May 16, 2019
This is about...
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        I WAS A GIRL SCOUT, even an unwilling attendee at girl scout camp for a few harrowing summers in my early teens. I went on 'PRIMITIVE" CAMPING TRIPS, MADE CAMPFIRES AND CANOED DOWN THE DELAWARE RIVER SLEEPING UNDER "LEAN-TO" METAL CANOES, even once in a thunderstorm when I was eleven--I was sure I was GONNA DIE. Unlike those summers, the girl scouts school year activities were much more tolerable, cooking and bringing food to seniors, bowling, making crafts.
        So by now you've figured out that I was a girl scout. And OUR PRIMARY SCOUTING ACTIVITY that happened without fail every spring WAS SELLING THOSE GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. The goal was to sell the most, which I never did. That honor always went to the scout who had a parent with the most co-workers to sell to. But since it was "required" that you buy at least a box when a girl scout rang your bell in your neighborhood, everyone in my troop still sold a lot.
        My favorite was hands down the thin mints. In their distinctive emerald green cardboard box with the girl scout insignia, THEY WERE, AND STILL ARE, BEYOND ADDICTIVE. Trying not to put away a whole sleeve, half a box, at one sitting is still an exercise in failed willpower. My remedy is to never have them set foot in the house. But even that can be a futile effort.
        Nothing will ever replace them. I'm figuring that all of the bad stuff in them adds to their deliciousness. So, trying to exactly duplicate them, again is an exercise in futility. BUT THIS VERSION COMES REALLY CLOSE, AND IS A FUN ALTERNATIVE THAT IS WAY MORE HEALTHY FOR YOU. It's got that crispy, minty, chocolatey thing going on, as well as being vegan, gluten and dairy free. BUT HERE'S THE KICKER. THE ORIGINAL THIN MINTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VEGAN!! WHO KNEW! I, for one, being too busy eating them, never thought to look at the ingredients on the side of the box.
        So if you don't want to wait a whole year for your local girl scout to ring your doorbell, make these. HAPPY GIRL SCOUT COOKIE-ING!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Don't have oat flour? You can make your own, just whizz quick oats in a food processor until it's finely ground.
2. Make sure to roll the dough out uniformly, 1/8th inch thick, so they bake evenly. I have a rolling pin that is specially designed to roll out an even 1/8th inch. There are also inexpensive rings that can be placed on each end of the pin to insure an even thickness. Or, just come as close as you can.
3. Peppermint extract can be strong. Start with my amount in the liquid mix, taste and add more if you like.
4. This dough is easiest rolled out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Once it's rolled out, it's easy to pull off the top sheet, cut out the cookies and peel them off of the bottom sheet.
5. Don't overbake! Because these are chocolate, it's hard to tell by eye when they are done---you can easily burn them. They will crisp up as they cool.
6. Although you can keep them stored at room temperature, they're best straight out of the fridge.


For the cookies:
1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
1/4 cup oat flour
3 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder, I like Valrhona
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
3 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, or more if you like it very minty
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the coating:
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 18 oz.
1 Tablespoon flavorless oil, I like safflower
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Make the cookies:
        Place 2 racks, evenly spaced in the oven. and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper.
        In a medium size bowl, add the almond and oat flours, cocoa powder, coconut sugar and salt and baking soda. Stir until well combined, and no lumps remain. Set aside.
        In a small bowl, add the almond butter, maple syrup, peppermint and vanilla extracts. Combine well.
        Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir until it comes together. It may be dry and crumbly at first. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. At this point you can immediately roll it out, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to a day.
        Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap, 1/8th inch thick, making sure that they are all the same. Using a 2 inch round cutter, stamp out as many as you can. You will be able to easily remove the cookies from the bottom sheet of plastic wrap, by lifting up the cookie and pulling back the plastic wrap. You can gather up the scraps and re-roll cookies as well. You should have about 36 cookies, 18 to a pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through the baking time, and cool completely before coating them.

Make the coating:
        In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the chips, oil and peppermint extract. Over very low heat, stirring constantly, combine until smooth. Alternatively, you could add the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and stir every 30 seconds until almost melted. Then stirring until completely smooth. Taste the mixture. If you like, you can add in more peppermint extract to taste.

To coat the cookies:
        Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet or flat surface. Use a fork or your fingers ( if you wear disposable gloves, it will be way less messy), place one cookie, top side down, in the bowl of chocolate and flip it over until coated. Drag the top and then the bottom of the cookie gently across the side of the pot or bowl to remove any excess, and place on the parchment. It's a pretty messy but fun job. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until set.
        Immediately peel the cookies off the parchment. If you wait, and the chocolate softens to room temperature, they will be harder to remove. If that happens, just re-chill them. And even though they can be stored at room temperature, they will keep their shine and crispy texture best when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.       YUM!
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