Thin Mint Showdown: Thin Mint Mojito Madness

One can never have enough Thin Mints. At least that's what we thought until Managing Editor Amy Silverman brought in a dozen unsold boxes to a recent Chow Bella meeting. If one must make lemonade when life hands one lemons, we theorized one must make dessert when life hands one unwanted Girl Scout cookies. (Check out Jonathan McNamara's ice cream pie, yesterday's entry.)

Today's recipe was inspired by the mojito cocktail and the winning entry in a Girl Scout Cookie Cooking Competition hosted by the Art Institute of Atlanta, made insanely difficult, expensive and time consuming by my lack of cooking know-how. Feel free to delete the expletives and mistakes from your version.

Cookie Crust:

  • 10 Girl Scout Thin Mints, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Take a handful of Thin Mints and bash to smithereens with a hammer, knife handle, Chop-Slap type gadget or whatever the heck you have handy. Of course, you could just use a food processor if you have one (some people with teensy apartment kitchens are not that lucky).

Eat one cookie, just to taste test. Layer the bottom of each glass with a thin coat of annihilated cookie crumbs and freeze for 1/2 hour to set. Eat a few more cookies while you weight, er, wait. After removing glasses from freezer, pour melted butter evenly over crumbs. Forget to put back into freezer for another half-hour.

Rum-Lime Panna Cotta:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 packet gelatin
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. Sailor Jerry rum

Troll the Internet for a simple panna cotta recipe you like and fail miserably. Insert your favorite curse words here (mine is "f-ck," but feel free to choose your own) when you still can't find a recipe two minutes before you really need to start cooking. Stupidly decide to cobble together several recipes, making life more difficult for you. Eat another cookie.

Prep by juicing and zesting one lime. The juicing can be done by hand or with a juicer. For the zest, use a grater to remove... aw, crap. Remember you forgot to wash the lime. Yell expletive of your choice. Start again with a new lime. Grate the crap out of the top layer of rind until it's a pulpy paste and try desperately to separate zest from grater. Give up and eat another cookie.

But wait, there's more....

Pour milk into a small mixing bowl and stir in the packet of gelatin. Set aside. Pour 2 1/2 cups heavy cream into a small saucepan and add sugar and what little zest you have, making sure to spill some sugar all over your counter and floor first. Say a few expletives. Eat a cookie. Feel your eyes start to glaze over as you watch the pot that never friggin boils.

When eternity has passed and the shit is actually boiling, remove from heat. Fold gross-looking gelatin and milk mixture, vanilla, rum, and lime juice into the pot and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, stir in rum and pour over frozen crumbs. Yell expletives as you realize you forgot to put the glasses back into freezer a half-hour ago. Pour over crumbs anyway, telling yourself it'll work FINE. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours; preferably overnight. Breathe a sigh of relief and take a swig of leftover rum.

Mint Mousse:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 8-10 drops of green food coloring

My favorite part! Dump cream, sugar, vanilla and mint extract into large mixing bowl and beat on low setting for several minutes. Add several drops of green food coloring. Fold in cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Celebrate the easiness of this step with a cookie.

Top set panna cotta with a glob of mixture and realize how crappy that looks. Insert minor expletive, as a major one isn't necessary here. Press down into a nice flat layer and use a wet napkin to remove any excess from side of glass, just like they do on Iron Chef. There, that should impress 'em!

Cookie Brownie Garnish:

  • 10 Thin Mints, finely chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Dash of rum

Finely chop Thin Mints. Follow the Atlanta recipe exactly by whisking whites and sugar together in a small bowl until fluffy, then folding in melted butter and thin mint crumbs. Add a dash of leftover rum. Spread thinly on parchment paper atop a cookie pan and bake at 350 degrees for five minutes. Rotate tray and bake for another 5 min. Cool until crispy.

Realize the stupid thing isn't crispy at all. It's more like a brownie, which won't stand up in the mousse. Yell expletives, most of which seem to include someone's mother. Eat half the friggin tray of friggin thin-ass brownie, because even thought it's not crispy it tastes damn good and you're friggin hungry because you haven't had any friggin breakfast.

Make a second batch with the few cookies you have left and try to spread mixture thinner this time. Yell expletives as you realize you just got thinner brownie this time. Cut the suckers into small wedges anyway and plop into cups atop mousse. Garnish with a mint sprig so it doesn't look like ass when the soft brownie chip gets soggy and starts sliding into the mousse. Clean up your kitchen, which looks like a bomb exploded in it, and vow to never do another showdown again.

At least until you've had cooking lessons...

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