As revealed on Sunday’s Weekend TODAY, 15-year-old Girl Scout Stephanie Salmento is the grand prize winner of the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, Sponsored by Taste of Home, the world’s leading food magazine. Stephanie’s recipe, Delightful Caramel Bars, which used Samoas/Caramel deLites and Shortbread/Trefoil Girl Scout Cookies as ingredients, received the most consumer votes of all the 16 finalist recipes.
The contest, which kicked off in February, invited cooking enthusiasts of all ages and levels to submit dessert recipes using the iconic cookies as ingredients in four categories: (1) cakes, pies, cupcakes, (2) cookies, brownies, bars, (3) pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts, and (4) candies. The experts in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen reviewed and tested the recipes, selecting the top 16—4 from each category—based on taste, visual appeal, creativity, and crowd appeal. Once the finalists were selected, the public voted for their favorites online.
“Our cookie program empowers girls to develop financial, business, and people skills so they are prepared to be the female leaders of tomorrow,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “So I’m not surprised that, out of all the recipes submitted, a Girl Scout’s recipe was voted number one! Girl Scouts are creative, innovative, and ready to lead. If you give them an opportunity, they’ll take it.”
As the grand prize winner, Stephanie will receive a $500 cash prize and a spotlight feature in Taste of Home. Stephanie is a Girl Scout Senior from Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.
“I’m so excited to be the grand prize winner,” said Stephanie. “I created this recipe specifically for this contest, and it has been so much fun. Plus, now I can put this on my resume and show off my skills outside of school!”
The other three winners are: Rosalia Roger from Nebraska (Lemon Shortbread Cheesecake) in the cakes, pies, cupcakes category; Michele Kusma from Ohio (Nutty Caramel Turtles) in the candies category; and Leilani Smith from Texas (Shortbread Fudge Tiramisu) in the pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts category.
“We were overwhelmed by both the enthusiasm and sheer number of entries we received as part of this first-ever National Girl Scout Recipe Contest,” said Taste of Home editor-in-chief, Catherine Cassidy. “The Taste of Home team enjoyed working closely with both GSUSA and the fabulous Milwaukee-area Girl Scouts who visited us while we were hard at work in our test kitchen. Being a Girl Scout alumna, I have very fond memories of my cookie-selling days. Having the Girl Scouts in our test kitchen and tasting the delicious Girl Scout cookie recipes was a big treat for me.”
The full recipes from all 16 finalists—including delectable treats like Thin Mints Popcorn and Touch of Coconut Baklava—are available at http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/cookie_recipe_contest.asp. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org/join.