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Girl Scout cookies move out of box and onto the dinner table

Mike Sutter

Two things fill the streets of Central Texas in abundance this time of year: cedar pollen and Girl Scout cookies.

Let's stick with that second one.

Last year, the world's most adorable high-pressure salespeople (and their parents) moved about 2.1 million boxes of cookies in our area, according to Girl Scouts of Central Texas spokeswoman Kandace Fierro. That's out of 700 million boxes sold nationwide.

This year, local sales started Jan. 20 and run through Feb. 26, with eight varieties at $3.50 per box. Seventy-five percent of that money funds troop activities and science and environmental programs, Fierro said. The rest pays for what's in the box.

Speaking of what's in those boxes, what do you do with the $35 worth of Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Caramel deLites the neighbor's moppet charmed you into buying (besides eating them a box at a time during "American Idol")? Try blending them into homemade ice cream, crushing them over grilled chicken or tossing them with fried shrimp for sweetness and texture.

Two of these recipes call for Samoas and Do-Si-Dos, cookie names you'll either recall fondly from your childhood or find completely confusing. Those recipes come from Little Brownie Bakers, one of two companies licensed to make Girl Scout cookies. In Central Texas, where Girl Scout cookies are produced by ABC Bakers, those cookies are called Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Sandwiches. The chocolate-covered Peanut Butter Patties here are called Tagalongs in other markets.

Shortbread cookies? If you're from out of town, you might remember them as Trefoils.

But the two companies are in perfect sync on the name for the Girl Scouts' No. 1 seller. Whether you're in Marble Falls or Milwaukee, a Thin Mint is a Thin Mint.

If you don't already have a niece or cubicle-mate with a color-coded sales sheet, find one of more than a thousand folding tables near you with the booth locator at www.gsctx.org.

msutter@statesman.com; 912-5902

Peanut Thai Chicken

This recipe comes from Little Brownie Bakers and calls for that company's version of the Girl Scout peanut butter cookies called Do-Si-Dos. In Central Texas, where Girl Scout cookies are made by ABC Bakers, the cookies are called Peanut Butter Sandwiches.

8 crushed Do-Si-Dos (Peanut Butter Sandwich ) Girl Scout cookies

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins

Teriyaki glaze (this and the peanut sauce below are available in jars in the Asian-food aisles of most grocery stores)

Thai peanut sauce

Cooked rice noodles or fettuccine

Grill chicken tenderloins on wooden skewers, brushing occasionally with teriyaki glaze. Serve chicken tenderloins with four crushed cookies sprinkled on top.

Mix remaining cookie crumbs with peanut sauce. Pour peanut sauce over chicken and noodles, or as side dipping sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream

This recipe from ABC Bakers is easiest when it's poured into an ice cream maker. But in the true Girl Scout spirit, ABC also suggests do-it-yourself alternatives, such as pouring the mixture into a quart-sized sealable plastic bag, then placing that bag into a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag layered with ice and rock salt and shaking it like mad. The same idea might also work by slipping a 13-ounce coffee can full of ice cream mixture into a 39-ounce coffee can layered with ice and rock salt, then shaking. The recipe makes enough for three quarts in an ice-cream maker. Or for motivated shakers, three quart-sized bags or two 13-ounce coffee cans.

3 quarts whole milk

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

1 cup sugar

1 package white-chocolate instant pudding mix

3/4 tube of Thin Mint cookies, crushed

Rock salt

Ice

Mix all ingredients except salt and ice in ice cream maker's chamber, 1-quart sealable plastic bag or 13-oz. coffee can and close tightly.

Put the container into a larger one (ice cream maker, 1-gallon sealable plastic bag or 39-oz. coffee can, respectively) and add a mixture of ice and salt in layers.

Turn on or shake until ice cream is frozen. Let sit for a few minutes to freeze up completely.

Fried Samoas Shrimp

Another recipe from Little Brownie Bakers, this one calls for Samoas. In Central Texas, those cookies are called Caramel deLites and are made by ABC Bakers.

5 extra-large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

5 Girl Scout Samoas (Caramel deLites) cookies, finely chopped

2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

2 cups flour

1 cup coconut flakes

4 egg whites

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 lime for garnish

Vegetable or peanut oil for frying

Toss coconut flakes with bread crumbs, cayenne pepper and chopped cookies. Dredge shrimp through flour, followed by egg whites and cookie mixture.

Fry shrimp in vegetable oil at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Garnish with coconut flakes and lime wedges.