(CNN) — Freezing Thin Mints before devouring them, one by one, is as fancy as some of us get during Girl Scout cookie season. But this year, two pastry chefs from Denver put their culinary creativity to use in whipping up new — and elevated — ways to eat these annual winter treats.
“It initially was challenging to figure out how to turn a cookie that’s already made into another dessert,” said Eric Dale, an executive pastry chef with Crafted Concepts restaurant group. “It felt like I was on one of those cooking competitions where it was like, ‘OK, here’s your cookie … now go!’”
Dale jokingly said he won an arm-wrestling match with his colleague, Lauryn Markle, for the right to use the Thin Mints.
Together, the duo created four elegant desserts using four different kinds of Girl Scout cookies. For every Girl Scout cookie-inspired dessert sold in its four restaurants, Crafted Concepts is donating $1 to local Girl Scout troops.
“Since Girls Scouts, in the pandemic, aren’t always able to do their traditional sales, we thought it would be a fun, new way for customers to find Girl Scout cookies,” Dale said.
In an effort to help sell more cookies during the pandemic, the Girl Scouts of Colorado and other state chapters have extended their sales periods this winter. The Colorado chapter, for example, will be selling cookies through March 21 — two weeks later than originally planned. If you don’t happen to know a Girl Scout, the “find a cookie booth” web tool offers an option for online ordering.
And if you wind up with a few extra boxes and decide you want to get fancy, the recipes below for Samoas Coconut Panna Cotta and Thin Mint Mousse Tart will yield restaurant-worthy desserts, complete with sauces. More cookie-inspired recipes are available at the Girls Scouts website.
Bistro Vendôme Thin Mint Mousse Torte
By Eric Dale
Makes one 9″ torte
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
24 Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies
1/4 ounce (1 packet) powdered gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 bag (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups warm vanilla sauce (recipe below)
A 9″-diameter springform pan
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Assemble the sides and bottom of pan; lightly coat the bottom with nonstick spray.
2. Place cookies in a food processor. Grind them continuously into a fine crumb. Press crumbs evenly in bottom of pan. Bake the crust at 350°F for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl: Sprinkle gelatin in 1/4 cup water while stirring to combine. Set aside.
4. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Cover and keep chilled.
5. In another microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds on high setting. Remove bowl and stir chocolate. Repeat in 30-second increments, stopping and stirring until melted. Whisk approximately one-third of warm vanilla sauce with chocolate. Whisk the chocolate mixture into remaining vanilla sauce.
6. Melt gelatin in microwave, 20-30 seconds on high setting. Whisk melted gelatin into chocolate mixture. Let cool in an ice bath until mixture begins to thicken.
7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of chocolate mixture into reserved whipped cream. Fold in remaining chocolate mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
8. Immediately pour into pan, over the cooled crust. Cover and keep chilled until set, about 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Warm vanilla sauce
Makes 2 cups
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 eggs, yolks separated from whites
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Combine milk and cream with salt in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, blend egg yolks with sugar using a whisk. Reserve egg whites for another purpose.
3. Temper the egg yolks by gradually adding one-third of the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the tempered egg mixture to remaining hot milk in saucepan and continue cooking stirring constantly, with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat it, 1-2 minutes.
4. Strain sauce into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in vanilla extract.
5. Proceed with mousse instructions in chocolate torte recipe using the warm sauce.
12 ounces (1 bag) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
2. Place the cream, milk and corn syrup in a saucepan, and bring the mixture to boil.
3. Pour the hot cream mixture over chocolate. Let it set for 1 minute.
4. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl, working out to the sides. Be careful not to add too much air to the ganache.
5. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature before glazing the chocolate torte.
6. Slide a metal spatula around the inside of the pan to loosen it. Remove the outside ring and transfer torte to a cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.
7. Pour ganache glaze over torte, evenly coating the top so it runs over the sides.
Chef Dale tops his Thin Mint Mousse Torte with crystallized mint leaves. Find that recipe on the Girl Scouts website.
Stoic & Genuine Coconut Panna Cotta
By Lauryn Markle
Makes 2 servings
1/4 cup or 2 ounce 70% dark chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a small mixing bowl.
2. In a heatproof cup, scald cream in a microwave, 20-30 seconds on high setting.
3. Pour cream on top of chocolate and mix together using a rubber spatula.
4. If there are a few chocolate chunks left, place bowl in microwave for 10 seconds on high setting. Remove bowl, stir and microwave chocolate again until all chunks are melted.
5. Place desired amount of ganache in the bottom of 2 dinner bowls, making sure it’s smooth. Set aside.
Coconut panna cotta
1/4 ounce (1 pack) powdered gelatin
1 can cream of coconut (such as Coco López)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Sprinkle gelatin in 1/4 cup water while stirring to combine.
2. Combine cream of coconut, heavy cream, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, warm the gelatin at 20-second intervals until it becomes liquid. Add in the liquid gelatin to the hot coconut mixture and mix well.
4. Let the mixture cool slightly on the counter for a few minutes before pouring onto the ganache so it doesn’t melt.
5. Divide panna cotta between reserved bowls with ganache. Cover and keep chilled to set.
Shortbread cookie topper
2 Girl Scout Samoas cookies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour + more for surface
1 stick cold unsalted butter
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
2. Place cookies and 1/2 cup flour in a food processor and pulverize until there are no large cookie chunks left. Set aside in a small bowl. Alternatively, chop the cookies using a sharp kitchen knife.
3. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the cookie-and-flour mixture until all of the flour is incorporated. Be careful not to mix the cookie dough too much!
5. Place the dough in plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag; chill for 15 minutes.
6. When dough is firm enough to roll out, dust work surface with flour.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to ¼-inch thick and cut out cookies using desired cookie cutter. The dough can be rerolled up to 2 times.
8. Place the cookie cutouts on a sheet pan with parchment and bake until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.
Build your dessert:
When your coconut panna cottas are set, remove from the refrigerator, top with the Samoas shortbread cookies, and enjoy!
Chef Markle finishes her Samoas-topped Coconut Panna Cotta with a homemade caramel sauce. Find that recipe on the Girl Scouts website.