Peanut butter Do-si-dos and coconut-chocolate-caramel Samoas. Crispy Thin Mints and sweet-tart Lemon-Ups (you know, the citrusy cookie baked with inspirational messages on top that the Girl Scouts introduced in 2020). Everyone in Colorado has a favorite Girl Scout cookie, as evidenced by the four-and-a-half million boxes of cookies that the statewide organization raised last year through its cookie sales. If your personal flavor choice is one of those mentioned above, then get ready for something new: Your cookie has been utterly transformed by pastry chefs Eric Dale and Lauryn Markle, of the Crafted Concepts restaurant group.
Chef Jennifer Jasinski and co-owner Beth Gruitch lead Crafted Concepts’ Rioja, Ultreia, Bistro Vendôme, and Stoic & Genuine, all stalwart favorites of the downtown Denver dining scene. And when they were approached by the Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSC) to partner around cookie season (January 31 to March 7 this year), Gruitch says it was an easy decision to make. “The samoa cookie has been featured on our dessert menu at Rioja for a while, and [Ultreia and Stoic pastry chef] Lauryn was a Girl Scout,” she says. “This felt like a win-win to create some fun desserts, eat the Girl Scouts’ delicious cookies, and support their mission to raise up young, aspiring girls.”
Charlotte Holmberg, a 12-year-old member of the GSC Highlands Ranch troop who typically sells more than 2,000 boxes of cookies annually and who recently earned both her democracy and marketing badges, has, thus far, only tasted the Thin Mint mousse torte that Dale created for Bistro Vendôme. “My favorite Girl Scout cookie is the Samoa, but I thought the Thin Mint dessert was really delicious. The collaboration sounds like such a good idea to me because we’ll be helping restaurants and also helping Girl Scouts.” Crafted Concepts has pledged to donate a dollar from every dessert sold back to the GSC, and Holmberg says that her troop will use that money toward a trip to San Diego in 2022.
Typically, GSC cookies are sold throughout February and into early March via door-to-door sales and walk-up booths outside of shops and in retail centers. This year, the scouts are conducting virtual sales online, hosting drive-through cookie booths, and doing porch drop-offs for family and friends.
To do double-duty with your dollars, order Dale and Markle’s plated cookie creations for dine-in or take out. The Thin Mint dessert at Bistro Vendôme was as rich and decadent as a chocolate-and-mint-flavored last course should be, with a fluffy, Thin Mint cookie-crusted dark chocolate mousse enrobed in a soft dark chocolate shell, with chocolate sauce and sugared mint leaves for garnish.
Holmberg’s beloved Samoa has evolved into a beautiful composed panna cotta dessert from Markle, available at seafood palace Stoic & Genuine. Should you bring it home to enjoy, the elements will arrive packaged individually with a handy card that shows you how to plate it: homemade Samoa shortbread cookie on the bottom, then a layer of ganache, the panna cotta next, and finally, a drizzle of thick caramel sauce and a sprinkle of coconut. Eaten together, it tastes like a Samoa with a Ph.D. in pastry.
Ultreia’s peanut butter Do-si-Do flan is silky and rich and fun to eat, thanks to the crispy caramel popped sorghum topping it comes with, and lemon lovers will pucker up for the meringue-topped cheesecake that Dale made for Rioja’s dessert menu. It’s got a Lemon-Up crumb crust, layers of tangy lemon curd and cheesecake, and a torched crown, too.
When helping your community looks like dining in (or out) on beautiful desserts, everyone wins.
If you go: All Crafted Concepts restaurants—Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Ultreia, and Stoic & Genuine—will serve Girl Scout cookie-inspired desserts for dine-in or take-out service from January 31 through March 7. One dollar from each dessert ($8 to $9.50) will be donated to the Girl Scouts of Colorado.