Happy Ash Wednesday, everybody! Let us celebrate with a homemade batch of Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints, shall? For baby Jesus, of course.

Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & BeansToday is one of the most meaningful days of the year for me. The introductory day that ushers us into the Lenten season. Oh Lent. I heart Lent. I’m not really sure when and why Lent became such a special time for me, but it has become a tradition that I genuinely look forward to.

Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

Whenever I tell people this, they always respond, “But Cara, you’re not Catholic,” as if Catholics are the only one who get the pleasure of observing this beautiful tradition. But for me, Lent is not about religion. It’s not even about giving something up {though I do give something up every year}. Over the years it has grown to be much more meaningful to me.Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

Instead of holding my breath for 40 days, counting down the day I am able to re-incorporate whatever it is that I am abstaining from, I am slowly learning the discipline of awareness. Lent usually produces negative feelings for me which I tend to welcome during this time {maybe I am just a glutton for punishment?!} because I have learned that those negative feelings ultimately leads to an invitation to self-discovery and awareness.  Everything is fodder for the soul.

Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

In previous years, I have given up tanglibe, measurable things: One year it was watching television; another, shopping. This year, I am giving up something more abstract: the need to give something up. {Sometimes you just have to switch things up a bit, you know?} I will give you a minute to allow that one to soak in.

Gluten-free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

Sometimes the need for self-improvement is a part of my need for perfection–a way of not accepting me for me, but needing to change more in order to attain the unattainable. Every day will be an invitation to accept myself as I am, without judgment; without criticism. Just as I am. I think this might be my favorite Lent ever. This will also be the most difficult one, seeing that it will require me to constantly be aware of not judging myself. Something, at times, foreign for me.Gluten-Free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

Homemade Thin Mints Recipe

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Gluten, dairy, and egg free

(Adapted from the Baking Illustrated Icebox Cookie recipe).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 c. brown rice flour
  • 3/4 c. sorghum flour
  • 1/4 c. potato starch
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips, melted
  • 16 Tbs Earth Balance butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tb Ener-G egg replacer + 2 Tbs warm water, mixed until thickened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer. AVOID MIXING TOO MUCH–1 minute TOPS (if you beat for a longer amount of time, the cookies will flatten out because too much air has been added into the mix). Add melted chocolate chips and mix. Add Ener-G egg replacer and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flours, starches, cocoa, and salt completely.
  3. Add wet ingredients into dry mix bow and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Dough should not be sticky (if so, add 1 Tb of flour at a time until soft still, not sticky.
  4. Transfer 1/2 the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. With your hands, roll dough into a log that is 6″x2″. Smooth with hands. Wrap a piece of clear wrap around the dough and chill for 2+hours (i chilled my dough overnight and they were perfect. If you do not chill it long enough, the cookies will spread. You want them to stay in the same shape pre and post baking!) Do the same with the other 1/2 of the dough.
  5. Once dough is chilled long enough, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  6. Unroll the dough out of the plastic wrap and slice cookies with a sharp knife at 1/4-1/2″ thick slices (It is important to cut them on the thicker side so they don’t spread, rather keep their shape).

Gluten-Free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

For the anal-retentive {like myself}, you can always use a biscuit cutter to make your cookies perfectly round.

Gluten-Free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

    7.   Place 1/2 of the cookies a Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes (keep your eye on them at the 15 minute mark}. Allow to cool fully on the baking sheet. The cookies with toughen up and become crunchier the longer they sit.

For the chocolate coating:

  • 1 1/2 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 c. Dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp (or more to preference) peppermint oil {not peppermint extract}

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. At every 3o seconds, stop and stir, and the heat up again until the chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Add peppermint oil and stir until smooth.
  3. Dip each cookie into the bowl of chocolate and coat.
  4. Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
  5. Best if kept in fridge or freezer.

Gluten-Free Vegan Thin Mints - Fork & Beans

So is anyone else observing Lent as well? If so, what are you giving up? I’d love to hear all about it…