Girl Scout Cookies as an ingredient

The Thin Mint Cookie Truffle I just devoured

My daughter joined Girl Scouts this year, meaning I am having my first Girl Scout Cookie sales experience since the mid 1980s.

The sales setup is different this year. The girls get the goods up front rather than taking orders and delivering a month later. That means I’m hauling bags and boxes of cookies everywhere I go. I’ve been opening a little Girl Scout Cookie store at my desk every day this week. If my co-workers have a mid-afternoon sugar crash, I can fix ‘em up for just $3.50.

I’m fairly obsessed at the moment with the idea this year of using the cookies as ingredients rather than snacks. Girl Scout Cookies are good on their own, sure, but they can be re-purposed into something even better, as I’ve learned each year when judging Cocktails & Cookies, a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

I’m a judge again this year for the event, which is scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center. It asks local chefs to create fabulous desserts using Girl Scout Cookies as a base, then a panel of judges chooses who did it best. There have been some pretty amazing inventions over the years, including the lemon cookie truffles that Kelly Dugan of Velvet Cream Bakery won with in 2012.

My co-worker Melanie used the Thin Mints I sold her on Monday to make these amazing Thin Mint Cookie Truffles, shown above. They were deadly good, and used only four ingredients.

Tickets to Cocktails & Cookies, which also offers It includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, sweet cocktails and more, are $100 a person. Get them here.

Teeny, tiny, tasty

manawokdiningroomWhy do I love teeny tiny restaurants that serve good food? Is it because they’re cute and tiny, like puppies? Or because the teeny tininess of them makes me feel like I’ve discovered a true hole-in-the-wall treasure?

Earlier this year, a friend introduced me to Manna Wok, a delicious little (emphasis on the little) Korean place at 4865 E. Harry. This place is tiny — so tiny it has room for only eight tables and only two people standing up at the same time. (I’m exaggerating on that last part, but it is a weeeee little place.)

The food, however, is big on flavor, especially the Korean dishes such as beef bul go kee, shown here. mannawokbeef

Manna Wok has been in business for 18 years, and the dining room is plastered with pictures of people enjoying meals there. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and offers lunch specials.

Today I met Cat Poland, the marketing and communications manager for Girl Scouts KS, for lunch at Manna Wok. I had the beef bul go kee, which is incredible. She had what looked like an equally incredible shrimp with ginger sauce. manawokphotos

(Cat and I, by the way, were meeting to talk about a very cool restaurant event she helps to organize called Cocktails & Cookies. It’s a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, and I’m going to emcee the event at the Marriott on March 3).

Other teeny tiny restaurants I love: El Patio at 424 E. Central and Thai Five at 1523 S. Seneca.