Tea of the Week: Bigelow’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Herbal Tea

Knock, knock, knock. And there they are…Girl Scouts, with their adorable smiling faces, asking if you’d like to buy just a few boxes of cookies.

It’s a daunting dilemma having Girl Scouts show up at your front door, especially if you’re trying to watch your calories. You don’t actually want to tell the sweet little girls “no,” do you? For those of you who feel my pain, there’s hope for us and it comes in the form of tea…more specifically, Girl Scout Thin Mints Tea!

In partnership with the Girl Scouts of America, Bigelow Tea Company launched its cookie-flavored teas earlier this year. As the operator of the largest working tea plantation in the US, leave it to Bigelow Tea to come up with a distinctively all-American tea flavor to delight the young at heart. On top of that, Cindi Bigelow, the third-generation President of the companywas once a proud Girl Scout herself!

Next year, I’m hoping that the Girl Scouts come knocking on my door with both cookies and tea. How great would that be? In the meantime (for those of us in the US), be on the lookout at your local grocery stores. Like the cookies, Thin Mints Herbal Tea is a seasonal offering, so it’s a great idea to stock up while you can!Tasting Notes for Bigelow’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Herbal Tea:

BREWING TIPS:  Brew at 212 degrees F for 4 minutes. This tea brews dark and strong quickly so keep an eye out while it’s steeping.
THE BLEND:  A mix of peppermint, chicory, rose hips, licorice root, low-fat alkalized cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavors, and other natural flavors.
THE SCENT:  Of soft, bright peppermint with hints of rich caramel.
THE STEEP:  The color is dark chocolate brown, like coffee! Each sip starts with the smooth taste of chocolate followed by mild mintiness. The chocolate and mint flavors are well-balanced where one doesn’t overwhelm the other. This is great served on its own if you want to taste more of its peppermint base. Enjoy it with a splash of milk to highlight its rich, deep, chocolate flavors. I like the taste of this brew hot, not cold.
GET IT:  The tea is available in grocery stores during the months of March, April, and May this year. It can also be found on Amazon, but not at the Bigelow site. I found my tea at Sprouts, alongside Caramel and Coconut, the tea version of Caramel deLights (a.k.a. Samoas)!
FOOD PAIRING:  Since this is caffeine-free, refreshingly minty, and inspired by cookies, it’s ideal as a substitute for dessert. If you want to indulge, serve this with anything chocolatey like Chocolate Petit Fours, Homemade Chocolate Pocky, or those leftover Thin Mints parked in your freezer (are there any left!?). The touch of mint makes this tea a delicious partner to a few pieces of dark chocolate. This is also great for the calorie conscious who are craving a taste of Thin Mint Cookies minus the guilt.

DIY French Macaron Tower

French macarons are so lovely, it’s hard to imagine them more perfect than they already are by themselves.  Walking around the streets of Paris, patisseries showcase their beautiful macarons with whimsical little macaron towers, which officially transform cookie into art.  If you are looking for a conversation piece for your next party, try this DIY macaron tower. With just a bit of effort, you can create your own stunning masterpiece.

Some simple items you’ll need to make your macaron tower

Items for DIY Macaron Tower

1.)  Styrofoam cone (9″ tall with 3 3/4″ diameter base)

2.)  Toothpicks

3.)  Store-bought white icing (I used Wilton, which is a bit thicker than other brands)

4.)  One wooden chopstick

5.)  Unsweetened shredded coconut (about 1 cup)

6.)  24-30 1.5″ macarons, depending on size, and a few extra just incase of cracks or mistakes

7.)  An attractive pedestal or plate for serving

Slather the cone with an even, thick coating of white frosting, then unsweetened shredded coconut

Slather the cone with an even, thick coating of white frosting, then shredded coconut

You first want to insert the wooden chopstick at the top of the foam cone.  This will help prevent frosting from getting all over your hands, and will also help with transferring the tower over to the pedestal when it is complete.  Working atop a large piece of parchment paper will help during this process.

Slather the entire foam cone with a thick, even layer of the white icing, then gently press unsweetened shredded coconut over the iced surface.  I prefer to use unsweetened coconut instead of sweetened because it is less tacky/sticky to work with, and because gives a more natural look.  If you prefer, you can also move the prepared cone directly to the serving pedestal at this time before attaching the macarons.

Start at the base of the cone…

Insert toothpicks…

And repeat!

When starting to create the tower, insert toothpicks about 3/4″ above the bottom base of the cone.  After placing the first macaron, try to visually estimate the number of macarons that will fit around the entire base, so that you can space them evenly around the cone.  For extra stability, place toothpicks at a 45 degree angle from the surface of the cone, facing upwards.  You want to insert the toothpick in until only about a 1/2″ is showing, then attach or “pierce” the macaron onto tower.  Continue this process until you reach the top!

Setting the stage

To showcase your masterpiece, choose the most attractive pedestal or platter that you have. I filled the base of my pedestal with some Sixlets candies in a robin’s egg blue color.  I then transferred my macaron tower over to the pedestal using a large spatula, just to make sure I wouldn’t get any crumbs on my pedestal base.  It is also possible to add the macarons onto the tower after the cone has already been placed on the pedestal.

If you feel it is necessary, use leftover icing to adhere the foam base to your pedestal.  I like the effect of a simple macaron tower in a few beautiful colors, but you can embellish your tower with a large bow, small ribbons, or other small candies.  Again, use the extra white icing as glue to affix the decorations.  Above all, let your creative inspiration run wild…good luck!

And the inspiration…Laduree’s storefront

Additional Tips for Making Your Macaron Tower:

1.  Only use sturdy, intact macarons with fillings that aren’t the least bit runny.  Please check out my tips for making your macaron fillings less runny.  Thickened fillings equals prettier towers!

2. If 1 toothpick doesn’t work, use 2, slightly separated from one another (Example:  1″ apart for a 1 1/2″ macaron).  This works best for macarons that are softer and don’t have a strong shell.

3.  Pipe a dab of store-bought frosting or royal icing on the backside of the macaron and another dab on the place on the cone you are attaching the macaron to for extra security (or if your macaron has cracks and isn’t as sturdy anymore).

4.  This tower is best made in cooler weather as macaron fillings can start melting/running if it’s too warm.  Warm weather will lessen the stability of the tower.

5.  Place the tower in its final serving location and on its final serving platter before decorating so you won’t have to worry about moving it later!

And if you are a fan of Laduree macarons, you’re probably a fan of their teas too.  The Melange Laduree and Jardin bleu Royal blends are two of my favorites…please check out my reviews here!