Like so many of the best things in life, these Allergy-Free Thin Mints were the result of a happy accident. I’d been planning to bake a batch of my chocolate sandwich cookies, but rolled the dough too thin by mistake. So, I adapted the sandwich cookies into thin mints, and little bites of chocolate minty Heaven were born. But it was August, and not the appropriate time of year to debut such a recipe.
So, I waited, with bated breath, for the perfect time to roll it out: Girl Scout Cookie Season! I’ve always loved Girl Scout Cookies, despite the fact that I never made it past being a Brownie (which incidentally, I’d joined because I thought it was a group of girls dedicated to baking). But there are two problems with Girl Scout Cookies: 1) They are seasonal, and 2) They aren’t made for those with food allergies or intolerances in mind.
Enter the Gluten-Free, Vegan Girl Scout Cookie! Thin Mints that are free of Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. And the best part? They’re homemade, so if you feel like having allergy-friendly thin mints off-season, you can!
I’ve given proportions to bake up a large batch, so you can freeze some for later, or give them out to friends and family. These Allergy-Free Thin Mints are delicious for all, food allergic or not.
ALLERGY-FREE THIN MINTS
Makes 8 dozen cookies
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ cup + 3 Tablespoons Hershey’s “Special Dark” cocoa powder*
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/8th teaspoon salt
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening**
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tablespoons water
Mint Chocolate Coating:
3 ¾ cups dairy-free, soy-free chocolate chips***
5 Tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening*
3 ¾ teaspoons peppermint extract
1. Measure flour mix, using a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife. Whisk with the xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well, breaking up any lumps of cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat shortening and granulated sugar on medium speed, about 2 minutes till fluffy. Add vanilla extract, applesauce, and egg replacer, and mix till combined, about 30 seconds.
3. Add dry ingredients to stand mixer, in two batches, mixing on medium-low speed, until fully combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
4. Using a rubber spatula, transfer cookie dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Mold into a ball. Cut in half, and transfer one half to a second sheet of parchment. Cover both with a top sheet of parchment paper, and use the palm of your hand to press dough down into disks. Roll out dough to 1/8th-inch thick. I like to use my trusty rolling pin rings to do this. Transfer rolled out dough to a cutting board, or trays, and chill in fridge at least 2 hours until firm.
5. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove one sheet of dough from fridge, and peel off top sheet of parchment. Using a 1 ½-inch biscuit cutter cut out cookies. Transfer to parchment lined baking tray, spacing cookies about 1-inch apart. You may want to use a frosting spatula to transfer the cookies. You should be able to fit about 24 cookies per baking tray.
6. Bake in center of the oven 10 minutes, till set. Transfer tray to cooling rack, and let cool on tray 5 minutes, before transferring cookies to cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with remaining dough, gathering up scraps and re-rolling until you’ve used it all. I sometimes roll it out and stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to get it to firm up again.
7. Once cookies have cooled to room temperature, dump them all into a freezer safe container, and stick them in the freezer, uncovered for about 30 minutes to chill. This will simplify the coating process.
8. Combine chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl, and melt in microwave, stopping to stir about every 30 seconds, for a total of about 2 minutes. Do not overcook, as chocolate burns easily. Remove from microwave, and stir till smooth. Add peppermint extract, and mix in well.
9. Remove a handful of the chocolate wafers from the freezer. You will be making these cookies one at a time. Drop one cookie into the melted chocolate mixture. Use a fork to flip it once, so both sides are now coated. Use the fork to lift the cookie out of the chocolate mixture, and run the bottom of the fork along the edge of the bowl, wiping off the extra drips of chocolate. Set coated cookie down on parchment lined baking tray. Repeat, until you’ve coated all the cookies. You can let them set at room temperature, but I speed up the process by sticking them in the fridge for about 30 minutes, till set. Once the cookies have set, store them in an airtight container, between layers of parchment or wax paper. Keep them in the fridge, or, for longer-term storage, keep them in the freezer! Frozen thin mints are also a real treat!
“Allergy-Free Thin Mints”
© 2011 by Cybele Pascal
*Hershey’s “Special Dark” cocoa is a rich blend of natural cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa powder. If you prefer, you may sub another brand of natural cocoa powder in its place.
**Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening is dairy-free and soy-free
*** Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips are allergy-friendly
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.