You know that feeling, on a summer day, after you’ve been in an over-air-conditioned restaurant or movie theatre, when you walk out into the warm sunshine and close your eyes, finally, utterly content?
That’s how I felt when the Girl Scouts let me have a sneak-peak and tasting of the newest concoction at the 2012 State Fair of Texas – the Fried Samoa.
The traditional Samoa Girl Scout cookie is wrapped in a wonton and refrigerated overnight. It’s then flash-fried in 400-degree oil for about a minute, then drizzled with warm caramel and chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. The consistency is similar to a puff pastry but the delicate crunch remains.
“I wanted it to mimic the outside of the cookie,” said Christi Erpillo, who developed the creation with her sister Johnna McKee.
“It’s like seeing your daughter in a wedding dress,” Johnna told me. “When it’s just right you say, ‘this is it, we don’t need to do anything else to it.’”
Johnna’s mom, Wanda Winter, also known as Fernie around the fairground’s Dock Restaurant, brought funnel cakes to the fair more than 30 years ago.
“I went into labor making funnel cakes,” joked Johnna, who calls herself the CFO: Chief Financial Officer and Christi the CFO: Chief Frying Officer of the operation.
“All my kids and grandkids have grown up at the fair,” Miss Wanda told me while enjoying her own Fried Samoa. “They know everybody and everybody knows them. The fair is in their blood.”
The family and The Dock have had plenty of fried creations over the years, most notably Fernie’s Deep Fried Peaches & Cream. Christi was a Girl Scout and says it feels good to give back to the organization.
“Christi is very particular,” said Johnna. “That’s why she’s won the Big Tex Choice Award and so many other honors. Our family’s motto is ‘Don’t serve something you wouldn’t eat yourself.’”
If you want to taste Girl Scout cookies in their traditional form, samples will be available at “The 100th Girl Scout Experience,” a hands-on exhibit at the State Fair this fall. You can also visit a replica of the Savannah home of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low, walk through a giant cookie box, see a computer-generated troop & campfire, and watch a documentary on the Girl Scouts through the ages. Daily events at 5:30 pm will feature authors, dancers and guest speakers.