Over the past couple of years, I have put together a collection of a number of homemade recipes for Girl Scout Cookies. My recipes are made with all natural ingredients and, rather than having to wait for cookie season to come around, you can make them yourselves any day of the year. The Girl Scouts don’t currently make any of their cookies gluten free, and while some scouts are petitioning to try to get the organization to introduce a gluten free option, I decided that I would put together a recipe for some gluten free Girl Scout cookies that you can make at home. I started with Gluten Free Thin Mints, because the thin chocolate wafer cookies are the most popular flavor of Girl Scout Cookie.
Classic Thin Mints are light and crisp, covered with a thin layer of dark or semisweet chocolate. This gluten free variation has a very similar texture. The cookies are light and crisp, with a subtle cocoa flavor to them. They take on a whole new dimension once they’re dipped in a layer of dark chocolate that has both mint and vanilla added to it, becoming more flavorful and much more like the “real” thing. The cookies are good – gluten free or not – and they are a fantastic option for Girl Scouts and fans of Girl Scout cookies who can’t eat wheat.
I used a commercially available gluten free flour blend for this recipe because there are so many gluten free flour choices out there and it is much easier for most people to start with an already made blend, rather than combining a half dozen flours themselves. I tried out a couple of flours and the flour that I got the best results with a flour blend that included a good proportion of garbanzo bean flour (ground beans, essentially) and some fava bean flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and would definitely recommend it for these cookies. The recipe will work with other types of gluten free flour blends (as long as you choose an “all purpose” or “multi purpose” blend), but I found that the texture was not nearly as good when I used rice flour based mixes. The rice flour blends produced a cookie that was crisp, but had a gritty, unpleasant texture. The only drawback to the bean-based flour blend is that the raw cookie dough tastes pretty awful, due to some bitterness from the beans. Not to worry, however. Any off tastes bakes out completely in the oven and you’re left with a tasty wafer cookie that is chocolatey, slightly minty and just waiting to be dipped in chocolate! I’ve also had good results with C4C Gluten Free Flour.
The chocolate glaze is made with dark or bittersweet chocolate and butter, which gives it a thinner consistency that allows for easier dipping of the cookies. I stirred in a little bit of vanilla and peppermint extract (peppermint oil is fine, too) to the melted chocolate to enhance the subtle flavors in the cookies themselves. The cookies are best when they are freshly baked or stored on the kitchen counter, as they tend to soften up a little bit when stored in an airtight container, as many other cookies do. If you’re not going to eat them right away, pop them in the freezer and you’ll have a crispy Thin Mint at hand whenever you’re in the mood.
There are a few steps to making these cookies, but they’re really not that difficult and the result is well worth the wait. Minty, chocolatey, crunchy and totally gluten free – what more could you want, besides a Girl Scout to make them for you so you don’t have to do it all yourself!
When I started out on my self-appointed task to make homemade versions of some popular Girl Scout cookies, I didn’t have any problem picking out Do-Si-Dos, Samoas and Tagalongs as my top choices. But I thought it might be fun to throw in a recipe that used Girl Scout cookies, too, and this is that recipe. I opted to use the ever-popular Thin Mints – crispy, chocolate dipped mint chocolate wafers – as a crumb crust to compliment a vanilla cheesecake.
Because the cookies are chocolate-covered, the idea of an unbaked crust appealed to me as it guaranteed that I wouldn’t end up with chocolate running all over the floor of my oven. No-bake cheesecakes, however, have never been a favorite of mine because there seem to be so many ways to screw them up. They should be easy to make because you don’t need to worry about over cooking or fussing with a water bath, as you do with some baked cheesecakes, but I’ve had too many that are extremely fluffy (Cool Whip/marshmallow-type consistency) or far too dense (straight cream cheese, perhaps cut with a little lemon zest). This in mind, I decided to see if I could find a nice middle ground that would taste like a nice, creamy cheesecake while still showcasing my mint chocolate crust.
I used a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream as the base for the cheesecake – the cheese for flavor and texture and the cream for lightness. Held together with a bit of gelatine (or gelatin, if you prefer), the cake turned out beautifully: easy to make and satisfying to eat. It is light and creamy, yet not “airy” at all. It’s quite a bit lighter than most baked cheesecakes, though in this case it really seems to let the mint chocolate flavor of the crust stand out. In fact, the whole dessert reminds me a little bit of mint chocolate chip ice cream, flavor-wise.
Now, if you don’t have a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints or you don’t want to make them yourself, Keebler makes a cookie called Grasshoppers that are identical to Thin Mints. Same texture, same shape, same nutritional stats, same taste – and they’re usually really inexpensive when they’re on sale.
Thin Mints are the Girl Scouts’ best selling cookies – although Samoas, Do-si-dos and Tagalongs have their fans, too – when they have their annual cookie sale. Even though they’re a wonderfully tasty combination of mint, chocolate and crispiness, there are a couple of good reasons not to buy them no matter how tempting they seem. First, only a small portion of the cookie sales go to the troops, and as the prices rise, the cookies themselves shrink. I’d rather donate to my local chapter and know where the money is going. Second, the cookies are still made with partially hydrogenated oils, which means that they contain trans fats despite the fact that the boxes proudly proclaim “zero trans fats per serving!” Eat two servings, and those trans fats will start to add up.
I’d much rather make my own. These crispy cookies are easy to make at home and taste even better than the “real” thing. The dough is made in advance, rolled into a log and chilled. This allows the cookies to be sliced off easily into rounds so there is no need to fiddle with a cookie cutter.
Once baked, they are dipped into a dark chocolate coating. I used Guittard chocolate for this batch and would definitely recommend getting a good quality dark chocolate to work with, starting with a bar and chopping it up. Semisweet chocolate – by which I mean chocolate chips – will work pretty well, too, although you might need to add an extra tablespoon of butter if your chocolate doesn’t get thin enough to ensure a thin cookie coating.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for several days, but like “real” Girl Scout cookies, they taste great when frozen and will last for weeks – if not longer – in the freezer.