Thin Mint Cookies

Thin Mint Cookies Recipe


Update: I eventually did my own remix of Thin Mints (homemade and all-natural), you can get the recipe here.

It's Girl Scout cookie time of year. Tagalongs, Samosas, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, and my all-time favorite -- the Thin Mint. For $3.50 I bought a single box of Thin Mints last weekend from the enterprising Scouts who set up a card table in front of my local market. According to an article about cookies being sold on eBay in last weeks New York Times, the price of a box of Girl Scout cookies can range anywhere from$2.50 - $4.00+ per box depending on the city you live in -- Cincinatti on the cheap end, Tucson on the pricier front.

On my walk home from the store I started reading the box. When you eat 4 Thin Mint Cookies you are consuming 7 grams of fat and 140 calories*. The horror. Who can stop at just 4? Thin Mints are so small! There are roughly 63 grams of fat in a box. Ingredients include; enriched flour, sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean, cottonseed oil, coconut and/or palm kernal), cocoa, invert sugar, whey, leavening, cornstarch, salt, soy lecithin, artificial flavors, oil of peppermint. I still ate some of them (well, I actually ate more than a few of them), but felt particularly bad about it. I don't eat that much processed food, and try to avoid it when possible--but childhood nostalgia is a powerful seductress even when she comes cloaked in transfats. Compare the above modern list of ingredients with an early Girl Scout cookie recipe found on their website (link has since been disabled, but here is a link to their nutritional FAQ).

Notice that the ingredient list consists of ingredients I can actually find in my own refrigerator; butter sugar, eggs, milk, flour.

According to the New York Times article, Thin Mints were the third best-selling cookie in the United States last year behind Oreos and Chips Ahoy. The spectrum of Girl Scout cookies accounted for over 200 million boxes sold. Gasp. Great article, it also goes into an explanation about how Boy Scouts keep 35% of the purchase price of their popcorn and peanuts, while Girl Scouts only take home 17%.

So it is clear there is some room for improvement on a few fronts here. I started wondering if you could make a homemade Thin Mint that could really capture the flavor, bite, and texture of the original -- and then as an added bonus, could you make it healthier?

Someone mailed me a link to this 'Top Secret Recipe'...I figured it was as good a place as any to start and so I tested it last night. Yes I was lukewarm about using boxed cake mix, and using shortening was almost a deal breaker, but I figured if this recipe worked well I could start gradually substituting and testing alternative non-processed, 'whole', ingredients. I _really_ love Thin Mints.

The Top Secret recipe is a bit unconventional, you use the cake mix to make a thick dough, roll it out, and bake off the little chocolate wafers. You then dip the wafers in a mix of chocolate, peppermint extract, and shortening.

The cookies were a smash hit, especially after half spent the night in the refrigerator, and the other half spent the night in the freezer. I gave some to a friend today and she thought they were the real deal. At room temp they lacked the signature crunch and firmness of the original Thin Mint and the chocolate coating melted onto my fingers too fast.

So, the next time around, I'm going to try and mix up my own cake mix to use as the base, Top Secret calls for a box of Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix. Betty Crocker also seems to use many hard to pronounce ingredients with lots of letters. After that, I'll tackle the shortening issue, and see where that gets us. It may take a few months.

Also, enough sweets for a while. I promise to branch out a bit, and have some suprises coming up in the next couple of months.

*For you fact checkers out there I also noticed that the information on my box of Thin Mints does not synch up with the nutritional information provided on the Girl Scout website.

Hard to imagine but the stats on their site are even more grim. In that version 4 cookies contain 9 grams of fat and 160 calories, and has a different ingredient list that includes shortening and high fructose corn syrup.

 
 
 
 

Update: I eventually did my own remix of Thin Mints (homemade and all-natural), you can get the recipe here.

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Your Comments


marley
March 17, 2004

What a great idea - homemade thin mints! Thin mints are my all time favorites. I only allowed myself one box of thin mints this year and I ate them all by myself.

 

Seattlejo
March 22, 2004

As far as the shortening goes, its to make the coating more shiny, and have the right consistancy. I've seen parrafin used in the same way.

 

souris
March 23, 2004

i bought 30 boxes of girl scout cookies this year (20 thin mints, 10 caramel delights). i upped my order by 10 boxes this year! i have already sent out at least 15 boxes for the past holiday season (they make for affordable *surprise* gifts). the rest will get eaten by friends over for game night in the next several months. nothing lights up jaded 30-something year olds than a good old fashion box of girl scout cookies! thanks for sharing the secret recipe. this i gotta try!

 

Todd Lemon
March 23, 2004

paraffin in cookies... *shudders*
When I was a little tyke, I remember that thin mints had a layer of chocolate over a layer of mint over the cookie... you could nibble the chocolate off and then eat the mint and cookie all by themselves. I was sad when they switched to just a plain mint chocolate coating. I wish I knew how to do the double layers!

you should work on that next ;-)

 

reina
March 24, 2004

you know, martha stewart has her own version of homemade thin mint cookies, although i have never tried it before. here is the link:

if anyone has made this version before, let me know if it's worth the effort.

r

 

Josie
March 27, 2004

Wow, those are some seriously professional cookies!

 

Katharine
March 29, 2004

If you do not care for cake mix, or shortening (can't blame you) you may want to try this recipe, which is a most excellent one for wafer cookies. Not that I've ever coated it in mint (the combo of chocolate and mint is one of my personal hurl-o-matics) but I did dip some in espresso dark chocolate for Christmas, and they were very good.

And you can't go wrong with chocolate and Alice Medrich.

http://community.cookinglight.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=53767

 

Misa
March 29, 2004

The Girl Scouts have two different bakeries that bake for them. They do use slightly different products, which accounts for the different nutritional info.

 

Paul
April 6, 2004

I really like your site. I just started a blog that's related to cooking--well, basically about restaurants. So I'm casting about looking at other sites and I like how you did the graphics. Soft and tasteful.

cheers,
Paul