Appetizers

Girl Scout cookies key to this contest

Cookie-loving cooks are invited to enter the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, using their favorite Girl Scout cookie as an ingredient.
Cookie-loving cooks are invited to enter the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, using their favorite Girl Scout cookie as an ingredient.

As orders start streaming in, the Girl Scouts rolled out another tweak to their annual cookie campaign.

In addition to offering online cookie sales for the first time, the Girl Scouts are holding their first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe contest. Sponsored by Taste of Home magazine, the contest is open to both professional and home cooks of all ages and offers cash prizes up to $500. Deadline for recipe submission is March 2.

This contest isn’t looking for more cookie recipes, but recipes that use Girl Scout cookies as a key ingredient such as this Peppermint Chip Cheesecake. This recipe uses Thin Mints for a chocolaty crust.

All four contest categories could be lumped under “dessert”:

▪ Cakes, pies, cupcakes;

▪ Cookies, brownies, bars;

▪ Pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts; and

▪ Candies.

Experts at the Taste of Home test kitchen will select four finalists from each category for a total of 16. The champion cookie-inspired recipe will be selected by the public. From March 30 to April 14, cookie fans can vote for their favorite recipe at www.girlscouts.org/recipecontest. That’s also the website to find the complete rules.

The grand prize winner and recipe will be featured in Taste of Home magazine.

“Each year, we see so many excited cookie fans share their own recipes using Girl Scout Cookies via social media and more, so we figured it was high time to do something with all this positive energy,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “The creative possibilities are endless, just like the number of ways girls use their cookie money to give back to their local communities.”

Meanwhile, cookie sales are gearing up in this annual campaign with proceeds expected to reach nearly $800 million. National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, usually held in early February, will be Feb. 27 to March 1 this year. That’s when troops will be out in force with their familiar Trefoils, Do-si-dos and Thin Mints as well as some new flavors: whole grain Cranberry Citrus Crisps, oatmeal Rah Rah Raisin and (in limited test markets) gluten-free Trios.

Looking for cookies? Connect with your neighborhood troop via www.girlscoutcookies.org.

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

Thin Mints create the crust of this very minty twist on cheesecake. The optional green color is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day — or Girl Scout events.

Makes 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

For crust:

1 package (10 ounces) Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, crushed

3 tablespoons butter, melted

For filling:

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

5 teaspoons cornstarch

3 to 4 drops green food coloring, optional

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolk; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the cream, extracts and food coloring if desired. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Recipe adapted from GirlScouts.org.

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