them smaller, that way we will have more cookies to share). Slightly flatten the dough with moistened hands and then roll the edge to make them smooth and the cookies a uniform thickness. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating trays halfway through baking.

Set baking sheets on a rack to cool and turn oven down to 325° F. When cookies have cooled about 15 minutes return them to the oven for 9 minutes more, rotating trays halfway through baking. After 9 minutes turn the oven off and take the cookies out for 10 minutes to cool. Return cooled trays to the oven to harden for 25 minutes more.

Melt bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in a medium heavy weight sauce pan over medium low heat until the mixture is melted and smooth. Spread a generous layer of ganache on the flat side of a cookie. Place another cookie on top and press very gently. Cool on a plate or tray.

Next year donate to your local girl scout troop and make your own cookies!!


  1. Whoa. I LOVED the peppermint bark...these just might roll my eyes back....

  2. These cookies look great, can't wait to try the recipe!

  3. Mary, Please come back and let me know what you think after you make them. I hope you enjoy them!!