My oldest daughter started Girl Scouts this past fall, and the minute she did I knew I'd have to make some copycat cookies gluten-free in our favorite flavors: Thin Mints and Caramel deLites (Samoas).
When we went gluten-free a couple of years ago, I actually called the corporate Girl Scouts office and asked them about the possibility of selling a flavor or two in gluten-free options. I got a vague "we'll look into the demand" (hint, hint, if anyone reading this is higher up in Girl Scouts) and immediately knew by the time my oldest requested to join, there would be no such option.
She started selling the cookies a few weeks back, and I got the thin mints made that first week. The verdict? Amazing. Waaaayyyy better than the originals. I hope you'll agree.
I made the Caramel deLites this past weekend, and hope to post that recipe tomorrow or this weekend. (Edit 3/2/2011, here it is.)
I adapted these "thin mints" from this recipe on Food.com.
Projected prep time: 3 or more hours (includes chilling); Projected bake time: 10-12 minutes
1 15 oz. package of gluten-free chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker because I had some on hand and it was that size. If you use another brand and have a scale, weigh out 15 oz.)
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 c. Pamela's bread mix & flour blend (not baking mix)
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
Water (I think it was about 5 tbsp. The original recipe called for 3 tbsp. but it wasn't nearly enough, so I added a little more. Star with 3 and add more a tiny bit at a time until you have a stiff dough that is workable. You don't want it crumbly at all, but you also don't want it too moist. It needs to be very stiff.)
1 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten-free, of course)
2 tbsp. shortening such as Crisco (see note)
1 1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
1/8 c. more chocolate chips, separate from bag
*Note: I HATE Crisco. I would much rather use butter, olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil or canola oil for all my cooking and baking. Even margarine, which I only use a tiny handful of times a year, I would prefer over Crisco. There is something that is disgusting to me about Crisco, and I have to fight a gag when I use it. So much so, that I'd had an unopened can of Crisco in my pantry for more than a year and I opened it for this recipe. So why did I use it? I wanted this coating to be perfect, and harden nicely without needing to be kept in the refrigerator and melt as soon as you picked a cookie up. I didn't believe butter or oil would work for the coating I wanted, but I may try a reduced portion of this coating just to test without any shortening and see how it turns out. If it works well, I'll come back and edit. If you know of other tricks that will get this same coating I achieved without having to use it, please let me know!
Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl, then remaining ingredients (your egg should be room temperature so it doesn't harden the butter) and mix together, adding water last. Add a little more water as needed, as noted above, until you achieve the right texture. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, as for all heavy cookie doughs, makes it easier. I should have taken photos of the dough when it was finished so you could get an idea of the consistency, but it just looked, ummm ... not very yummy to say the least.
Roll dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I refrigerated overnight. Note that this didn't make the most beautiful round cookies. When I cut the dough from the log, each slice was flattened some even though I used a sharp knife. If you want perfect circles, you'll need to either try freezing the dough before cutting, or rolling it out and then cutting circles.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove log from refrigerator and cut, with a sharp knife, into approximately 1/4-inch slices and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
|Not perfect circles, as noted above, but it takes less time (a plus for a busy mom!) and they do look better once baked and coated.|
Let them sit on baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
When the cookies have cooled completely, line the baking sheets with wax paper (stick them in the freezer if you have room, or the refrigerator) and start on the coating.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on high for one minute. Remove, stir and microwave 10 more seconds. Stir until smooth, then quickly add 1/4 tsp. of the extract at a time, stirring quickly and very well after each addition. Continuing to stir very quickly, add the 1/8 cup more chocolate chips and stir until smooth. It won't be a real thin coating, but it shouldn't be too thick to stir easily, either.
If you were able to make room for the sheets in the freezer or refrigerator, that will help keep the chocolate from spreading when you place the cookies on the sheet. If not, it's fine, but the chocolate may spread out a little from the cookies when you place them on the sheets after coating them.
Dip each cookie into the chocolate and then shake and/or scrape off excess. You will want to scrape off the excess, but still leave a thin coat completely covering the cookie. It will be thicker than it looks when set. If you are doing this the sanitary and/or less-mess-on-your-hands way, you'll use a couple of pairs of tongs, or a pair of gloves. I tried the tongs for the first several cookies, but tired of it and since it was just our family and my hands were clean, I started using my fingers to hold the cookies.
Set cookies on sheets and allow to sit until coating is completely hardened. To speed up this process, you can place them in the refrigerator or freezer. I found this coating hardened pretty well on its own.
Store in an airtight container in layers of wax paper. If you use this coating recipe, you shouldn't need to keep the cookies in the refrigerator.