Growing up in Canada, I was a part of that rite of passage common for little girls in North America. I was a Brownie, and then I was a Girl Guide. Yes, I said “Guide” and not “Scout”, because that’s what we called it up there in the great white north. Apart from the name, and perhaps the uniform, it is essentially the same organization, providing the same activities and fostering the same core values. Every week in my little blue uniform, I would be dropped off at some local church basement, led through various songs and encouraged to work on my various badges. And every year we were charged with the task of selling cookies, just like little girls in America.
But here’s where there is a glaring difference. A huge difference. A staggering difference. We only sold one sort of cookie. Or rather, two sorts, chocolate and vanilla, contained in the same box. They were sandwich cookies, and they were boring. People bought them from us because we were sweet little girls and they felt that they had to, not because the cookies were any good. After I moved to the US, I was taken aback by how excited people were by the impending Girl Scout cookie season. It was as if I was on the other side of a huge cultural divide, wondering if Americans were soft in the head for getting so worked up about boring sandwich cookies. Imagine, then, my surprise and delight at discovering the vast array of cookies that the Girl Scouts had to offer. And also my infinite sorrow that as a child, I was sent out into the world to peddle boring sandwich cookies to my kind neighbours when I could have been enticing them with Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalogs. It’s just not right. Poor little Canadian girl guides.
This year, we made it through Girl Scout cookie season relatively unscathed, my husband purchasing a single box of Thin Mints. For which he apologized profusely, claiming that the little girls and their mothers had looked at him so beseechingly, he had to buy something. But I was okay with it, because I actually already had a plan to create a low carb, gluten free version of my own. Thin mints aren’t my favourite Girl Scout cookie, that honour belongs to the caramel-laced, coconut-crusted Samoa. But mint and chocolate is always a good combination in my books and I was pretty sure I could make a decent approximation from diabetic-friendly ingredients.
The Results: I may risk offending some die-hard Girl Scout cookie fans when I say this, but I honestly think my version is as good as, or better than, the original. For one thing, they taste a far sight fresher, and for another, they contain no hydrogenated anything. They are crisp and chocolatey and minty, just ast they should be. They are the perfect low-carb treat to help diabetics and other low carbers not feel deprived. And they were remarkably easy to make! Go ahead and buy some Girl Scout cookies to support the organization…and then feed them to someone else while you enjoy your own homemade, better-for-you version.
Homemade Thin Mints
1 3/4 cups almond flour
1/3 cup cocao powder
3 tbsp granulated erythritol
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 drops stevia
1 tbsp butter
7 oz 85% cacao gluten-free chocolate bars
1 tsp peppermint extract
For the cookies, preheat the oven to 225F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cocao powder, erythritol, baking powder and salt. Add in egg, butter, vanilla and stevia and stir well until dough comes together.
Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness (I rolled mine very thin, about 1/8 inch thick). Lift off top piece of parchment and set aside. Using a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and lift gently. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet. Gather up scraps of dough and reroll until too little is left to roll out.
Bake cookies until firm, 40 minutes to an hour. Turn off oven and let cookies continue to crisp up.
For the coating, place a metal bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, not allowing the bowl to touch the water. Melt butter and chocolate together in the bowl, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract.
Dip cookies into chocolate, using two forks to turn over and fully coat cookie. Gently pass chocolate-coated cookie back and forth between forks to remove excess chocolate, then place on waxed paper to cool and set.
Makes about 40 cookies (if you roll out dough as thin as I did). Each cookie has a total of 3.2g of carbs but only 2.3g if you subtract erythritol. This carb count may change depending on what chocolate you use to coat the cookies. I use Lindt 85% cacao because it has the lowest number of carbs (and I like it!).