Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Samoas Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest: Dessert Antipasti

It's that time again... the Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest! And, this year because the Samoas cookie is turning 40, the contest was all about Samoas. So, our troop decided to do some recipe science and kitchen magic!

First, I looked through the recipes that have won or placed for Samoas in the past (a critical omission on my part last year). Then, I picked up our free boxes of Samoas cookies and a coupon for a free pound of Darigold butter from the Girl Scout office so that we could start creating!

Finally, I considered a brilliantly fun and easy no-bake recipe that honors my Nonna's Italian roots... her grand-kid approved Chocolate "Salami," which is basically a salami-shaped roll of delicious chocolate confection, studded with yummy cookies and usually with dried fruit, nuts and other flavorings such as citrus zest, vanilla, coffee, or alcohol. The recipe that we created is a riff on this old, classic recipe (that sometimes even uses raw egg yolks). To keep it kid-friendly, we skipped any alcohol or raw egg, and since the Samoas cookie is so flavorful already (caramel, toasted coconut, and chocolate plus delicious buttery cookie), we let it shine along with some scout-favorite mini marshmallows to enhance the "salami" look.

And, to go with the Samoa'd chocolate salami, we also tried out a Samoas Marshmallow Crispy Treat which, after all 14 Juniors in our troop taste-tested two different varieties of each recipe, the girls decided that the marshmallow-cereal treats tasted most amazing as the "bread" for the chocolate salami, so we submit for the Samoas Only Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest...  our very own Samoas Dessert Antipasti! 
Samoas Dessert Antipasti - Kid-friendly, easy and scout-approved!

Samoas Dessert Antipasti 
(Junior-Scout Approved!)

Nonna’s Samoa'd Chocolate Salami
  • 10 crushed or chopped Samoas cookies 
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 Tbs. softened, salted Darigold butter
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks or chips, melted
  • 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
Samoas Marshmallow Cereal Treat “Focaccia”
  • 4 Tbsp.  (1/2 stick) salted Darigold butter
  • One 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows (equals 6 cups) 
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 box of crushed or chopped Samoas cookies 

For the Samoa'd chocolate salami
Put 10 Samoas cookies into a zip-top bag, close it, and bash up the cookies with a rolling pin until they are about pea-sized chunks (or chop them up with a chef's knife), then dump into a mixing bowl. Next add the sugar, unsweetened cocoa and the softened (melty) butter. Stir all ingredients together, by hand, until combined.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour over the cookie mixture and stir a little, then add marshmallows and stir well.

Spoon the mixture onto (powdered-sugar covered) plastic wrap and shape into a salami log (with cooking-spray covered hands. Dust with more powdered sugar, and roll up in plastic wrap. Pop into the freezer for about 30 minutes (or refrigerate for 1-2 hours), and then cut it in slices to serve with marshmallow "focaccia."

For the marshmallow-cereal treat "focaccia" 
Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Put all 15 of the Samoas into a zip-top bag, close it, and bash up the cookies with a rolling pin until they are about pea- and marble-sized chunks. Separate out about ¼ cup of crumbs for the top of the “bread” and set it aside.

Next, in a large soup pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the bag of mini marshmallows, stirring to combine.  When the marshmallows are melted, remove from the heat and stir in the 6 cups of cereal.

Sprinkle the bottom of the prepared pan with some of the crushed Samoas. Mix the remaining Samoas (from the bag) into the marshmallow treat mixture (this takes a strong arm, or four Junior scouts and one leader). Next, scoop the marshmallow mixture onto the crushed cookies in the 9x9 pan, press gently to even out, and then top with the remaining ¼ cup of Samoas crumbs. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until firm, then slice into thin “bread-like” chunks and serve topped with, or alongside, chocolate salami.
Melting the Darigold butter and marshmallows in copper pots (Samoas caramel is made in copper pots! That's a fact!)
Prepping the four versions for taste testing... 
More sugar? Less sugar? More marshmallows? Fewer? A whole box of Samoas? 
And, the winning recipe... to combine the chocolate salami with the cereal-treat "bread" with less sugar (but more Samoas). Cookie season is their favorite!! 

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