Thursday, January 23, 2014

Savannah Smiles Pudding

It's that time of the year again--Girl Scout Cookie Season!

So in honor of those intrepid Girl Scouts, pushing wagons of cookies up and down our streets and bravely knocking on our doors, hoping we'll shell out four dollars a box, here's a little recipe inspiration featuring one of this year's tasty new flavors.

If you have fond memories of Lemon Coolers (a long-ago-retired cookie originally produced by Sunshine Biscuits), the Girl Scouts' crunchy, lemony, powdered-sugar-coated Savannah Smiles will be a pleasantly familiar indulgence.

You could easily adapt this recipe to work with any variety of Girl Scout cookie, but I just love the creamy-tart combination of lemon, cream cheese, and vanilla bean. Hoosband is generally in the "lemon is not for desserts" camp, but even he was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Finally, please don't judge this recipe by the photos. I made this dessert to take to dinner with friends and didn't have the opportunity to snap any glamour shots. But there wasn't any left at the end of the night, so that's a good sign, right?

Savannah Smiles Pudding
If you do not have a food processor, the cookies can be placed in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and crushed with a cast-iron skillet or rolling pin, and the cream-cheese mixture can be beaten with an electric mixer, or even a very sturdy whisk, as long as the cream cheese has been fully softened.

1 box Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies
8 oz cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened for at least 30 minutes at room temperature (longer if not using a food processor)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

Place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea.

Transfer the cookies to another container and set aside.

Wipe out the bowl of the food processor, and add the cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, sugar, and the seeds from the vanilla bean (split the bean lengthwise with a paring knife, and use the dull edge of the knife to scrape out the tiny seeds). Process until completely smooth, pausing to scrape down the bowl if necessary.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or a wire whisk to whip the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream until very fluffy and capable of holding a soft peak when the beater or whisk is lifted out.

Add the cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream, and use a spatula to gently blend until smooth.

Evenly distribute 1/3 of the cookie crumbs within the bottom of a Pyrex loaf pan.

Top with half of the cream-cheese mixture.

Repeat with another 1/3 of the cookie mixture and the remaining half of the cream-cheese mixture. Finish with remaining crumbs. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to 24 hours before serving.

Serves approximately 8.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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