Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
When I was in kindergarten, my teacher, Ms. Jackson made sure to make St. Patrick’s day special. When my class and I were coming in from an afternoon on the playground, we found to our delight, Leprechauns had been in our classroom! Thousands of tiny gold foot prints and sparkling specs were stamped out across our tables, over the floor and into our little cubbys. When we found these Irish men had left us delectable goodies, we were completely convinced pots of gold existed and Leprechauns were real.
A couple days ago, my darling 5 year old neighbor told me about how leprechauns had visited his classroom. Then he asked me if they’ve ever come to see me. I smiled at the memory, but I don’t find traces of sparkles and gold anymore. Instead, I find traces of chocolate and mint scattered about my kitchen. Which, come to find out, is just as exciting.
In the shape of seasonal four leaf clovers, these cookies look and taste like a true St. Patty’s treat. Quite popular among Girl Scout Cookie enthusiasts, these natural cookies are a lovely rendition of your favorite mint cookie. I love the perfect blend of chocolate and mint. I love the perfect blend of natural ingredients. I also love that they lack gluten, wheat and sugar! It’s safe to say the full robust chocolate minty flavor is nothing short of magical.
If you really want to make the day festive, try making a glittering gold trail leading to these cool mint cookies for the little ones in your life. It’s bound to recreate some St. Patrick’s day magic.
Thin Mints (gluten free, egg free, and sugar free!, dairy-free option)
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1/2 cup unsalted Butter or Earth Balance Butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Powdered Honey or Maple Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Milk (we use almond)
1/2 cup Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
3/4 cup White Rice Flour (plus more for rolling out)
Chocolate Peppermint Coating:
1 1/4 cup sugar free Dark or Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons Peppermint Extract
In a large bowl or in an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add powdered honey and cream together. Add your vanilla, milk, cocoa, and salt. Mix on low to continue creaming until your mixture looks like thick frosting. Add the xanthan gum and rice flour and mix on low until batter is all incorporated and comes together. Gather the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees while the dough is chilling. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from the freezer once chilled and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be firm, but softens as you handle it. If it gets a bit too sticky, put the dough back in the dough. As you roll out the dough, be sure it is thin, but not so thin you can see through it or it is easily breakable. With your cookie cutter of choice, cut out cookies. For a more girls scout cookie appearance, choose a smaller cookie cutter, no bigger than 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9 minutes until the cookies look hardened. Remove parchment papers with cookies still on them from baking sheets and allow cookies to completely cool.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare the chocolate coating. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth and glossy. Once melted, stir in the peppermint extract. Drop one cookie in the chocolate at a time, and using a fork, carefully turn the cookie right side up to coat the chocolate. When doing this, I found it very helpful to use a square dish to melt the chocolate and then to use the side of the dish to gently push the cookie up against it to smooth out the chocolate on the cookie and to help lift the cookie from the chocolate. Doing it this way, I found I had to use my fingers less. Also, if the chocolate does not coat the cookie smoothly, it may be helpful to use your index finger to lightly smooth the chocolate out. With the cookie laying flat on the fork, tap the fork to remove any excess chocolate. Place the coated cookies back on a parchment lined dish and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set and harden. You can let them set at room temperature, but it takes longer and you might find you’ll prefer them after they’ve been chilling in the freezer!
Makes 30-35 cookies, depending on your cookie cutter size