While the Happiest Season of All may have just ended, the second happiest is upon us: Girl Scout cookie time! And local chefs are getting in on the action. The Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge will take place from Feb. 1 to 28, and chefs from some of the state’s most popular restaurants will use their culinary prowess to re-imagine one of the beloved flavors of Girl Scout cookies – Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Trefoils, Toffee-tastics and Savannah Smiles – into a custom dessert menu item. Each restaurant has agreed to feature its dessert on its menu for the entire month. A portion of the proceeds from each dessert sold will directly support Girl Scouting in our community. Through the end of the month, meet the chefs taking part and their unique dessert.
Name: Frank Lara
Assigned Cookie: Thin Mint
Tell us about your Girl Scout cookie creation. “The Mint” Cheesecake is a variation of our own homemade NY cheesecake. Instead of a graham cracker crust, we use crushed Thin Mint cookies as the bottom layer. In addition, we put in broken cookies into the cheesecake mixture along with a touch of peppermint oil. To top off the cheesecake, we decorated it with a light green buttercream frosting with an individual Thin Mint cookie that is dipped in white chocolate. This is little nod to another NY deli dessert, the Black and White cookie.
What inspired it? Chompie’s is Arizona’s New York deli. The Borenstein family moved to Arizona from Queens, and they wanted to bring their family dishes and the deli culture to Phoenix. New York Cheesecake is a deli staple. It is rich, dense and creamy and typically has a graham cracker crust. It made sense to use the Thin Mint cookies for the crust and the rest of the recipe just fell into place from there.
What made you decide to partake in the Cookie Dessert Challenge? The event caught our attention this year because of the opportunity to work with a community organization that helps build self-esteem and leadership qualities in young girls. It also sounded like a fun way to come up with a unique dessert item that would build some community awareness.
Since February is Valentine’ss month, what is your favorite Valentine’s Day dessert? Cherry cheesecake. It’s sweet, has that little touch of red for the day and is made to share with someone.