Six new reasons to buy Girl Scout Cookies
SoDelConcepts bigwigs Matt Haley, Scott Kammerer, Mike Dickinson and Matt Cunningham never miss a chance to marshal their considerable forces in the name of charity. As part of their support for Girl Scouts of America, the guys were kind enough to include me on the judge’s panel for last week’s Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Showcase at Bluecoast Seafood Grill.
The concept was simple. But the desserts were not. Each of SoDelConcepts’ six local restaurant chefs was tasked with creating a dish that included Girl Scout Cookies as the primary ingredient. Sort of like Food Network’s “Sweet Genius,” but with merit badges.
Salt Pond in Bethany Beach was the perfect backdrop for the mouthwatering onslaught. I was joined by Donna Smith, director of volunteerism for Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, and Sarah Bell from Seaford’s Troop 51. Young Sarah also holds the distinction of being one of the select Girl Scout Ambassadors at the national level of the program. WOCM 98.1 radio personalities Big Al Reno and Coach were also in attendance, forks in hand and poised for battle. (Neither of these guys are slouches in the dessert department.)
Chef Ron Burkle of Bethany’s Northeast Seafood Kitchen was the first to present his creation built from the iconic, yet humble Thin Mint. From that chocolate-covered disc he crafted a Thin Mint Cake Roll, filled with strawberry Chantilly cream nestled up to a scoop of homemade Thin Mint ice cream. As I merrily zeroed in on my third bite, Dickinson snatched the plate away with a stern warning that there was a lot more to come. Apparently this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
Matt’s Fish Camp was the next to present, and Chef Casey Cunningham stepped up to the plate with his delicately stacked Trefoil Napoleon. The shortbread cookies (named after the three-leaf clover, aka trefoil plant) were fashioned into impossibly thin and crispy tuilles that sandwiched light-as-air strawberry mousse, shaved strawberries and chocolate. It was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat (…the little bit I got before it was whisked away).
Bluecoast veteran Chef Jesse Howell paid homage to the Girl Scouts’ do-si-do oatmeal/peanut butter cookie with a frozen peanut butter pie on crushed cookie crust. The pyramidal bite was partially encased in a shell of chocolate. Random dry-roasted peanuts added a pleasantly salty dimension to the dish.
Caramel and coconut were the stars in Lupo di Mare’s caramel gelato speckled with Samoa cookie crumbs. General Manager Anna Short made sure there was a chocolate-drizzled Samoa peeking out of each espresso-cup portion of the creamy confection. A clever presentation for an equally clever concoction.
The sugar high was in full swing at this point, so we were prepared for the heady rush of the concord grape jelly mousse that accompanied Chef Maurice Catlett’s Tagalong Blondie. The peanut butter patty (covered in chocolate, of course) was reinvented as a moist, peanut-filled square. The Fish On! chef crowned the generous blondie with morsels of the soft Tagalong cookie.
The dénouement arrived in the form of a blackberry trifle, layered with Savannah Smile cookie crumbles, vanilla lemon curd and cream, and sugared blackberries. The smiling Matt Kern from Catch 54 in Fenwick Island was the architect on this lemony construction project presented in a Ball jar, topped with more blueberries and a sprig of mint. Lemon and blueberries! Who would’a thought?
After much deliberation (we were flyin’ high on all that sugar, so it didn’t take very long), we announced the winners: Third place was taken by Casey Cunningham and Matt’s Fish Camp. Second place went to Catch 54’s Matt Kern and his tribute to lemon, and the winner of this year’s Girl Scout Cookie Showcase was our Bluecoast host himself, Jesse Howell.
SoDelConcepts’ annual celebration in support of the Girl Scouts of America was a delicious affair. The only downside? There wasn’t a doggie bag in sight.