Once again, Chow Bella writers hunkered down in their kitchens and cooked up their best sweet and savory creations using Girl Scouts Cookies as an essential ingredient. It's kind of like a pared down version of the Food Network's Chopped, except we aren't actually going to chop anyone (I don't think).
Just think of me as New Times' own Aarón Sanchez, or better yet, Amanda Freitag.
So, last year, Chow Bella writers used Trefoils as the essential ingredient and the year before that, Thin Mints. This year we thought we'd give the Girl Scouts' newest cookie, Savannah Smiles, a try (anything named after a suicidal, junkie porn star deserves a little attention).
Savannah Smiles were actually created to celebrate the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary. If you didn't know, they're small, lemon-flavored cookies dusted in powdered sugar. Personally, I'm not a fan of any kind of fruit-flavored cookies. So, Chow Bella writers had quite a hurdle to clear to get me to like just about anything they created. I was happily surprised with what they were able to pull off.
First, there was the Lemon Rum "Tiramisu" (Savannah Smiles plied with rum -- pictured above), by Dominique Chatterjee. Dominique used the cookies as a crust for the tiramisu and then filled it with a sugary, rum cream. She then sprinkled Pistachios on top, which I have to give her bonus points for. I love pistachios, particularly pistachio ice cream.
Next, was Ando Muneno's cookie crusts filled with lemon curd and topped with berry coulis. Ando crumbled the Savannah Smiles in a food processor and then packed them into cupcake liners, filled them with lemon curd, and topped them with the berry coulis. Once I got through the foil wrapper that had stuck to the crust, I was pleasantly surprised. Coupled with the curd, the cookie crumble reminded me of a cheesecake graham cracker crust. Nice.
Last year's cookie challenge winner, Shannon Armour, went above and beyond with her creation this year. Shannon created cinnamon rolls with a Savannah Smiles "streusel" filling, from scratch. She then topped it with cream cheese icing.
Erica O'Neil made Lemon-Ricotta Fritters with Lemon Curd. These bite-sized fritters were pretty tasty. As Erica says, "everything tastes better deep fried."
The one and only savory creation this year was Lauren Saria's Savannah Smiles-Crusted "Fried" Chicken Tenders. This dish reminded me of chicken piccata and I was happy to try something not loaded with sugar.
Finally, JK Grence made Savannah Smiles Cookie Milk Ice Cream. JK soaked the Savannah Smiles in milk until they were pretty much dissolved and then made ice cream with the milk & cookie concoction. I admittedly did not try this creation because JK failed to bring it to the original showdown. I stick to the rules folks! I did hear a lot of positive things about the ice cream though. Sorry, JK.
Well, now that I'm down from my sugar high, I'll say that everyone did a great job on their creations. My choice for the showdown winner, you ask? I'm not playing favorites here, but Shannon's XXX-treme Cinnamon Rolls won me over. Despite Shannon's fear, I didn't think the cinnamon roll was overly dry. It also wasn't overly sweet like a lot of cinnamon rolls can be. So, for the second year in a row, Shannon wins the Chow Bella cookie showdown.
Check out the full, Savannah Smiles cookie recipes at the following links: