I suppose there’s a reason they’re called Thin Mints. They’re about as thin as mint gets. Unless, of course, you count Andes, or those fancy Eight O’Clock dinner mints, or Listerine Breath Strips. Or Tic-Tacs. Or the promiscuous mint leaf itself, but perhaps she gets disqualified, because there’s surely no real mint in a Girl Scout cookie.
They’re devils, those cookies, in any event: Utterly unhealthy. Impossible to save, even in the freezer. Perhaps clinically addictive. Worse, I’m not entirely sure I support the organization that benefits. (I might. But I’m not sure.)
But thin? Besides the obvious caloric ramifications, they’re fat in every way: They’re fat in your pocket, when you’re skiing, when pulling one out on the chairlift makes you a hero. They’re fat in your mouth, when you stuff one in all at once, and they even leave a nice layer of fat on your tongue after you eat them. (Does anyone know what that silky, waxy aftertaste is?)
They also make me a big fat liar. I won’t buy any this year, I said, until the girl outside my local supermarket announced it was her last day selling. I caved. (What does this teach her?) I ate four standing outside my front door, straight from the box. I won’t eat any more today, I promised. But yikes, that was Friday afternoon, and I’ve gone through three sleeves.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call them Big Fat Liar Mints.
They make Jim lie, too. Last night he ate these brownies up, one after another, and I scolded him for having two. (Really, it was more like three, but he knew I was saving them for the friend who came into town today. She’s the one who introduced me to Thin Mints in the first place, all those years ago.) He said No, it wasn’t two, it was just one very big brownie, if you think creatively about it.
For the record, Thin Mints are no less attractive crushed and stirred into a rich, dense brownie batter that’s been tinted with peppermint (and made with whole wheat flour, but who’s the wiser?). They might make you fatter in this form, though.
I hope you saved a sleeve.
Fat Mint Brownies (PDF)
I made the original version of this recipe, from the October 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine, six times one summer for a chocoholic client, according to my notes on the tattered recipe. Somehow, though, I’d never tasted them myself. Now I understand why she loved them: Baked just until the top forms a thin, shattery crust over the moistest possible crumb, they’re deeply chocolaty and also happen to keep quite well. (I doubt that will be an issue for you.) This version, crunchy with crushed Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, relies on whole wheat flour for its bulk – the chocolate’s so dark, no one will notice.
TIME: 30 minutes active time
MAKES: About 12 servings
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 sleeve (5 ounces) Girl Scouts’ Thin Mint cookies, crushed into roughly 1/2” pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” square baking pan, line with wax paper, and butter paper.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When bubbles have subsided completely, remove from heat, add chocolate, and stir until smooth. Stir in peppermint extract, and set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together in a large bowl, then add chocolate mixture, whisking until uniform. Whisk in flour mixture until just combined, then fold in the crushed cookies. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and smooth batter into the edges of the pan.
Bake until top just begins to crack at the edges of the pan, about 35 minutes. Cool brownies completely, then invert, remove paper, and cut into squares.