When I started spotting kids selling boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the streets of Brooklyn, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and bake gluten-free, dairy-free ones myself. And, I’m so happy I did. Oh, the difference great ingredients make.
This coincided nicely with a presentation I made this past Saturday in San Francisco on How to Reclaim Your Retro Foods. Handing out hundreds of gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free Thin Mint cookie knockoffs to my amazing audience was my sweet revenge for the six years since Isaiah’s diagnosis. It had been six long years since he could bite into a Girl Scout cookie. His favorite kind—Thin Mints—just had to be his again.
No sweat, I thought. That was until I realized that I had to temper chocolate. Before last week, this had been one of my biggest cooking anxieties. So if the idea of tempering chocolate worries you, too, don’t let it get inside your head. I already did that and I’m here to tell the story of how I got that perfect, chocolate bar-type coating on almost every single one of these cookies.
Now, it’s your turn to reclaim your food memories, one cookie at a time.
Please come say “hi” over in my online community, Silvana’s Kitchen. I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing!
For ingredient substitutions, please see the detailed chart at Gluten-Free 101.
Let’s get baking,
Hundreds of cookie dough cutouts waiting for their turn in the oven.
Hot out of the oven. I like to underbake these cookies slightly so they have a crunchy exterior with a nice interior softness. If you prefer a gingersnap-like crunch, bake for the full 10 minutes.
My assembly-line chocolate dipped cookies. Needless to say, the smell was intoxicating and I had to eat a few cookies in the process. Isaiah, my longtime Director of Quality Control (since my bakery days!), had to do the same. Chiara was sleeping at the time, but made up her cookie consumption when she woke up the next morning.
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
2½ ounces (5 tablespoons) shortening, at room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 pounds dairy-free semisweet coating chocolate, such as Guittard or Callebaut
- Preheat the oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and shortening on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to medium-low and beat in the egg and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until combined. Shape the dough into a disk and working on a confectioners’ sugar-dusted piece of parchment paper, roll until about 1/8-inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Using a 1½-inch round cutter, cut out circles and place ½ inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets; repeat with the dough scraps. Freeze the cookie dough cutouts for about 15 minutes. Bake until firm around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, bring water to a low simmer in a double boiler. Place 2/3 of the chocolate in the double boiler and melt to 115º. Stir in the remaining 1/3 chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes; stir to combine. Let the chocolate cool down to 90º. Submerge each cookie into the melted chocolate and turn to coat, shaking off any excess. Place on parchment paper and let set, at least 1 hour. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate, reheating the chocolate to 90º as needed.