DIY Thin Mints
In the test kitchen, we’re no stranger to the DIY recipe. In fact, we welcome the challenge of concocting near- replicas of foods like Oreos, Cheez-Its — and even Girl Scout Caramel deLites. Yes, it’s true: these Thin Mints are not our first foray into copycat Girl Scout cookies!
While we’d still buy a box of Caramel deLites out of convenience (the DIY version is a fun but lengthy project), we might never go back to buying Thin Mints. As DIY recipes go, this is one of the easier ones, and it yields outrageously chocolaty cookies with cool minty notes, an irresistible crunch, and the perfect hint of salt. We really mean it this time when we say these might be better than the real deal. (But please, don’t tell our local Girl Scouts troop.)
What makes these DIY Thin Mints exceptional? High-quality chocolate. In the dough, we used Dutch processed cocoa powder, which is fudgier, smoother, and more intense than natural cocoa powder. It’s also much darker in color, so the cookies turn out almost black — a sign of just how decadent they are. We even added a quarter teaspoon of espresso powder to really bring out all that rich, chocolaty goodness, and of course, a splash of peppermint extract to give the cookies their eponymous flavor.
For the coating, we combined tempered, premium bittersweet chocolate chips with a bit more peppermint extract, so the cookies have a silky-smooth, melt-in-your-mouth, subtly minty exterior. Between that and the snappy crunch of the dark-chocolaty middle, these DIY Thin Mints are certified stuff-in-your-maw-able — we could (read: did) eat the entire tray in minutes.
Our (very important!) tip: Make sure you buy peppermint extract specifically. A generic mint extract will usually contain a blend of mints, including spearmint, which can make your cookies taste like chewing gum or worse, toothpaste.
Yield: 3 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp instant espresso powder
1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ tsp peppermint extract, divided
15 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and instant espresso powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the unsalted butter, granulated sugar, kosher salt, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp peppermint extract on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the mixer to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix until the dough is dark brown and comes together. It will look like a thick paste.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead it 2 to 3 times and form it into a ball. Flatten it into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and use a rolling pin to press the dough into the edges of the plastic. This will smooth out any cracks. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until slightly firm but still malleable.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, lightly dust it with flour, and roll it to ¼” thick. Note: If the dough is brittle and cracks when rolling, it’s too cold. Let it warm up on your countertop for about 10 minutes.
Cut the dough into 1 ½ to 2” rounds and place them 1” apart on the prepared sheet pan. Bake until just the edges of the cookies are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely.
Form the excess dough into a ball and repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have used all of the dough.
Temper the bittersweet chocolate: if you’ve never done it before or need a quick refresher, check out our how-to and video.
In a medium bowl, combine the tempered chocolate with the remaining ¼ tsp peppermint extract. Using small tongs, dip one cookie into the tempered chocolate, coating all sides, then scrape the bottom of the cookie against the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Return the cookie to the sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Let the chocolate-covered cookies rest at room temperature for 1 hour, or place the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
Note: the cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.