Hint o’ Mint Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (if using convection oven, reduce to 325 degrees)
  2. To make the cookie dough, cream the butter in a mixer until fluffy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mix on low-medium speed until thoroughly blended (use a spatula to scrape the bowl’s sides and ensure the butter and sugar are thoroughly mixed). Add the vanilla extract, salt and cacao powder to the butter/sugar mix and cream together at low-medium speed until all ingredients are well blended (it will resemble frosting). With the blender on low, gradually add in the pastry flour and mix until the flour is just incorporated. IMPORTANT: Do not overmix the dough. The flour should be mixed in until it is no longer powdery, but the mixer should be shut off when the dough still has a slightly crumbly consistency. This is what will give the cookie centers their hallmark crispy center once baked.
  3. On a clean counter or marble slab board, work the dough into a ball until it just reaches a smooth consistency (again, avoid overworking!). Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap or a zipped storage bag and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  4. Roll the chilled dough onto unfloured counter or baking slab, to a thin 1/8” or so (the thinner the better, although cookies thinner than 1/8” can be difficult to keep from breaking when coating with chocolate). I find it is easier to roll out half the dough ball at a time.
  5. Use a small, round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies (I wanted mine roughly the same size as traditional Thin Mints, so I improvised and used a 1 ¼-inch lid from a vitamin container as my “cookie cutter.” It worked great and didn’t cost a dime.).
  6. Carefully lift the cookies with a very thin spatula or knife, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet approximately one inch apart (these cookies don’t spread much, but you don’t want them to invade each other and ruin the circular shape, so give them some room).
  7. Bake on center rack for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tops are no longer doughy
  8. Allow to fully cool on wire racks (15 minutes or more)
  9. Prepare chocolate-peppermint coating: Melt the chocolate morsels on stove top over low heat (or place morsels in glass dish and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in-between until the chocolate is completely melted and velvety smooth).
  10. Add the peppermint to the melted chocolate, tasting as you go to ensure you reach the desired level of minty chocolatiness (I go a smidgen more than I think I need because I love mint and the cacao cookie can handle a bit more, in my opinion).
  11. Using a large, flat fork, place each cooled cookie on the tines and carefully dip into the chocolate-peppermint coating. Gently turn the cookie, so top/bottom/sides are coated equally, and use a butter knife to remove any excess (you want a smooth, even coating on all sides – not so thin that the cookie shows underneath but not so thick that the cookie is drowning in chocolate). Be prepared: this part can get a little messy, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
  12. Place the coated cookies on another parchment lined cookie sheet and transfer the sheet (uncovered) to the freezer. Note: I have a chest freezer, which affords me more space; however, if you are short on freezer space, you can freeze small batches in covered containers. Just be sure not to stack your coated cookies atop one another until the chocolate is fully chilled. Once all cookies are chilled, you can place them in a container, with each level topped with a sheet of parchment paper to help absorb moisture and keep cookies from sticking together).
  13. For the ultimate dessert, spear a cookie on top of a scoop of organic ice cream or dip one (or two…or three!) into a glass of vanilla-almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer).