GIRL SCOUT cookies are not just for snacks.
For one thing, they can be used to create some rather surprising dishes, such as Peanut Thai Chicken. For another, this annual ritual is the largest girl-led business in the country, providing many youngsters with their first taste of entrepreneurship.
Locally, the sale, which began last month and continues through March 7, has a goal of selling 4 million boxes in 2010. Sounds like a lot of shortbread Trefoils, but consider that the nine-county Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania region moved 3.8 million last year.
And there are two new flavors to tempt you: Thank U Berry Munch, made with cranberries and white chocolate chips; and carmel-infused, bite-sized Dulce de Leche.
Cookies not on your diet list? Buy some anyway for shipment to military personnel overseas through the Cookies From Home program.
But back to the kitchen.
"I am a huge fan of the Peanut Thai Chicken because it's a great party food for any time of year," said Elizabeth Farry, community relations manager with the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast in southeastern Virginia.
She buys extra Do-Si-Dos and freezes them so she can make the recipe for summer barbecues.
Here are recipes that use Girl Scout cookies, including some mouthwatering desserts created by Girl Scout Senior Troop 53595 in Rosemont, Pa. Trust us: Thin Mints were never crushed for a better cause.
FRIED SAMOAS SHRIMP
5 extra-large shrimp, peeled and veins removed
5 Samoas Girl Scout cookies, finely chopped
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 cups flour
1 cup coconut flakes
4 egg whites
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 lime for garnish
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Toss coconut flakes with bread crumbs, cayenne pepper and chopped Samoas.
Dredge shrimp through flour, then the egg whites and then the cookie mixture. Fry shrimp in vegetable oil at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Garnish with coconut flakes and lime wedges. Arrange in a star pattern on a salad plate, or on a bamboo skewer with tropical fruits. If serving as an entrée, accompany with fried plantains and wild rice. Serves one as an entrée, two as an appetizer.
PEANUT THAI CHICKEN
8 crushed Do-Si-Dos Girl Scout
2 pounds boneless, skinless
Thai peanut sauce
8 ounces pad Thai noodles
Grill chicken tenderloins on wood skewers, brushing occasionally with store-bought teriyaki glaze. Prepare pad Thai noodles according to directions on box. Serve chicken tenderloins with four crushed Do-Si-Dos sprinkled on top.
Mix remaining cookie crumbs with peanut sauce to pour over the dish or as a side dipping sauce. Makes four servings.
BERRY MUNCH CRANBERRY PECAN CHICKEN SALAD
1 package mixed salad greens
1 package (6 ounces) cooked
chicken breast strips
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup dried mandarin oranges
1/2 cup Berry Munch salad topping (see recipe below)
Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
For salad topping:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 1/2 cups pecans
10 Thank U Berry Munch cookies, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
In a four-cup bowl, stir together honey, oil and orange rind. Add pecans and stir to coat. Add cookie pieces and stir to coat. Spread mixture evenly in greased jelly roll pan or on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.
Place salad greens in a serving bowl, scatter toppings on salad and serve with dressing. Serves two as an entrée.
Source: Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast
PEANUT BUTTER WONDER PIE
1 box Do-Si-Do sandwich cookies, crushed
1 box Thanks A Lot cookies, crushed
1/2 cup melted butter
1 8-ounce package softened cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cookie crumbs. Mix remaining cookie crumbs and butter until moist. Press firmly into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 5 minutes, then place in freezer for 30 minutes.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Gradually add peanut butter. Mix in nuts.
In a small bowl, beat 1 cup chilled whipping cream into stiff peaks. Fold cream into peanut mixture. Slowly transfer filling into frozen crust, mounding slightly. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
For topping, stir 1/2-cup whipping cream and 1/2-cup sugar in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer without stirring until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 6 minutes). Add 1/4-cup butter, chocolate and 1/2-teaspoon vanilla. Stir until melted. Let stand and cool 15 minutes.
Spoon over pie and refrigerate until set (about 4 hours). Slice and serve sprinkling each slice with remaining cookie crumbs.
CHOCOLATY LEMONADE CHEESECAKE
1 box Lemonade cookies, crushed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoon melted butter
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
6 squares semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup Lemonade cookies, crushed
Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl until mixed. Press into bottom of a lightly greased, 8-by-3-inch springform pan. Refrigerate.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugars until well mixed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fluffy. Beat in sour cream and lemon rind until well mixed. Reserve 3 cups in separate bowl.
Beat cooled, semisweet chocolate into remaining cream cheese mixture until well mixed.
Spoon 1 cup reserved plain cream cheese mixture over crust in pan. Spoon half the chocolate mixture over that, then cover with another cup of plain cheese mixture. Repeat layers.
Cut a knife through the batter with a zigzag motion to marble.
Bake in a preheated, 250-degree oven for 1 hour. Turn off oven; leave in oven for 1 hour. Cool on rack. Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs on top.
THIN MINT DELIGHT
1 box Thin Mint cookies, crushed
1 quart chocolate chip ice cream
1 quart mint chocolate chip ice cream
2 jars fudge sauce (approx.)
Thin Mint cookies for garnish
Press half of the cookie crumbs in bottom of a lightly greased springform pan.
Spread softened chocolate chip ice cream over crumbs; drizzle some fudge sauce over ice cream and sprinkle with half of remaining cookie crumbs.
Spread softened mint chocolate chip ice cream over crumbs and drizzle with more sauce; sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs on top. Put in freezer to chill thoroughly.
Five minutes before serving, remove from pan. Serve topped with warm fudge sauce a whole cookie on each slice.
SO BERRY COOL!
1 box Lemonade cookies, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups Cool Whip
2 pints raspberries (or blueberries)
2 4-serving size packages instant vanilla pudding
3 1/3 cups cold milk
Combine crushed cookies, a 1/4-cup sugar and butter. Press into bottom of a 13-by-9-inch pan.
Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Fold in half of the Cool Whip. Spread over crust. Arrange berries in an even layer on top.
Prepare pudding as directed on packages, using 3 1/2 cups milk. Pour over berry layer.
Chill several hours or overnight.
Source: Girl Scout Senior Troop 53595, Rosemont, Pa.