Before it gets too hot to turn on your oven, try these cookies from Sarah Magid, recommended by Kate:
It took me several weeks after the grand opening to get myself to the new Cambridge Public Library, but on my first visit I stopped in my tracks to check out a selection of new books placed at the check-out desk. At the top of the display was Sarah Magid's Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look, a delightfully pink and pretty cookbook dedicated to organic pastries and baked goods. I checked it out, renewed it, checked it out again, and have enjoyed practically every recipe I've made.
Magid is both a baker -- special-occasion cakes are her specialty -- and a stylist, and the visual design of the book reflects a clean, feminine aesthetic that I find a pleasure to read and bake from. The recipes are appealing and almost universally successful, and she actually manages to make elaborate frosting and decorating techniques feel within reach (not that I've tackled them yet). For anyone who enjoys baking, values organic ingredients, or just enjoys thumbing through a pretty cookbook, Organic and Chic is a terrific bet.
One of the entertaining elements of Organic and Chic is a chapter dedicated to Magid's re-conceptions of traditional junky treats -- Twinkies, Oreos, etc. -- using organic ingredients. Among the recipes is this fabulous one, meant to invoke the classic Girl Scout Thin Mint.
Sarah Magid's Skinny Mints
Makes about 30 cookies, depending on cutter size
1. In a medium bowl, sift or simply stir together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until pale and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Switch to low speed, add the eggs -- one at a time -- and the vanilla. Beat until combined.
3. Keeping the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. When the mixing is done, scrape the dough to the center of the bowl to form a mound. Divide the dough in half and place each half on parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on top, and use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Place the paper/Silpat + dough on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge and remove the top layer of parchment paper. Roll the dough a bit thinner, and cut with your shape of choice (I used small hearts). The dough will soften quickly, so you may need to chill it from time to time.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes (approximately), until the cookies are firm but not brittle. Allow the cookies to cool completely (this is important) on wire wracks.
6. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan or double-bolier over low-medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat when almost completely melted, and then add the extract.
7. Dip the cookies into the chocolate while the chocolate is a warm liquid. Cover as much or as little of the cookie as you like. Allow the dipped cookies to cool on wax paper. Store in the fridge.
Image credits: book cover from Amazon.com; heart cookies from Kate.