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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our New Pet: Franny the Moose... and Healthy Thin Mint Recipe!

Sooo..... yesterday I told you about our moose visitor.
Honestly, I thought he would be long gone by now.

Well, ends up our "he" is a "she".
And she is perfectly happy in our neighbor's backyard.
In fact, my neighbor was told that she was pregnant...
which makes the situation a little different now since that means she might be locating a place to give birth to her baby.

Like in her BACKYARD!

...yet, as deathly afraid as I was of these creatures, I am now quite fond of this one.
I actually want to keep her.
I know I shouldn't have, but we (Andrew and I) have named her Franny.

Isn't she a cutie?

She actually stuck her head over the fence to say hi to Eli this morning.
Eli was too frightened to get too close, but they seem to be getting off to a good, neighborly start.
Which is good considering she has officially moved in.


Ok, enough about Franny.
She is here for a while...

But these yummy things might not be!
Thin Mint Cookies that is.

We did some baking today as well.
My friend and I were talking one day on our run when she told me her latest pregnancy cravings:
(yes she is still a great runner pregnant!)
They included things like Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Carbs and... girl scout cookies!

Especially Thin Mints.

And who DOESN'T like those crispy, yummy once-a-year delights??

So, after talking about them, I decide to try to make her some that don't make her feel too guilty about indulging, I start craving them too!
Sympathy cravings I suppose.

Healthy Vegan Thin Mints
(adapted from Chef Chloe's Vegan Thin Mints)


* 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)

*1 cup Xylitol (excellent sugar substitute)

* ½ cup cocoa powder

* ¼ teaspoon salt

* ¼ teaspoon baking soda

* ¾ cup coconut oil
* 3-4 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk
(I used regular milk)

*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Chocolate Coating

This Chocolate Coating recipe will coat half the cookies (about 32).
If you are baking off all of the dough, double this recipe.

*2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)

*1 tablespoon coconut oil
* ½ teaspoon peppermint extract

(Or, use Wilson's Dark Cocoa Baking chips for a shortcut)


To make the Cookies:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until combined.
Add oil, milk (use less at first), vanilla, and mint extract.
Pulse a few more times until the mixture comes together.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and knead it with your hands until it comes together and all the flour is incorporated.
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dough from refrigerator.
Roll a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches in between each ball.
Evenly flatten the dough with your fingertips so that it is about ¼ inch thick.
Bake for 12-14 minutes.
Let cool completely.
To make the Chocolate Coating:

Melt chocolate chips and oil in a double boiler or microwave.
Stir in the mint extract and mix until smooth.
Dip completely cooled cookies into the chocolate and remove with a fork, gently scrapping off excess chocolate using the side of the bowl.
Or, spread a thin layer of the chocolate on top of the cookies.
Place cookies on a parchment-lined plate or tray and refrigerate until chocolate coating sets.
Store in the refrigerator until serving.

Melt Wilson's chips however you prefer (microwave or stovetop).
Dip the cookies in the mix, following the same procedure as you would above.
This method does not require refrigeration....
but in my opinion, they are best served from the freezer.

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