I hate the way it feels on my tongue — acidic and bitter like an out of season orange. I hate the way it sounds when someone else says it out loud as way of explaining why they can’t eat carbs, cheese, or anything remotely fun at all. And I hate the negative connotations that go along with the noxious word — deprivation, hunger, rice cakes.
So even when my jeans are tight, and I feel like my stomach resembles that of a certain pokeably-soft doughboy, I refuse to do it.
I love food too much to deny myself the joy of moderately indulging in my favorite treats. I can’t imagine giving up freshly buttered warm bread roll, I can’t fathom making an omelet with only the whites, and I would rather live a life with elephant thighs than carry on without chocolate…
…and the requisite frothy coffee beverage to go with it, of course.
I don’t want to be a person who saves her indulgences for special occasions — holidays, birthdays, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding. I believe that every day is worthy of at least a small treat, especially when it comes to cappuccinos and these chocolate-covered mint cookies that some short green-clad girls refer to as “Thin Mints.”
I’ve always had a weakness for the slender stackable cookies. When I was younger, because they were made of sugar and were more palatable than a pixie stick, and today, because they are, again, made of sugar, and their relatively diminutive size makes them less of a calamity to my supposed waistline.
Even if I do elect to eat a half dozen at a time.
But Thin Mints are only available during a few short months of the year — hardly acceptable for those everyday indulgences of mine. So I do what any reasonable anti-dieter would do — I make them from scratch so I can maintain a constant supply for my afternoon coffee break with my Nescafé Dolce Gusto machine.
Because the batter needs to be refrigerated for at least a couple hours, sliced into thin rounds, then baked, cooled and dipped in bittersweet chocolate, the recipe is a bit more time-consuming and labor intensive than the favorite cookie child, chocolate chip. In my mind, however, the results and yield — 72 cookies — make it worth the extra effort. It also makes them taste all the more special when I sit down to savor one with a Nescafé Cappuccino Skinny.
The process of making my 50-calorie, foamy afternoon interlude couldn’t be simpler in comparison. I turn my Nescafé Dolce Gusto machine on, wait for the green light, insert the milk capsule, then the coffee capsule, and stand back while the cappuccino magic happens.
The frothy warm beverage is deceptively decadent for something that’s labeled “skinny.” The creamy topping slides across the tongue like liquid silk, and the rich and full-bodied coffee easily stands up to the cookie’s assertive bittersweet chocolate coating and snappy cocoa peppermint center.
Taken together, the cappuccino and cookie are the perfect way to not break that nonexistent diet of mine.
Chocolate-Covered Chocolate-Mint Cookies aka “Thin Mints”
Lightly adapted from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¼ cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large egg yolks
1½ teaspoon peppermint oil
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ pounds bittersweet chocolate
Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the egg yolks, peppermint oil, and vanilla and pulse until a dough forms on the blades of the food processor.
Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a 2-inch-thick log. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut into ¼-inch-thick disks and arrange ½-inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Switch the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotate from front to back and continue to bake for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the cookies are light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on racks. Make sure to let the baking sheets cool between batches. Do not handle the cookies until they are cool, or they’ll break; they’re very delicate.
Melt and temper the bittersweet chocolate. Keep the chocolate warm while you dip the cookies.
Place a sheet pan upside down on your work surface, next to the melted chocolate. Cover with parchment paper. Dip the cookies one by one in the chocolate, using a fork to turn them over and then lift them out of the chocolate. It helps to tilt the bowl forward by leaning it on a folded kitchen towel.
Set the dipped cookies on the parchment, beginning at the far end so you don’t drip chocolate on other cookies when you set them down. Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.