Maybe I'm an easy mark, but when it comes to ice cream no two words inspire me to reach for my debit card faster than "limited edition." Combine ice cream and Girl Scout cookies and you've captured my complete attention.
This weekend marked the last time, until next year, you'll see Girl Scouts camped out in front of your local grocery store selling surplus stock of their signature cookies. Girl Scout cookies have been a longtime weakness of mine—and a dangerous one as I've been known to consider an entire sleeve of cookies a proper serving size. I even like to stockpile them in the freezer.
There's something about that limited window of availability (from late-February through mid-March) that ramps up their appeal for me. Just knowing I have a box of Thin Mints (which, like Junior Mints, only benefit from being eaten straight from the freezer) squirreled away brings me peace.
Dreyer's (the manufacturer is known as Dreyer's west of the Rockies and in Texas, and branded as Edy's in the Eastern United States) first teamed up with the Girl Scouts in 1997 to introduce a Thin Mints ice cream and now feature three limited-edition flavors (available January through April) based on the most popular Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs (Samoas and Thin Mints are also available as part of Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Light line).
You would hope the marriage of ice cream and Girl Scout cookies would be a knockout, but, while delicious, none of the ice creams truly replicate the taste sensation of the actual cookie. When you're navigating your way through a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream there's nothing like unearthing a buried treasure of nearly intact frozen Oreo. But that never quite happens with these.
You might stumble across the occasional cookie fragment, but for the most part the cookies themselves have been smashed to barely recognizable bits and seem like an afterthought rather than the star of the show.
The one that comes closest to the real thing is the Tagalong flavor—the thick ribbons of peanut butter and fudge capture the primary flavors of the source material. The Samoa flavor (caramel ice cream with fudge) is fine, but the caramel is barely detectable. Maybe it would be even better with a coconut ice cream base streaming with caramel and fudge?
And the Thin Mint—the least ostentatious of the bunch—just doesn't pack enough mint or chocolate flavor to live up to the reputation of the actual cookie.
In the end, simply crumbling up some frozen Girl Scout cookies over a bowl of your favorite ice cream seems like the best path to a perfect union of ice cream and cookie. Or you can take this approach to the next level with homemade Thin Mints and a spoonful or two of hot fudge sauce.
About the author: Brad Thomas Parsons is a writer living in Seattle. He has interviewed many of the food world's biggest names, including David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Danny Meyer, Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis, among others. He is currently at work on his first book, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails and Recipes.
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