You might say we have a little love affair going with Trader Joe's. (We even started another blog dedicated to our infatuation of all things Trader Joe's.) At the holidays, one of our favorites is the Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Star Cookies.
The tiny, crisp, chocolate peppermint shortbread cookies are enrobed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with white nonpareils. It wouldn't be hard to eat half the box in one sitting. Don't ask me how I know. I think they were one of the first products we reviewed in our weekly segment here.
The thing is, they sell out fast...and boy, is it a long wait until they come back to the store again.
I decided to try making a version and home, and they definitely live up to the original. While the cookies aren't quite as tiny in my version, you could make them that way if you had a cutter small enough. My cookies are still mini, coming in at 1.5 inches, and have that crunchy chocolate mint shortbread cookie surrounded by bittersweet chocolate.
The chocolate mint shortbread cookie dough comes together quickly with just a few ingredients. I used Dutch-process cocoa here to give the cookies that dark chocolate color like the Trader Joe's version.
Be sure to use PEPPERMINT extract, not mint.
Once the cookies are baked and cooled, it's time to coat them in chocolate. Dip the bottoms first, let that set, then pour more remaining chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with a smattering of nonpareils. Just enough to make them festive, but not too many.
The cookies need to set in the refrigerator. Once set, they can be brought to room temperature. Store in a container with a loosely fitted top to keep them crunchy, or just keep them in the fridge...I always like my Girl Scout Thin Mints best cold! They will soften as they sit, so try to devour them within a day if you like that crisp shortbread texture.
Copycat Trader Joe's Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Stars Recipe
1 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2-3 (10-ounce) packages bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat panggangan to 300. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder together. Set aside. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy. Beat in the extracts.
On low speed, mix in the flour/cocoa mixture until combined.
On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut with a small star cookie cutter. (I used a 1.5-inch, but you can use what you have.) Bake for 15 minutes or until baked through and crisp. Adjust time as needed depending on the size of cookie cutter. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place the chocolate chips in heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the pan of water. Dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies into the chocolate to thinly coat. Placed on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
Place the cookies onto wire racks set on rimmed cookie sheets. Spoon remaining melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies to coat completely. Sprinkle with nonpareils. Refrigerate until set, at least 15 minutes.
Once set, the cookies can be stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or at room temperature. If keeping in the refrigerator or counter, cover loosely. In a tightly covered container, they will soften more quickly. Before storing at room temperature, let the cookies come to room temperature in a single layer first, then place in a cookie jar.
The cookies are most crisp when eaten the same day.
Would you like to see more Copycat Trader Joe's recipes? Here's one for Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans. They're so good!