Girl Scout cookies with a twist

Birthday celebration uses treats in variety of dishes

October 31, 2007|By Brad Schleicher | Brad Schleicher,Sun reporter

A recent request must have had seven local chefs (one a Food Network star) feeling as if they had been thrust into an episode of Top Chef.

The challenge? Use any combination of Girl Scout cookies to create a dish to be served at "It's Showtime," an event celebrating the 45th birthday of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and honoring the Baltimore area Girl Scout troops with the most cookie pre-orders.

Ellen Lowe, the group's director of annual giving and special events, said that featuring food that included the cookies would be a great way to complement such an event.

"A lot of people who buy the cookies often have a lot left over," says Lowe. "This event is a good way to demonstrate that the cookies can be recycled to create something great."

All of the chefs were sent boxes filled with different cookies to choose from to create their dishes. Each chef was connected with the Girl Scouts, had family members who were involved or had been one during her youth.

Chef Nancy Longo of Pierpoint Restaurant, who created a torte with Tagalongs (a peanut butter and chocolate-covered cookie) was a Girl Scout as a child and actually had her first culinary experience cooking at Girl Scout summer camps and retreats in Conowingo.

"My group leader was head of food at Conowingo during the mid '70s," she said. "It was my start in the culinary world."

Last Thursday evening, the chefs readied their dishes in the lobby for 400 guests as the VIP scouts arrived at Center Stage via stretch limousines and a Hummer, and were greeted with cheers and applause.

While most of the chefs chose to highlight the sweetness of the Girl Scout cookies, two took a different route, offering dishes that balanced the cookie's sweetness with a few savory ingredients.

Chef Adam Bowman, a sous-chef at Wegmans Food Market in Hunt Valley, went that way.

Bowman remembers cooking some "dough on a stick," as a member of the Boy Scouts of America during middle school. But it was his background in Asian fusion cooking that inspired him to create a chicken satay encrusted with Samoas (a chocolate, coconut and caramel cookie) and a dipping sauce flavored with Do-Si-Dos (peanut-butter-sandwich cookies.)

"I brainstormed and, like most people, I saw dessert," he says. "So I did some more thinking and came up with something a little bit different."

The Rev. Edward G. Robinson of the Agape House, a church, food pantry and shelter in West Baltimore, also went savory. He prepared two casseroles - one using chicken with Trefoil shortbread cookies, the other sweet potatoes and Samoas. The recipes for his dishes were selected by Lowe from a list of recipes provided by Little Brownie Bakers, one of the two official producers of the Girl Scout cookies.

"We wanted to keep things different," says Lowe when asked about the choice. "If we included more dishes with chicken, we figured the kids would approve."

The sweet dishes were varied, including apple and Do-Si-Do peanut-butter cupcakes, a peach-and-blueberry Trefoil shortbread cookie crumble and even a super-decadent crepe using the Samoa, All About and Lemon Chalet cookies. Duff Goldman, star of Food Network's Ace of Cakes and owner of Charm City Cakes, was asked to design and bake a cake to commemorate the event.

Goldman wanted to make the cookies the main attraction. He and his staff made a four-tiered cake, decorating each tier with neatly placed Lemon Chalet flowers, Thin Mints, All Abouts and Samoas that hung from metal wires. He also created seven sheet cakes covered with buttercream frosting and featuring creamy fillings made from Thin Mint, Samoa, Do-Si-Do, Trefoil and Tagalongs.

"It was a great opportunity to do something for such a good cause and to see what we could do with something as common as the Girl Scout cookies," Goldman said. "It's like, here are some cookies - let's see what you can do with them."

Samoa-Encrusted Chicken Satay With Do-Si-Dos Dipping Sauce

Makes 12 skewers and 1 cup of dipping sauce

6 Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 large boneless chicken breasts

12 wooden skewers soaked in water

10 Do-Si-Dos Girl Scout Cookies

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sriracha chile sauce

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 ounce soy sauce

For the chicken satay: Place the Samoas and panko bread crumbs into a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Set aside.

Cut each chicken breast into 6 long strips and coat with the cookie-and-panko-bread-crumb mixture. Run a wooden skewer through each of the coated chicken strips and place on a foiled-lined baking tray. Bake at 350 degrees until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

For dipping sauce, place the Do-Si-Dos cookies in a food processor or blender and pulse. Mix together the sesame oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, rice-wine vinegar, sriracha chile sauce, white pepper and soy sauce. Add to the cookies and blend until smooth.

Courtesy of chef Adam Bowman of Wegmans Food Market

Per skewer with dipping sauce: 137 calories, 6 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, trace fiber, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium

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