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The cookies are here!

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Tasty Girl Scout treats come around once a year

By Greg Summers

On March 12, Girl Scouts will celebrate its 100th anniversary.          And for a little more than 80 of those years, many of their troop activities have been funded by selling cookies. 

Those cookies – Thin Mints, Shortbreads, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades, Shout Outs, Thanks–A–Lots and Caramel deLites – become household words this time of year.

From an economic impact, the cookie program generated $769 million in 2011, making it the largest girl-led business in the country.

Despite the sluggish economy, local cookie sales remain steady, said Cherie Ellis, community development manager for Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands.

Mountains to the Midlands serves about 12,600 girls, K5-12, in 22 South Carolina counties, including Lancaster.

Although it will be some time before all the numbers are in, Ellis said door-to-door pre-sales are about 2 percent ahead of last year.   

“It’s a testament to the way this community supports Girl Scouts as an organization,” Ellis said. “We’ve been sort of waiting for it to drop, but it hasn’t.”

Ellis said the cookies for soldiers program remains strong. Last year, the local Girl Scouts council distributed more than 49,000 boxes of cookies to those in the military overseas.

Aside from care packages sent by family members and friends, special treats like Girl Scout cookies are at a premium for U.S. troops deployed across the globe. Girl Scout cookies are one of the most requested items by military personnel.

“There is still a lot of local support,” she said. “It’s a really good way to give back.”

However, there is more to selling Girl Scout cookies than raising money. 

The cookie program gives each girl a hand at running her own business.

“When customers buy Girl Scout cookies, it not only satisfies their sweet tooth, but it provides girls a practical, hands-on opportunity to learn about money management in ways they can understand,” said Kim Hutzell, president and CEO of Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to the Midlands. “This creates a critical foundation for girls to develop financial literacy that’s essential to lifelong financial independence.”

Girls learn by setting goals, making decisions, managing money, sharpening people skills and learning business ethics.

“This creates a critical foundation for girls to develop financial literacy that’s essential to lifelong financial independence,” Hutzell said.

The initial ordering period is over, but local Girl Scouts will be selling cookies at booths around Lancaster until March 24.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these Girl Scout cookies straight from the box with a glass of milk. But if you’d like to experiment, they are great ingredients in desserts. Here are two two to try. Chocolate Thanks-A-Lot Éclair is a no-bake treat. If you have any Carmel deLites left, make the most of them with this Chocolate-Coconut Brownies recipe.

 

Chocolate-Coconut Brownies

Ingredients

1 box chocolate 2-layer cake mix

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1-1/4 cups caramel sauce

One (7-ounce) box Caramel deLites Girl Scout Cookies, crushed and divided

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13 inch pan. 

– Combine cake mix, butter and evaporated milk. Pour half of the mixture in the pan. Bake for 6 minutes and remove from oven. 

– Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over warm cake. Drizzle 3/4 cup caramel over chips. Next add half the cookie crumbs. Top with the rest of the cake batter. Bake for 10 more minutes. 

– Drizzle cake with remaining caramel sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie crumbs on top.

– Recipe from baking.about.com

 

Chocolate Thanks-A-Lot Éclair

Ingredients

1 package Thanks-A-Lot cookies, crush and divided into three parts.

1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (16-ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting

Directions

– Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with one-third of the Thanks-A-Lot cookies. 

– In a large bowl, combine pudding mix and milk and beat with a hand mixer. Stir whipped topping into pudding mixture and beat again. 

– Spread half of mixture over cookie layer. Top with another layer of Thanks-A-Lot cookies and the remaining pudding. Top all with a final layer of Thanks-A-Lot cookies and frost with chocolate frosting. Refrigerate until serving.

NOTE: If the frosting is too stiff, add a little milk, stir well and heat frosting for about 20-30 seconds in a microwave oven. That will make it pour easily to form the top layer.

– Recipe from ABC Bakers, adapted by Gregory A. Summers