Cooks Exchange

Girl Scout cookies inspire decadent desserts

Girl Scout cookies can be used to make delicious desserts, such as a cheesecake.
Girl Scout cookies can be used to make delicious desserts, such as a cheesecake. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Temptation is all around. It is in front of supermarkets, craft stores and more and comes around yearly.

Yes, Girl Scout cookie time is here, and those Thin Mints are addictive. They cost more these days, but does that deter a purchase? As storybook character Pete the Cat would say, “Oh, Heavens no!”

Once when Elyssa was a Brownie, I was cookie chairwoman. My living room looked like a storage warehouse for Girl Scout cookies. Temptation? Of course. It was an experience I did not repeat.

Today, I have no Girl Scout in my home. Elyssa is grown, and Lilly’s school doesn’t have a Girl Scout program. One would think I would be safe. Not hardly.

Saturday, we took Lilly to a make-it-take-it event at an arts and crafts store. Who were the first persons to greet us? You guessed it; Girl Scouts with Thin Mints. My daughter’s passion are Samoas just like her late dad. After Lilly’s class, two boxes of our favorite cookies went home with us.

My daughter has her Samoas, and I my Thin Mints. Lilly likes them both, but looking at the dwindling box of Thin Mints, I think she prefers the minty chocolate to coconut and chocolate.

Instead of eating a whole box of cookies, why not turn those cookies into a dessert? I share two favorites that I have found through the years.

For years, professional and home chefs have concocted desserts that have the same flavors that the Girl Scout cookies have. In 2018, the chefs at the Cooking Channel created Grasshopper Icebox Cake Stacks that taste like Thin Mints. These are easy to do, but the waiting is not. They require refrigeration time of about 12 hours.

This recipe reminded me of a woman who bought 30 boxes of cookies from Elyssa when I was cookie chairman. I couldn’t believe that sale. She said that she put them in the freezer and would bring them out for a special treat or to make a dessert.

In 2000, Girl Scouts had a cookie dessert recipe competition in Cheektowaga, New York. The third-place finisher, Amada Usen of Buffalo, New York, turned Samoas into a decadent cheesecake. I share this one because my daughter’s favorite dessert is cheesecake and Samoas are her favorite Girl Scout cookie.

GIVE ME SAMOA CHEESECAKE

1 box of Girl Scout Cookie Samoas

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/4 pounds of chocolate chips

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups angel flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to the bottom third of the oven. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Place over high heat, swirling the pan as the sugar begins to turn amber. This will take about 5 minutes.

When the sugar is caramel colored (but not burned), remove from heat and add half of the 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Be careful, the mixture will boil up. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream and swirl pan. Reserve caramel in refrigerator.

Chop 1 box of Samoas in the food processor, and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 5 minutes. Cream cheese at low speed.

While cheese is creaming, melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring frequently. Pour about 4 ounces of chocolate into the crust and spread the edges with the back of a spoon. Leave about 1/4 inch bare at the edges and pop it into the freezer to firm up. The chocolate will keep the crust from getting soggy in the oven.

Heat 1/2 cup cream in a small saucepan. Strain cocoa powder and salt into pan and bring to a boil. Whish smooth and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat, and add remaining cup of heavy cream.

Add 1 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the cheese and mix until smooth. Add the remaining pound of chocolate and immediately begin adding heavy cream mixture. Scrape bowl and beaters and mix well. Add coconut. Add vanilla and eggs and mix only until combined.

Remove springform pan from freezer and wrap bottom heavy duty aluminum foil to make it watertight. Set pan into a larger pan with side. The bottom of a broiler pan works well for this. Pour half of batter into the pan. Spoon some caramel onto the batter and swirl with the tip of a paring knife to make a design. Slowly pour remaining batter into pan.

Place pans in oven, and pour water about 3/4 inch up sides of pan. Be careful that the height of the water does not exceed the height of the aluminum foil. Any leftover caramel can be used as a sauce for the cheesecake.

Bake 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven for another hour. Remove cake from the oven and let cool at room temperature. Remove side of pan by running the tip of a hot, wet paring knife around the sides.

Refrigerate overnight. Cut with a hot, dry knife, cleaning the blade after each cut. Serves 14.

– Created by Amada Usen

GRASSHOPPER ICEBOX CAKE STACKS

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon pure mint extract

1 to 2 drops green food coloring, optional

30 chocolate wafer cookies

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

Fine salt

Sift the confectioners’ sugar through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Add the heavy cream, mint extract and green food coloring if using. Beat with electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes.

Lay out 6 cookies on a large flat plate or baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Put 1 heaping tablespoon of the mint cream onto each cookie. Repeat to make 3 more layers or cookie and mint cream, lightly pressing down between each layer so that the cream just comes to the edge of the cookies. Top each cake with 1 last cookie.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, carefully, transfer the cakes to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Combine the chocolate, shortening and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until melted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool just slightly. It is ready to use when the chocolate is no longer hot but is still melted.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate on top of each icebox cake (use any of the excess chocolate coating that drips onto the baking sheet). Freeze the icebox cakes to set the chocolate, about 10 minutes. Transfer each cake to a plate and serve.

– Recipe from Cooking Channel

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.
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