When is a cookie not just a cookie?
When it’s used to make mouth-watering desserts and appetizers sure to please any palate.
Such was the case at the Samoa Soirée. Chefs from around Hampton Roads got creative with Girl Scout Cookies as part of the organization’s annual fund-raiser. The event aimed to raise $50,000, which would allow more than 4,000 girls to have the “Girl Scout experience,” says Tracy Kelly, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.
More than 300 people attended the cocktail-style event at the Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center in downtown Norfolk, with nearly a dozen restaurants participating.
Hogarth’s Bar & Bistro, which opened in Williamsburg’s Newtown area last September, won the judge’s award for the favorite dessert. Chef Stephan Luna used Trefoil and Thin Mint cookies to create a mini-Baked Alaska, complete with Luna’s homemade Thin Mint ice cream topped with meringue that was lightly singed with a blowtorch on site.
“It’s so nice to see something old-school like this on the menu,” comments judge and local foodie Patrick Evans-Hylton, a senior editor at Coastal Virginia Magazine.
There was more daring fare, as well.
Chef Nic Hagen from Karnage Asada: The Latin-Asian Smack Down!, a food truck that started operating in January, made a version of the Spanish ceviche. He combined poached shrimp, diced cucumbers, purple onions, basil and cilantro with crumbled Savannah Smile lemon cookies.
“I knew the peanut butter [cookies] would be used, and the Thin Mint,” Hagen says. “I tried to think outside the box.”
Other offerings used Do-si-dos (a peanut butter sandwich cookie) and the popular Samoa, vanilla cookies coated in caramel with coconut and chocolate. A Greek-style meatball, offered by the Gatling Point Yacht Club in Smithfield, used finely ground Thin Mints cooked right inside. Chef Carol Robbs, a former Girl Scout, says she spent three weeks practicing her dish, which topped a meatball with tsatsiki sauce and cucumber salsa.
Christina Haver, the sous chef and baker at 80/20 Burger Bar in Norfolk, created goat cheese balls encrusted with Savannah Smiles and topped with candied pecans and a bit of cavier. Her dish won the judge’s favorite savory dish.
“This gave me great fun,” Haver says. “I got to play with cookies. It was a blast.”
Melissa Burroughs, executive vice president/chief lending officer for Old Point National Bank and the chair of the Colonial Coast council’s board, calls the Samoa Soirée one of the foremost public venues for showing adults what Girl Scouts are doing.
Supporting Girl Scouts, Burroughs says, helps build the future for girls who are learning about more than just crafts and camping skills.
The Girl Scout Cookie campaign alone teaches girls skills such as money management, decision-making, team-building, independence and people skills, Burroughs says.
“We’re teaching our 6-7-8-year-olds business management,” Burroughs says. “That’s cool. They don’t know they’re learning. They’re just having fun.”