Editor's Note: As we reported in Saturday’s edition of SV Weekend, Food Editor Grace Whitten is retiring after nearly 12 years with Sauk Valley Media and 40 years as a journalist. This is Grace’s last “Dash of Grace” piece.
Sliders are everywhere now, those tiny slippery little hamburgers, those little sandwiches that slide down your throat right into your tummy with no effort at all.
Sliders started in the form of hamburgers, small and easy to eat. At least that was the idea the first time I saw them.
Now just about any food, mostly bite-sized, is referred to as a slider.
They are easy to make; just find something you like and make a small version of it.
The chocolate/strawberry slider was devised by my daughter, who thought it would be a good summer treat. It was not as easy as it looks. Well, it was easy enough to imagine and looked easy enough to make, but it kept melting at crucial points, and was not easy to work with when it was melty.
When my friend Diane and I finally, after all morning of working with the cookies, the ice cream and the chocolate cookies, got them together, they were absolutely cute, small and delicate cakes, fun to eat and tasty.
So, have patience and enjoy.
Chocolate/ Strawberry/ Mint Sliders
The wafer cookies, covered in chocolate mint in this recipe, begin with a Girl Scouts cookie copycat recipe from the blog Katrina’s Kitchen.
Chocolate wafer cookie
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1˝ cups flour
Chocolate peppermint coating: 1 package mint dark chocolate candy melts – or 1 pound of good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped.
Peppermint extract to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
In a mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue to cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple times, if necessary. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy, resembling a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking but still a bit crumbly. Turn out the dough onto a clean counter, gather it into a ball, and knead it together into a nice, smooth mass. Divide the dough into two pieces, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.
Roll out and bake: Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough out really thin, about 1⁄8-inch. These are called thin mints, after all. You can either roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or dust your counter and rolling pin with a bit of flour and do it that way. If the dough is too firm to roll, you can microwave it for 5 seconds. Cut out cookies and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the peppermint coating: Meanwhile, prepare your chocolate coating. Using a double boiler, slowly melt the chocolate, stir.
Finishing the cookies
Using a fork, gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the chocolate coating. Flip to coat all sides. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan to drain any extra chocolate off the cookie. You are after a thin, even coating of chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set. Stir occasionally until it is glossy and smooth. You can add 1 tablespoon of shortening if your chocolate is too thick. Alternatively, use a microwave in short 15- to 20-second bursts to melt the chocolate. Stir in the peppermint extract if you don’t have the mint candy melt.
Making the Sliders
Smash or chop a small package of fresh strawberries, about a dozen, depending how many you are making. Someone will always eat the leftovers. Mix the strawberries with about a quart of vanilla ice cream. Make the ice cream into balls before starting the cookies and keep the ice cream balls in the freezer so they will be frozen nicely to make the sliders. Save any extra cookies and enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate. Make sure the cookies are very cold when you begin the last step. Take the ice cream balls and the cookies out of the freezer, a few at a time, and make the little sliders. Just make a little sandwich with the cookies and the ice cream balls. Squeeze the cookies together a little bit and place them in the freezer until they are nice and firm again.
If you want something easier, here is a quick one for the wafers:
Homemade Thin Mints
1 bag (12 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 box chocolate wafer cookies
Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring after each time, until melted. Stir in peppermint extract. Dip or spread melted chocolate on wafer cookies. Cool completely on a wire rack.