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Learning life skills

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Girl Scouts hone business know-how with annual cookie sale

By Greg Summers

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a fan of Girl Scout cookies. Not that I eat them (that much); gastric bypass took care of any affinity for sweets that I have several years ago.

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But I am a fan. Imagine the surprise when I recently walked in and found two boxes on my desk, wrapped together with a bow, along with a note from Cherie Ellis, community development manager for the Mountains to Midlands division of the Girl Scouts of South Carolina.

The Peanut Butter Patties were placed on the newsroom alter, where they almost immediately disappeared.

However, the box of Lemonades (a shortbread cookie with tangy lemon icing) were discreetly taken outside and placed inside my pickup for my daughter, Betty Jo.

That box has hence disappeared. I never saw it again after I walked in the house and handed it to her that day.

But that’s fine; I think there are at least two more yellow boxes in the top of the Kelvinator. There is also a green one (Thin Mints), a red one (Peanut Butter Patties), a blue one (Shortbread) and at least one more purple box (Caramel deLites). There were two, but one of them were used to make the Super Samoa Surprise recipe on Page 2B.

There is also an orange box (Peanut Butter Sandwiches) in the cabinet that Betty Jo just showed me.

“Dad, these were the ones that I was talking about that you forgot to buy, so Mom got ‘em” she said. “It wasn’t the red kind.”

You know, I’m really having trouble buying into the recent news that Girl Scout cookies orders have crumbled due to a tough economy.

While initial orders of Girl Scout cookie appear to be down by about 10 percent in some areas of the country, they haven’t been that way here.

Sharon Hewitt, director of product sales here, said the 22-county area in central and western South Carolina saw a 15 percent increase in presales.

I attribute the increase to the sales pitch of Girl Scouts like Brooke Mullens. Brooke, a member of Brownie  Troop 64 and a third grader at Buford Elementary School, presold 450 boxes of cookies this year.

While the annual cookie sale generates funds to pay for local Girl Scout programs and training, it also has another purpose.

It is part of the Girl Scout Business Entrepreneur and Financial Literacy program. Through the cookie sale, the girls learn how to set goals, manage money, work together as a team and develop communication skills by becoming saleswomen.

I admit I was an easy mark; so easy that the only thing Brooke’s mom, Kim Mullens, had to do was hand me the order form.

Talk about ESP and communication skills, all I did was say, “Kim, I need to see you.” She didn’t say a word, she just handed me the form.

With each box selling for $3.50, that means that Brooke generated presales of $1,575 this year, which is quite an accomplishment for an 8-year-old entrepreneur.  

She isn’t alone. Girl Scouts from all the troops in Lancaster are at it, too.

Cookies still available

If you missed ordering Girl Scout cookies this year, you can still get them at the following locations through this weekend; Food Lion on Airport Road and Indian Land, Bantam Chef in Kershaw, Bi-Lo, Catawba Fish Camp, Chick-fil-A, Cotton Cole’s Auction Barn, Mully’s Restaurant, Small’s Food Center, Wagon Wheel, Wal-Mart and Wendy’s in Indian Land.

If you’re looking for some other way to enjoy them beside of out of the box, then try Super Samoa Surprise, which uses Caramel DeLites as a crust. Super Samoa Surprise took first place honors in a Girl Scout recipe contest in Louisiana.

If you don’t have the Caramel DeLites needed to make it, I’m sure Brooke can round up a box. The youngster is trying her best to sell 1,000 boxes and has sold about 650 so far.

With Brooke’s selling skills, I’m fairly sure where a few more of those boxes will end up.

I’m an easy mark.

– Greg Summers is features editor of The Lancaster News

Super Samoa Surprise

Ingredients

1 box of Girl Scout Samoas (Caramel deLites) cookies

2 boxes of coconut cream pudding, instant or cooked

3/4 cup flaked, sweetened coconut

1 ounce bittersweet chocolateee

1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon creamee

3-1/2 cups milk

Directions

To make the crust

– Break up 14 Girl Scout Samoa (Caramel deLites) cookies and place them in a food processor. Process until the cookies are evenly crumbled. Press into a 10-inch pie plate. Refrigerate for an hour (or more).

To make the filling

– Make the pudding using the directions for pie filling on the box. If it’s cooked pudding, let cool until warm instead of hot, stirring every five or 10 minutes to avoid leaving a “skin” on the pudding. When it has cooled sufficiently, pour it into the chilled pie crust. If it is instant pudding, you may pour it directly into the chilled pie after mixing.

To make the topping

– Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

– Spread the coconut flakes on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Stir the coconut every couple minutes until it is evenly browned. This should take about 10 minutes or less. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top of the filling in the crust and refrigerate while you make the chocolate drizzle.

To make the chocolate drizzle

– Place the chocolate in a microwave-proof dish. Microwave at half power for 60 seconds. Add the butter and microwave again at half power for another 30 to 60 seconds, stirring to mix the melted chocolate. Continue microwaving and stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and mixed with the butter. Add the cream and mix well. Drizzle over the toasted coconut or put in a decorating bag and pipe on in any design you wish. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight.

– Recipe from Junior Girl Scout Troop 362 in Northeast Louisiana