Chefs from two of Flagstaff’s restaurants are joining chefs around the state in the Fifth Annual Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge. Silver Pine Restaurant at Little America and Lumberyard Brewing Company are using their know-how to re-imagine Girl Scout cookie flavors into custom desserts. The innovative taste treats are featured on menus from now until the end of the month, with a portion of the proceeds from each dessert sold directly supporting Girl Scouting in Arizona.
“I’m very familiar with the Tagalong cookie. It has been my favorite Girl Scout cookie since they started making them,” said Richard “Red” Kimball of Lumberyard Brewing Company and creator of the Tagalong Mousse Jar. “I wondered what I could do that is a little different, but I wanted to stay true to the Lumberyard. We have a banana and vanilla pudding with vanilla wafers that is served in a Mason jar on our menu, so I thought about doing the Tagalong dessert in a Mason jar.” Layers of peanut butter mousse, chocolate mousse and Tagalong Girl Scout cookie crumbles make up the dessert that is topped with whipped cream and a whole cookie – “to give respect to the original,” added Kimball.
“I had to invent a peanut butter mousse recipe because I couldn’t find a recipe that delivered the structure I needed,” the chef explained. “It needed to match the structure of our chocolate mousse. I have the knack to where I can figure it out the first time. That probably comes from my grandma, who is a baker. I watched my grandma decorate wedding cakes all my whole life. In my large extended family, there are a lot of Girls Scouts, Brownies and Boy Scouts. I see what it does for young girls – it’s worth the investment.”
Kimball and Lumberyard owner Winnie Hansen have been investing in the Annual Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge for the past five years. “Winnie spearheads the challenge, and she allows me to design the dessert,” said Kimball, the assistant kitchen manager of the popular Flagstaff restaurant. “The dessert is excessively rich – it will probably be a shared dessert. It definitely scratches the peanut butter-chocolate itch like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup does.”
Silver Pine Malted Mint Ice Cream
“In January, they asked for our top three cookie choices. We were lucky and got our first choice, Thin Mints, this year. Honestly, I was thinking we got the most popular cookie because that was the cookie that I sold the most when I was a Girl Scout,” shared Vanessa Ronspies, pastry chef of Silver Pine Restaurant at Little America Hotel Flagstaff.
Ronspies began the creative process of designing a dessert around the Thin Mints by thinking about what goes best with cookies. “Milk and cookies, what’s better than that? Then I thought about a milkshake using the cookie for flavoring. The cookie blended with the milk was super sweet, so I added malt flavor to cut the sweetness. The malt helps wake up the mint flavor in the ice cream. I like to encourage people to try blends of different flavors,” said the former 10-year Girl Scout.
“The dessert evolved while I was playing around with it. I tried vanilla ice cream first and then thought, ‘What else can I do with it?’ I tried the mint and decided, ‘Yep that’s the one,’” the chef explained. The milkshake idea morphed into homemade ice cream – easier to serve – and the ‘Silver Pine Malted Mint Ice Cream’ dessert was born.
“We have a really nice ice cream machine, and any time I can utilize it, I do,” said the pastry chef. “I make the base of the ice cream as a hot batch, and then let it cool down. We then freeze small batches into solid bricks. Later, I can put a small batch into the ice cream machine, which chops the ice brick to the perfect sized crystals and then whips it with air to produce a frozen, fluffy, mousse-like ice cream. It’s so much more flavorful than ice cream that you would find at the store.”
“It’s really good – who doesn’t like milk and cookies, or milkshakes and cookies? And it’s good for the Girl Scouts, which is a super organization. You’re helping the community. The dessert is a great end to any of the dishes here – make a night out of it,” she suggested.
Lumberyard along with Rusconi’s American Kitchen, Olive + Ivy and The Thumb will be inducted into the Girl Scout’s “Five Timers Club” this year, commemorating their participation in the challenge each year since its inception in 2014.
For more information on the challenge or Girl Scout Cookie season, visit girlscoutsaz.org. FBN
By Stacey Wittig, FBN
Lumberyard Brewing Company
5 S. San Francisco Street, Flagstaff
Silver Pine Restaurant
Little America Hotel
2515 E Butler Ave., Flagstaff
Richard “Red” Kimball is the designer of Lumberyard’s Girl Scout Cookie dessert, the Tagalong Mousse Jar.
Photo by Stacey Wittig