I don’t think there’s anyone in America who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies. They’re cheap, delicious, and only around for a few months each year. I was a Girl Scout for about 6 years, and my sister is currently in her 4th year, so Girl Scout cookies are not hard to find around my house during the first couple of months of the year.
The fan-favorite Thin Mint cookie is an addicting classic that has survived the test of time. Over 25% of all GS cookies sold are Thin Mints, and with a usual 8 cookie varieties per year, that’s a pretty significant chunk. Now, I love Thin Mints as much as the next normal person, but I got to thinking; what can I make with them? Is it possible to transform this goddess of a cookie that is a Thin Mint into something, dare I say, better than the original? Surely there is some way, and Google knew just the thing!
Contrary to my usual Google obsession, my mom actually found this recipe and sent it to me. It’s a good find, lemme tell ya, but there’s quite a few steps involved.
You start off my making the crust. It’s just crushed up Thin Mints, melted butter, a little sugar (which I think is unnecessary; the cookies are sweet enough), and a pinch of salt. The crust then needs to bake for about 7 or 8 minutes, just until it comes together into one piece. Make sure this is done a little ahead of time, simply because we’re making a cold pie, so putting the cold filling onto a hot crust is most definitely not a good idea.
Next up is the chocolate custard filling. A custard is essentially milk, eggs, and sugar cooked together. This particular custard is done by heating heavy cream in a sauce pan until it steams, then gradually pouring it over eggs and sugar. Make sure to whisk furiously, yes furiously, the entire time to ensure there’s no chunks of scrambled eggs, because ew. After the cream is all mixed, return the mixture to the saucepan and stir until thickened. Here’s where I can tell you what not to do, because I made the filling twice. The reason behind why I made it twice… Well. We’re getting there.
When you heat up the cream, make sure the heat on low and pull the pan off as soon as the cream starts steaming. If it’s too hot, the custard takes almost no time to thicken up and quickly gets overdone. The second time around, with the cream just hot enough to start cooking the eggs, the custard gradually thickened and I was able to take it off the heat at the perfect time. Once the custard is done, the melted chocolate is added. The first time ’round, when I somewhat overcooked the custard, it wasn’t smooth and silky; it had a graininess to it. As you can see, the chocolate custard on the left is perfectly shiny and smooth.
Now we get to the root of my Round 1 problem. This pie is, after all, a mint chocolate pie, so of course the recipe calls for peppermint extract to be added. Peppermint extract is notoriously strong, and the recipe called for a whole 1/2 a teaspoon. I added probably a 1/4 of a teaspoon, and it was just so bad. The entire kitchen smelled like artificial flavoring, and the filling that was supposed to be very yummy had an almost chemical after taste. After the extract, the recipe calls for whipped heavy cream to be folded in, so I figured the whipped cream would disperse the flavor. Much to my (and my taste testing family’s) despair, it didn’t change a thing. So, I made the executive decision to start anew, and I scooped the mega minty filling into the trash can. My amazing mum had to make a grocery run, but man… It was worth it.
For Round 2, I left the extract out all together. The only thing we could figure out is that the extract was old, and the water in it had evaporated, leaving extremely concentrated peppermint extract behind. This was a pretty good call; there’s enough mint in the crust for the whole pie.
Also, the recipe calls for bittersweet melted chocolate to be added to the custard, but I think semisweet would give the filling a better taste. I had to really compensate for the lack of sugar when I made the whipped cream that folds into the custard.
The second filling turned out beautifully! The only thing that needed to be tweaked was the amount of sugar. Now I know I said the sugar in the crust was unnecessary, and I still think it is. The filling should be the sweet part of a pie, not the crust. If you make the filling as the recipe describes, it’s quite bitter. The sweetened whipped cream made a major difference.
The pie is topped with more whipped cream and any remaining Thin Mints. I got a little fancy and piped whipped cream dollops around the edge, but that’s definitely unnecessary. Make it as beautiful or as messy as you like! Trust me, it’ll taste delicious either way. The pie is supposed to set after 2 hours in the fridge, but it was still really soft. I suggest freezing it, then letting it thaw just a little before serving. This dessert was so good! It’s a great way to use those Thin Mints you bought from the bright-eyed Girl Scouts in front of Walmart that you just need to stop eating. Make this pie and give it to a neighbor, or your mom, or your teacher, or your grandma, or whoever! Just try and save a slice for yourself. 🙂