High Country Baking: Curb your mint cravings
July 10, 2012
Does your heart beat faster when the girls in green uniforms bring out their celebrated cookies? If so, I understand – it seems that some of us like those treats so much we’ve earned the coveted Girl Scout Cookie patch without even being a troop member. If you’re one of the many addicted to Thin Mints, their best seller, you’re going to like this cookie. It’s a tender cocoa wafer with a strong minty taste that’s coated with rich dark chocolate. It may even be better than the Scouts’ boxed ones.
A refrigerator cookie that requires a few hours of chilling before baking, the rounds are simplicity itself. Dump the ingredients in a food processor and the dough comes together in about 10 minutes of active time. Once chilled and baked, adding the coating requires another quarter of an hour or so. And, you can spread the project out over two days by leaving the dough in the refrigerator for 24 before cutting and baking the cookies.
Peppermint extracts vary in strength, depending on the brand you use, so you may want to alter the amount to suit your taste.
Vera Dawson, chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute, lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makes about 34 cookies
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (one stick), softened if using an
1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, or to taste
3 1/2 ounces of good bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon of Canola oil
Green sugar sprinkles, optional
01 If making in a food processor, add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar to the processor’s bowl and pulse several times to mix them well. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl along with the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Use long pulses to mix the dough until it forms large moist curds and there are no dry ingredients at the bowl’s bottom. Stop before the dough smoothes out and forms a ball. If making with an electric mixer,
combine the flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl and mix on low speed to combine. Set this aside. In another bowl, beat the softened butter at medium-high speed until it’s creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until the two are well-blended. Add the extracts. Using low speed, add the flour mixture and mix only until it is absorbed uniformly into the dough. Don’t overbeat.
02 Turn the dough out on a sheet of waxed paper and knead it gently until combined and smooth. Shape it into a round log, approximately one-and-a-quarter inches in diameter. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least two hours until it is quite firm, and up to overnight. Turn and gently roll it occasionally, so that the dough remains circular and doesn’t flatten on the bottom.
03 When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Line two cookie sheets (or plan to reuse one) with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil, non-stick side up; don’t grease the pan; it may cause the cookies to spread. Remove the roll of dough from the refrigerator and slice it into rounds between 3/16th and a quarter of an inch wide. Place them an inch and a half apart on the lined cookie sheet(s). Bake one sheet of cookies at a time, only until the edges of the cookies firm up slightly (9-11 minutes in my oven). Take them out while they are still soft or they will get tough and hard. Cool the rounds for a couple minutes on the cookie sheet, and then carefully move them to a rack to cool completely.
04 Glaze the cookies: Chop the chocolate into small pieces, place them in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on a low setting (I use #4 out of 10) for a minute or so, until almost fully melted. Remove from the oven, add the half teaspoon of vegetable oil and stir until smooth and shiny. Hold each cookie upside down, carefully dip the top into the chocolate, shake it gently to remove excess chocolate, and place, right-side up, on cool cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper (I use the same paper I baked the cookies on). If you prefer, you can spread the chocolate on the cookies with an offset spatula. Dust the tops with green sugar sprinkles, if you’re using them. Let the chocolate set; place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator if you want to speed up this process. The rounds will keep for a week if stored airtight in a cool place.
This is a variation of a recipe from The Good Cookie.