Friday, December 18, 2009

Making a [Thin] Mint

I've never been much of a team player. Even as a kid, I was never the type to really dive into group activities, from abandoning dance troupe (I backed out of the final performance) to half-assing my way through a year of soccer because my mom told me I wasn't allowed to quit. I flat-out refused to join Brownies or Girl Guides, even though my two best friends in the neighbourhood kept asking me along. Nope, if I was going to do anything, you can bet it was going to be on my own. Call it OCD, vanity, antisocial personality, or even shyness (I had (have) any and all combinations of those!), but it's been my experience that if it's worth my time and effort into doing at all, I'm doing it right. And God help anyone who gets in my way!
And then I wonder why I don't have many friends! Ah well - those that can put up with my eccentricities and periods of total "world avoidance" while still managing to show an interest in my life (not an easy task, to be sure!) form one of the most wonderful elements of my existence. It's not a walk in the park to be friends with me, but each and every person who does is wonderful for giving it a go! Often I have no idea how to even begin reciprocating the gifts I feel that I've recieved from those around me, and the only thing I really feel confident in most days is baking. As a result, most of my poor friends (especially my like-minded foodie friends who do enough baking of their own!) wind up with bags and boxes of everything under the sun that they then have to deal with!

At least with Christmas drawing near I have a little bit more of an excuse to bake, and because all my indended recipients of treats this year gave me so many different inspirations I wound up making essentially one type of cookie per person. For Bon (of BonEats), I knew exactly what I would be making for her Christmas goodie bag - and I had actually been planning her cookies since mid-August! The only reason for that (and no, I'm not a stalker!) was because when we, along with Joel, were traipsing around Toronto's St. Lawrence Market, the talk turned to "the good old days" and how so many things we remembered as kids tasted so different (and even bad) now! One of the sticking points with Bon and I for sure was the memory of the Girl Guide Thin Mint cookies - crispy(ish) dark chocolate wafer cookie with a definite hit of peppermint, drenched in more minty chocolate and packaged 47 gazillion to a box at about 500 calories and 27 grams of trans fat per serving*... and worth every sinful bite. After their formula changed to ban the evils of trans-fats (along with everything else in this world - including my mom's gripe of Crisco shortening!) the texture and taste shifted too - subtly, but enough for us die hards to notice. My mom was a lover of the original TMs too, but after one fateful year of the "cardboard cookies" they've disappeared from our house for good. *Note: these figures are totally and completely made up. I have no idea what the NI is for them!

Until now. I'm sure most of you have seen one variation or another of a "Home Made Thin Mint"  recipe - God knows there's enough of them out there these days - but I began working with this one of Nicole's from Baking Bites, tweaking it to get the mixture from essentially sand to a respectable dough with the gratuitous addition of a vodka and creme de menthe cocktail (thanks to Joel for reminding me of the whole alcohol =/= gluten thing!), tripling the peppermint extract in the dough itself and changing the coating completely to not only set up firm at room temperature, but have an extra punch of mint from peppermint oil!

Ho. Lee. Cow. Did these smell awesome. From the time the dough came together, through slicing the frozen rolls into coins, through baking (twice - I did these biscotti-style because I fell asleep and didn't coat them the day I made them and they softened a little bit) and finally enrobing them in bittersweet, super-minty goodness, it was only because I knew I'd regret it sorely if I did that I was able to prevent myself from eating most of the batch. But that didn't stop my mom from stealing 2 or 3 of the first ones I coated and declaring them better than the boxed!

So, think I qualify for my cookie badge now? There are plenty other sweet holiday treats at Susan's Eat Christmas Cookies roundup to check out too!

Home Made Thin Mints
Makes about 40
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sweet rice flour
7 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp shortening
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup milk
3 tbsp vodka
2 tbsp creme de menthe liqueur
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar.
  3. Add milk, vodka, creme de menthe and extracts. The mixture will look curdled.
  4. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Shape dough into two logs, about 1 ½” in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F, line baking sheets with parchment or silicone.
  7. Slice dough into rounds not more than ¼” thick – otherwise will not be crisp.
  8. Place on the sheets fairly close together – they don’t spread that much.
  9. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
  10. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Coating
10 oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp shortening
½ tsp peppermint oil (make sure it is an oil-based product, like for candy making, otherwise the chocolate will seize - I used LorAnn's)
  1. Combine chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water.
  2. Melt until chocolate is smooth. Stir in the extract.
  3. Dip each cookie in melted chocolate and transfer to a wire rack set over a piece of wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 116.2
Total Fat: 5.6 g
Cholesterol: 6.2 mg
Sodium: 18.2 mg
Total Carbs: 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 1.3 g

1 comment :

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You definitely qualify for a cookie badge! You get a gold star in my book, Sarah. Thanks for always making EEC so much fun. You're a sweetheart. :)