Girl Scout cookie sales take place for only a few weeks every year, and unless you have a freezer big enough to stock up for the whole year, it’s likely that you’ll run out of Thin Mints (or Peanut Butter Patties or Caramel deLites) soon. Or eventually.
That’s where America’s Test Kitchen wants to help.
The Massachusetts-based recipe powerhouse publishes a handful of educational cookbooks every year, featuring some of the company’s best recipes, curated in a way that’s really helpful to home cooks.
One of their latest books is called “Everything Chocolate: A Decadent Collection of Morning Pastries, Nostalgic Sweets, and Showstopping Desserts" (America's Test Kitchen, $35), and it features everything you could ever want to know about using chocolate, from baking double chocolate cakes to rolling cocoa-covered truffles.
The book is particularly helpful if you want to tackle chocolate’s trickier elements, including tempering. Tempering chocolate simply means heating it and then letting it cool to a certain temperature – 82 degrees to be exact – and then heating again, which allows the chocolate to coat whatever you’d like and harden with a nice sheen and texture.
In this recipe for do-it-yourself chocolate-coated chocolate cookies that snap just like Thin Mints, the editors offer a detailed explanation for tempering chocolate and adding just a hint of peppermint oil to give the treat that hint of mint that we love about America’s best-selling Girl Scout cookie.View this post on Instagram
“Everything Chocolate” is just the book you (I?) need on Valentine’s Day. DIY truffles, fudge, chocolate bars, chocolate-covered strawberries and even Thin Mint cookies. It’s all here.
Thin Chocolate-Mint Cookies
Thin Mints — the best-selling Girl Scout cookie with a crisp chocolate coating and just the right amount of cool mint flavor — are a favorite of children and adults alike. We no longer wanted to count the days until the cookie season arrives, so we re-created them. To keep the mint flavor in check, we reserved the peppermint oil for use in the chocolate coating and omitted it from the cookie itself. Thin Mints get their crisp, short texture from palm kernel oil; coconut oil, which is in the same family, did the trick. Baking the cookies until they were thoroughly dry ensured the proper crunch. We wanted an attractive, crisp shell so we tempered the chocolate — a technique that stabilizes chocolate's structure, but one that also makes many home bakers wary. Though the process is exacting — it involves melting chocolate, agitating it, and cooling it to a specific temperature — it's not difficult to do. Our spin on Thin Mints doesn't just live up to our expectations; it exceeds them — scout's honor. We use wafers of couverture chocolate (also referred to as feves or callets) for the coating; this professional-quality chocolate is high in fat due to added cocoa butter. You can buy Guittard couverture chocolate wafers at Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, or some high-end supermarkets. You can also order it online at kingarthurflour.com.
– America’s Test Kitchen
For the cookies:
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup refined coconut oil, chilled
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate coating:
1 pound semisweet couverture chocolate wafers
1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
For the cookies: Whisk flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in bowl; set aside. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat oil and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add milk, egg, and vanilla, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until just combined, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Divide dough in half. Form each half into 4-inch disk, wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until dough is firm yet malleable, about 45 minutes.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk of dough at a time, roll into 11-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick, between 2 large sheets of lightly floured parchment paper. Remove top piece of parchment. Using 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into circles; space circles 1/2 inch apart on prepared sheets. Gently reroll scraps 1/8-inch thick, cut into rounds, and transfer to prepared sheets. Bake until very firm, 16 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely.
For the chocolate coating: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Melt two-thirds of chocolate and oil in medium metal heatproof bowl set over small saucepan filled with 1 inch barely simmering water, stirring often, until chocolate registers 118 degrees. Remove bowl from heat and slowly add remaining chocolate, stirring constantly, until chocolate registers 82 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes. Briefly return bowl to saucepan and heat, stirring often, until mixture reaches 90 degrees, moving bowl on and off the heat every 15 seconds to prevent overheating.
To test for temper, dip tip of butter knife in chocolate and let sit for 10 minutes. Chocolate should harden and be glossy. Working with 1 cookie at a time, place cookie on fork and dip bottom of cookie in chocolate. Using offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie, creating thin coating. Transfer cookie to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cookies. Let cookies sit until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes, before serving. (Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.) Makes about 70 cookies.
– From “Everything Chocolate: A Decadent Collection of Morning Pastries, Nostalgic Sweets, and Showstopping Desserts" by America's Test Kitchen (America's Test Kitchen, $35)