New Castle News

March 15, 2014

Culinary Conversation: Add Girl Scout cookies to your recipes

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Usually, this time of year, I have a secret stash in my freezer.

It doesn’t usually remain a secret for long, though.

But when the Girl Scout cookie shipments started arriving, this house had no deliveries. With all the kids in this neighborhood, there isn’t one Girl Scout among them. And I’m sad.

I definitely didn’t follow the Girl Scouts motto of being prepared.

Hopefully, you were lucky enough to stock up on boxfuls of the Samoas or do-si-dos.

What is the most popular Girl Scout cookie?

If you said thin mints, you are correct.

On the official Girl Scout cookie page, I learned that thin mints lead the pack by 25 percent.

I was always torn between that variety and the trefoils, which is the official name for shortbread cookies.

Now, there are so many more choices including cranberry citrus crisps, dulce de leche, lemonade and gluten-free chocolate chip shortbread.

If, for some reason, you are tired of just eating them out of the box — and how can that be possible? — today we include some recipes for using them in other ways.

The shortbread cookies make the perfect base for a lemon cheesecake. If you like, add strawberries for garnish. A photo I saw for the peanut butter icebox dessert looks sinfully decadent and the grasshopper pie uses thin mints.

You can duplicate those and the Tagalongs in your own kitchen.

Tell us your favorite Girl Scout cookie and why you like it. While you’re at it, share ways you have discovered to use the cookies.

You’ll earn an extra honorary badge if you share any recipes with Culinary Conversation.

Lemon Shortbread Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 325.

Crumble cookies into a food processor and pulse until finely ground. In a a medium bowl, toss 2 tablespoons lemon zest with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Add cookie crumbs and mix well. Butter sides of an 8-inch pan with removable rim and press cookie mixture onto bottom; bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.

Lower temperature to 275. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat goat cheese and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add remaining lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, orange zest, 3/4 cup sugar, sour cream and vanilla; beat well. Scrape bowl and add eggs; beat well.

Pour batter onto crust and bake about 1 hour or until set on the sides but still quite jiggly in the center and only slightly sticky. Turn off oven; crack oven door and let cake cool in oven 2 hours. Remove and cool completely; then chill, covered, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Run a think knife between cake and rim of pan and remove rim. Thinly slice strawberries, then toss with remaining sugar and lemon juice. Arrange on cake.



Grasshopper Pie

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until smooth. Beat in the food coloring.

Coarsely crush 16 cookies; stir into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into the crust. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining cookies.



Peanut Butter

Icebox Dessert

Additional peanut butter cookies, broken into pieces

In a large bowl, combine crushed cookies, sugar and butter; press into an ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown; cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth; fold in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust.

In another large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes or until thickened. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping; sprinkle with cookie pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.



‘Thin Mint’ Cookies

Wafers:

Combine chocolate wafer ingredient in a bowl until well mixed, using hands. On a surface lightly dusted with flour, shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Wrap in plastic wrap, waxed paper or parchment paper and freeze for at least 1 to 2 hours, until dough is very firm and can be sliced into wafers.

Preheat oven to 375. Slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4-inch thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For coating, combine chocolate chips with peppermint extract and shortening in a large microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl. Heat on 50 percent power for 2 minutes; stir gently, then heat for one more minute. Stir once again and if chocolate is not a smooth consistency, continue to heat in 30-second intervals until smooth.

Use a fork to dip each wafer in the chocolate. Tap the fork on the edge of the bowl so the excess chocolate runs off and place cookies side by side on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm.



Homemade Tagalongs

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add in egg and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl, if necessary. Add vanilla. Beat until smooth. With mixer on low, add salt and flour, and mix until completely incorporated and dough is uniform. Shape dough into a cylinder with a diameter of about 2 to 3 inches. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze for at least 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Slice dough into 1/8-inch disks and place on baking sheets, about 1/2-inch apart. Once you have made 30 cookies, wrap up the dough and freeze for another time. Bake for 8 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar. Form into small disks and press onto cookies. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30-second intervals and mix well after each interval. Coat cookies completely in chocolate and lift out with a fork. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and let set or freeze to speed up the process.

(*Note: most recipes have not been tested.)