Originally published January 11, 2019. Updated January 27, 2021.
Every year, the Girl Scouts bring a little sugary joy to our lives with their annual cookie sale fundraiser. With lots of flavors, some now discontinued, everyone has their favorite. But it’s no surprise to me that the #1 Girl Scout cookie is the Thin Mint. They have always been my number one with the Samoas (Caramel DeLites) coming in a close second.
Since I have been gluten free for 5 years, it’s been at least that long since I’ve eaten a real life Girl Scout cookie. Even though the GSA has added a few gluten free flavors in recent years, I am a little surprised they haven’t figured out a way to make their #1 selling Thin Mint gluten free. But who needs Girl Scouts when you have me?
These cookies are not just a close enough copycat, they taste like the real thing. They are crunchy and coated in chocolate with just the right amount of mint. Plus, making homemade Thin Mints means you can go for the highest quality ingredients, so they might even be a little better than the original. This recipe makes about 65 homemade Thin Mints, so it is equivalent to 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether there are enough to share.
What are the ingredients in Thin Mints?
The cookie inside a Thin Mint is basically a chocolate shortbread cookie: sugar, gluten free flour, butter/coconut oil and cocoa powder. I make mine with powdered sugar, which gives a less grainy texture to the final product. I also use a combination of vegan butter and coconut oil. I have made them with all coconut oil as well and either way will work out fine. The cookies and the outer chocolate shell are both flavored with peppermint extract. It’s a pretty simple vegan and gluten free Thin Mint recipe.
How do you make homemade thin mint cookies?
First, you want to cream your butter/coconut oil and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. You will do this for about 3 minutes until it’s nice and smooth. You want to make sure the fat is evenly incorporated so you don’t have too many holes in your final cookies. Then add your peppermint extract and beat on medium speed about 30 seconds more.
Combine all of your dry ingredients in a small bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest setting and add about half of the dry ingredients and then half of the water. Stir until it’s incorporated, then add the other half of the dry ingredients. Add the remaining water a little at a time until the dough just comes together. If it’s too wet you will have trouble rolling it out.
Once the dough has come together, lay out a sheet of parchment paper and lightly dust with cocoa powder (about 2 tsp worth). Gently knead the dough 4-6 times until it becomes smooth and is not sticky.
Dust your rolling pin with another teaspoon of cocoa powder. Roll the dough out until it’s slightly less than 1/4″ thick. The use a small circle cookie cutter ( 1 3/4″) to cut out the cookies.
Please the cookie cut outs onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You only need to leave about 1/2″ between each cookie because they won’t spread. Bake in your preheated oven.
Once the cookies have been removed from the oven, they need to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. This will make them have that extra crunch that Thin Mints are known for. Then you need to cool them completely before coating in chocolate.
Melt you chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can also melt in the microwave at 50% power. Start with 2 minutes, then stir, and do 1 additional minute at a time stirring between each cycle. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the coconut oil and peppermint extract and then you’re ready to coat the cookies.
Setup a baking sheet lined with wax paper to one side of your work station. Choose a baking sheet that will fit inside your refrigerator, this will be important later. Then drop one cookie at a time into your melted chocolate, flip it over making sure to coat the whole cookie. Lift it out (I use a fork) and tap the fork on the side of the bowl about 6-8 taps to get the extra chocolate off. Place the coated cookie on the baking sheet. Continue until you’ve coated all the cookies. Place the whole baking sheet into the refrigerator to set the chocolate, it should only take about 20 minutes. All done and time to enjoy!
Can you freeze Thin Mints?
Yes! You definitely can. And many people, myself included, think they are absolutely better straight from the freezer. The freezer seems to preserve the extra crunch that makes them divine. Since the chocolate coating is thin, it won’t get too hard to bite through while frozen. They should last about 3 months in the freezer, that is if you don’t eat them all in one sitting.
Gluten Free Vegan Thin Mint Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 C Powdered Sugar sifted
- ½ C Vegan Butter room temperature
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil room temperature
- 1 ¼ C Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob’s Red Mill
- ¾ C Cocoa Powder sifted
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Peppermint Extract
- 6 Tbsp Water
For the chocolate coating
- 10 oz Dark Chocolate chopped
- ½ tsp Peppermint Extract
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
For the cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar, butter and coconut oil. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until well combined. Add the peppermint extract and beat another 30 seconds to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Stir together.
- Turn the mixer on the lowest setting and slowly add a bit of the flour mixture and then a little water, 2 Tbsp at a time. Continue alternating adding the flour and water until all the flour is added. Hold the last 2 Tbsp of water out until you can see if the dough has come together in a ball. If it is still to dry, add the remaining water.
- Lay out a piece of parchment paper and dust with cocoa powder. Turn out the dough. Knead it just 4-6 times to get it all worked together. Dust your rolling pin with cocoa powder and roll dough out to about 1/4” thick (you can go a bit thinner if you like). Cut the dough out with a 1 3/4” round cutter.
- Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. You can leave about 1/2” inch between the circles, they will not spread.
- Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Cool completely before coating.
For the chocolate coating
- Place the chocolate in a double boiler. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Add in the coconut oil and peppermint extract and stir until combined.
- Dunk each cookie in the melted chocolate. Use a fork to remove the cookie from the chocolate and tap the excess off until no more drips away (probably 6-8 taps each cookies). Place onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- Once you’ve completed all the dipping, place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to set the chocolate. If you want to make the stripe design on top, drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top after the first coat has set. Refrigerate again to set the stripe.