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mint thins, and a giveaway

*Contest Closed*

As a food blogger, you get offered a lot of odd things for free. My all-time favorite? Kangaroo meat. I wish I were joking.

It’s every blogger’s own decision whether to accept swag or not. Personally, I believe that my blog is all mine, and I don’t do any sponsored posts here. If companies want to send me something, I’m cool with it. I just don’t promise to write about it.

My other rule of thumb is that when I receive things that I honestly do like—things that I would recommend to you all—I have to give them away to you guys. That’s why I’m excited to be handing over this great cookbook from Quirk Books, and a little bummed that I’m not keeping it for myself.

The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando (who also writes for Serious Eats), is yes, you guessed it—an cookie encyclopedia. It’s cute and colorful and full of tips for churning out perfect cookies. I do believe this cookbook was tailor made for me.

There are recipes for chocolate lovers.

Recipes for ambitious bakers.

Pretty photos to gaze at even if you don’t bake at all. And if you love to bake, there are recipes for every cookie under the sun, from buttery to spicy to fruity.

I even found a recipe for one of my all-time favorites: mint thins. Or in Girl Scout land, the über popular “Thin Mints.”

It would be irresponsible of me to not test out a recipe from the book before handing it over to one of you. So I just *had* to make them. And as it turns out, they weren’t as labor-intensive as I thought they would be. And worth every minute of preparation.

You begin by churning a thick, buttery dough in the mixer.

After letting it chill, you roll it out and cut into circles.

Bake, then dip in a blissful blend of chocolate and peppermint…

…and twiddle your thumbs as they cool.

In Lucy’s case, twiddle your tiny, very impatient thumbs.

Savor. Lick the melted chocolate from your fingers.

They are, in my approximate estimation, about 11,957 times better than the Girl Scout version. No offense, little ladies.

Try them for yourself using the recipe below. And if you want to try your hand at other types of cool cookies, enter to win The Cookiepedia in the comments. I’ll announce the winner next week!

Contest Rules

  1. To enter to win The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando, simply tell me in the comments: What is your favorite type of cookie?
  2. U.S. addresses only, please. I’m paying for the shipping myself, y’all. One entry per person.
  3. A magical random number winner picker computer thingie (that’s it’s technical name) will choose the winner next week.
And the winner is…
Karen! Karen said, “My favorite cookie is chocolate chip. Maybe a little boring but eating one while still warm from the oven with a glass of milk always makes me smile.” Karen, you’re my soul sister. Soul. Sister. I’ll be emailing you with the details. Thanks everyone for entering!

Mint Thins from The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando        printable version

Nobody you know will not come by when you say you’re baking homemade mint thins. (If they don’t so much as ask, consider defriending them immediately.) The question is: Do you want to share? The baking and dunking takes no time (especially if you taste as you go), but these bite-sized treats do hold up best (and taste yummiest) once the mint chocolate has had ample time to set. If you’re protective of your stash, store them in the freezer. They’re best with a chill anyway.

Preheat oven to 350F. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint flavor
1. Cream the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture by halves, beating to incorporate after each addition.

2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and form it into a disk with your hands. Split the disk in half and place them in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour.

3. Working on a floured surface (you’ll need a decent amount, since the dough is sticky), roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Shape the cookies using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then let cool completely.

4. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and set it over a small pot of simmering water* (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the butter and the peppermint flavor and stir the mixture steadily until it’s fully melted and looks glossy and smooth. Remove the bowl and let the chocolate cool slightly.

5. One by one, drop the cookies in the chocolate, then scoop them out with a fork to let the excess drip off. (Tap the cookies against the side of the bowl to help drain the extra chocolate). Move them carefully to a wire rack or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. When they’re all coated, move the sheet to the refrigerator or freezer to set.

*Note from RDG: If the chocolate gets too hot, it will harden. To reconstitute it, add a little vegetable oil and/or milk and stir until it comes back to a smooth consistency.

 

dark cocoa cookies with mini peanut butter cups

First off, these cookies owe someone an apology. They arrived at the party in an unassuming way, on a paper plate draped in tinfoil. But somewhere between being placed on the buffet and a half hour later, they had disappeared. No, they weren’t sneaking out for a christmas smoke or being cornered by too-much-perfume-Millie in the hallway. They had simply jumped off the plate right into people’s mouths.

I say that an apology is due because the other desserts on that pretty table never even stood a chance. It was an unfair fight from the start. The other contenders had such promise, too: chocolate brownies and peppermint nanaimo bars. But word must have spread, fingers were pointed, and every last dark cocoa cookie with mini peanut butter cups was gone.

So here it is: I’m sorry. And my cookies are sorry. But they won’t apologize for being unabashedly rich and chocolatey with a peanut butter cup center. They were just born that way.

-RDG

Dark Cocoa Cookies with Mini Peanut Butter Cups

If you can’t find mini peanut butter cups, any candy topping will do (a hunk of peppermint bark, perhaps?). Regular cocoa powder may be substituted for dark, although the flavor of the cookies will be less rich. Yield: 5 dozen 2″ cookies.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • mini peanut butter cups, for topping

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla at low speed and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl until evenly blended. Add the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Cover dough and chill at least 1 hour in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough between your palms to create a smooth ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Bake in batches of 12 for 7 minutes (cookies may still look slightly doughy in the center, and this is ok). Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Place 3 mini peanut butter cups in the center of each cookie and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.