Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ritz Cracker Thin Mint Cookies

Thin Mint Cookies made with Ritz crackers
Thin Mint Cookies made with Ritz crackers

Ritz Cracker Thin Mint Cookies

Okay. I'm just gonna go ahead and warn ya up front. If you are a fan of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, I'm guessing you'll like these too, and well, I will not be held responsible for your inability to stop eating these once you start. It will be difficult.

I've seen a variety of recipes for this cookie floating around the internet and this is my version of them. Oh my goodness, I fell in love. Recipes out there use a variety of chocolate coatings - including bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, Andes chocolates (though that seems a bit pricey to me) and some have used various combination of the above. I chose to use something totally different. Imagine that.

I used chocolate almond bark. First, because I happened to have some leftover from the holidays that I needed to use up in my annual and oft ongoing 'Spring Clean Clear the Pantry and Use it Up' effort, and second, because I figured with a Ritz cracker the almond bark would probably be easier to work with. {Hissy Fit Warning} Yes, I know it's not real cocoa butter chocolate, and that's perfectly okay with me for this. I think I was right, but use whatever chocolate you prefer. The brand I used is Plymouth Pantry, found right on the confectionery shelf at any Walmart. Six squares weighed out to be about 12 ounces, covering about 1 and 1/2 sleeves of Ritz crackers. Because packaging has shrunk the past couple of years since I wrote this recipe, you may need a few more crackers, so plan on two packages.

You can melt the almond bark in the microwave of course, but for this recipe, you'll need to keep it warm and pliable as you work through the crackers, so the best method in my opinion is a double boiler {affil link} or simply a bowl on top of a saucepan with a bit of boiling water in the bottom pot. Tracy from over on the Facebook page, suggested using one of those tiny crockpots that are designed for keeping dips warm.

I did see that someone had used Nilla wafers, and someone else used the Nabisco Famous chocolate wafers, so you may want to experiment with your favorite cracker or cookie. Personally, I found the Ritz crackers to be just right in the end. You will need to specifically use peppermint extract, rather than spearmint extract though. I used 1/2 a teaspoon of the extract and thought that was just right, but of course, adjust that to your own taste.

I also stuck the sheet pans in the freezer while the chocolate was melting. The chilled sheet helps to set the chocolate a bit better. On the third tray of cookies, I reused the first tray without refreezing it, and I think that using the ice cold pans made them set much smoother, and faster, on the bottoms.

If you're going to be fooling with a lot of candies and chocolates and such, you may want to invest in a nice, chocolate dipping tool set, {affil link} which would probably make your life much easier, but at this point in my life, I haven't really pursued chocolate making, so I just used a pair of locking tongs{affil link} one of my personal favorite kitchen tools and that worked fine for me.

I dropped the cracker in top up, because I wanted it to set top down. Then, using the tongs, swish it around a bit to coat it really well on the bottom.

Then flip it over and swish to coat the other side nice and thick. Once you have it coated, lift it up with the tongs and holding it over the bowl, let the excess chocolate drip off, tapping the tongs against the side of the bowl. I found this helped to smooth the chocolate surface.

Transfer the cookies to the sheet pan with the top down and let them set. If you want to add embellishments with sprinkles or sugars and such, now's the time! Here's where it would be great to get the kids and grandkids involved to have an extra hand to help with the dipping or decorating. I wanted mine pure and plain, but just a bit of finely crushed peppermints sprinkled on top, especially for Christmas, or other special holiday sprinkles or sugars would be a great idea. I'm thinking a very tiny sprinkle of a finishing salt like a fleur de sel {affil link}  would also be excellent. Otherwise, just allow them to set, then transfer them to a covered container, and try not to eat too many of them at once. Yeah, good luck with that!

Recipe: Ritz Cracker Thin Mint Cookies

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 12 ounces of chocolate almond bark (about 6 squares)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 1-1/2 to 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers
  • Finely crushed peppermints, sanding sugars, sprinkles or other cookie decor, optional

Line 2 or 3 sheet pans with wax paper and place into the freezer to chill pans. This is optional, but a well chilled pan will help the chocolate to set better. Break up the chocolate to just a rough chop and place into the top of a double boiler. Melt the chocolate, stirring regularly, until smooth. Quickly stir in the peppermint extract and mix well to fully incorporate. Hold the chocolate over a low simmer and give it a stir occasionally.

Remove one pan from the freezer. Drop a cracker into the melted chocolate with the top side up and using a pair of tongs or a dipping tool {affil link} , swish the cracker around in the chocolate, then turn it over and swish it around again. Hold the cracker up and tap the tongs on the side of the pot, allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into the pot. Transfer the cookie to the wax paper, top side down, and sprinkle on any decorations, while they are wet. This is where another helper comes in handy.
When ready to move on to the next sheet, retrieve the other pan from the freezer and continue the process. Let cookies set completely and transfer to a closed container for storing.

Tip: If you don't have a double boiler, use a saucepan filled with just about an inch of water, and place a glass bowl on top of the saucepan as a substitute. The water should not touch the bottom of the glass bowl. A little condensation can ruin chocolate! Can also use a mini crockpot on low to keep the chocolate melted. If you don't have a third sheetcake pan, by the time you'll need it, the first set of cookies should be fairly set. Just slide the wax paper off of the first pan, cookies and all, add another sheet of wax paper and stick the pan in the freezer when you start on the second pan.

Variation: Make peanut butter sandwich cookies with the Ritz crackers, by placing peanut butter in the middle of two Ritz cracker. Then dip the whole sandwich into the melted chocolate almond bark.


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Posted by on March 14, 2010
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