Beverly HillsMarch 4, 2009
The way the cookie crumbles
Chef Chris Johnson of the Beverly Hills Grill, with last year’s Girl Scout Cookie Gala creation. This year, Johnson will create a New York-style cheesecake using the Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip cookie.
Beverly Hills Grill chef aims
for simple delights with his
Girl Scout cookie creation
By Robin Ruehlen and Heidi Roman
C & G Staff Writers
BEVERLY HILLS — It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to improve on the luscious flavors of Girl Scout cookies, but eight metro Detroit chefs will try to do just that.
At the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Cookie Gala March 11 in Detroit, the culinary masters will whip up unique desserts, using as the key ingredients the cookies that Girl Scouts have sold for years.
The Cookie Gala, now in its seventh year, is one of the organization’s major fundraisers, next to the cookie sale itself. Proceeds from the event help support Girl Scouting in the area, control the cost of programs, maintain camps and pay for girls to participate who couldn’t otherwise afford to, according to Dianne Thomas, communications specialist for Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan.
For chef Chris Johnson of the Beverly Hills Grill, this will mark his third year working with the delectable nationwide favorites.
“By random draw we got the Sugar-free Chocolate Chip Cookies, so I’ll be making a basic New York-style cheesecake garnished with a chocolate-dipped strawberry and rolled in the cookie crumbs,” he said.
“The cookie crumbs will also be used for the crust. I’ve found that for these desserts, the simpler the better. People just want a good dessert without all the frills.”
Last year, Johnson created a peanut butter blondie using Do-Si-Dos, along with a banana mousse and peanut butter fondue. His personal favorites are the Do-Si-Dos and the Samoas.
“We’re into doing any community work that we can,” he said.
“My girls are Brownies, so it’s always good to give back and try to raise funds, and I love to share the food I create with other people.”
The local Girl Scouts organizations went through a merger earlier this year, and all of the councils in southeast Michigan became one: the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. Locally, the Girl Scouts of Macomb County Otsikita Council was absorbed into it.
Chef Jeff Baldwin of Clinton Township’s J. Baldwin’s Restaurant will work with Lemon Chalet Crèmes, and chef Pete Waldenmeyer of Detroit’s Traffic Jam and Snug restaurant will work with Thin Mints. The Hyatt’s Giulio and Sons chef Melissa Howard will work with Trefoils.
Some of Thomas’ favorites last year were the mini bunt cakes made by chef James Leonardo from Mosaic in Detroit, created from Samoa cookies.
“They were just so pretty,” Thomas said. “I’m sure they were delicious, but there wasn’t a crumb left for me to taste.”
This year, Leonardo will work with Tagalongs.
From the Roostertail restaurant in Detroit, executive chef Brian DeMeyer and pastry chef Perry Joerin will create something using Dulce de Leche cookies. From the Henry Ford Community College restaurant Fifty-One O One, chef Mary Dennings and her students will work with Samoa cookies.
The chefs try to make enough of their recipe for all the guests at the gala, usually 250-300 people.
The Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan Cookie Gala will be March 11 at 6 p.m. at the Roostertail, 100 Marquette in Detroit. The event also includes hors d’oeuvres and auctions.
Tickets to the gala are $95 each or $160 per pair. Reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 326-0309.
For more information, visit www.gsofmd.org/cookiegala.
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