Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

If you haven’t read anything by Michael Pollan yet, I highly recommend any and everything he’s written. The title of this post comes from his latest, “Food Rules,” which is a great choice if you’re looking to eat better and greener but aren’t ready for anything quite as weighty as the Omnivore’s Dilemma. The idea behind this rule is that the food industry has made junk food so accessible to us that it has become a regular part of our diets, rather than the treat that it used to be when we had to cook it ourselves. If you limit your junk to what you make yourself, you’re bound to be eating better. You certainly won’t be whipping up French fries or ice cream everyday, it’s just too much work and too time consuming, so enjoy it when you do. I decided to do just that today. I have long been a fan of the Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies, but I’m not a fan of all the partially hydrogenated oils and preservatives in them, so I decided I should just make them myself. Here’s the cast of characters:

As much as I would like to say I came up with this, I actually stumbled across this recipe on another blog long ago, it’s been bookmarked just waiting for me to get motivated. So, I must give credit to Baking Bites: Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Mints (P.S. she’s also got recipes for homemade Samoas, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos if you’re a fan of those, I’ve never tried any of them because that would’ve been money I could’ve spent on more thin mints instead)

So, here we go:

Homemade Thin Mints
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup white flour – not the same as AP flour – plus 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and the extracts. Mixture will look curdled. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches (or about 4 cm) in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4 inch thick – if they are too thick, they will not be as crisp – and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you can put them quite close together.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Coating
10-oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high power in the microwave, stirring every 45-60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating.
Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, turn with a fork to coat, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes, or until chocolate is cool and firm.
Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.

Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies. (less if you eat a bunch of the dough while slicing it)

I must say these were at least as good, if not better, than the originals.


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