I couldn’t resist this recipe. The promise is so great – that you can make your own thin mints in fifteen minutes without any baking. It sounds too good to be true, but at its core there’s an ingenious trick.
If the sleight of hand worked, it would be amazing. And if it didn’t work, I would still be left with chocolate-covered Ritz crackers, and how could that be bad?
Well, I needn’t have worried because — eureka! It works! Add this to your list of Important Things To Know: coating Ritz crackers in chocolate and peppermint extract gives you a crazy thin mint doppelgänger. They do not taste like crackers. Except for the fact that the inner “cookie” is white rather than brown, I don’t think I ever would have guessed something was amiss.
I pondered this, as one is wont to do while eating an entire roll of thin mints at the kitchen counter. The crunch — yes, the crunch was perfect. The flavor was indistinguishable. And so here I am with one more dessert recipe made from a classic cracker…maybe that’s a blog within itself.
I grant you that these are not technically “homemade” and they do have some rather not-so-wholesome ingredients in them, as packaged foods do. And yes, it’s possible to make your own thin mints from scratch without any partially hydrogenated anything.
But when a shortcut like this comes along, it’s really too good to pass up.
Do It Yourself Thin Mints
This recipe comes from the website Averie Cooks and was originally inspired by a recipe from Kraft. Averie’s website is fun — she has a lot of baking recipes with creative tricks and shortcuts behind them. I followed her recipe except I used vegetable oil rather than shortening and I used a double boiler instead of a microwave (see notes on this below).
- 24 Ritz-type crackers (I used the generic Whole Foods kind, because I’m classy like that)
- 1 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or other mint extract)
1. Prepare a baking sheet covered in parchment paper next to your stove.
2. For your first time doing this, I recommend splitting your chocolate chips into two 1/2 cup batches, rather than trying to melt them all at once. This way, if you burn or otherwise mess up the melted chocolate, you can just start over and you haven’t wasted too much.
3. Put the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the bowl of your double boiler. If you don’t have one, rig up your own using a metal bowl and a pot like I did, below. Add a couple of inches of water to the pot, just enough so that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Turn the heat on medium. When the water boils, the steam will transfer the heat to the bowl and melt the chocolate without scorching it. (For information on microwaving instead, see note below).
4. As the chocolate chips start to glisten and look melty, add about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Stir until the chocolate is smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more oil. Taste a little bit (careful, it’s hot) and add more peppermint extract if you like — but only add a little bit at a time because boy it’s potent.
5. Turn the heat down to low. Drop one cracker in the chocolate. Using a fork to hold it steady, spread the chocolate over both sides of the cracker with a wooden spoon. Gently lift it out of the chocolate with the fork and let the excess drip off. You can use the wooden spoon to create a smooth finish. Put the cracker on the parchment paper to cool.
6. Repeat until you’re out of chocolate, then melt the second batch and start again. Once you’re finished, put the tray in the fridge or the freezer to cool. Frozen thin mints are the best.
Note on microwaves: You can melt the chocolate in the microwave by putting it in an appropriate bowl and cooking it on high for one minute, and then blasting it in 10-15 second bursts to get the consistency you want. However, I prefer the double boiler because you can keep the heat on low and the chocolate will stay melted while you dip the crackers. With the microwave, the chocolate will start to harden almost immediately, and it’s easier to accidentally burn it.
Note on oil/shortening/butter: When I first tried this, I was using butter rather than vegetable oil. That didn’t work so well. I couldn’t get the chocolate liquidy enough to coat the cracker. You can see the difference below between too-thick chocolate (on the left) and better, thinner chocolate on the right.