Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge

They are as much of an American tradition as apple pie – Samoas, Thin Mints and the chocolate-coated, peanut butter-filled Tagalongs. Girl Scout cookies, around over 100 years, have become the must-have dessert this season.

In Arizona, chefs are reimagining the traditional Girl Scout cookies – and whipping up their own versions of the timeless classics. #DessertChallenge was started by the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council troop five years ago and as part of the competition, chefs are turning the famous cookies into shakes, cakes and even pops, with an added twist. At least 25 local restaurants in the state are participating in the challenge, and others are on a waiting list to join in.

“The dessert challenge has been incredibly popular,” Viviana Reyes, Girl Scouts Innovation Manager-Latino community, said. “It is a really big deal for us. We get really excited with all these amazing creations. Chefs are so creative and they just do such an amazing job of using the Girl Scout cookie to make something that’s really unique and specific to their restaurants.”

Proceeds from the desserts sold from the #DessertChallenge go to the Girl Scouts. Last year, the Girl Scouts raised $20,000 from the challenge, a spokesperson said. The restaurant that sells the most desserts wins the challenge.

And the challenge is on.

Aioli Gourmet Burgers in Phoenix used the Tagalongs to make the “Tagalong – You’re It – Premier Milk Shake.” It’s a milkshake with dolce de leche, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, whipped cream and the cookies blended in.

“It’s such a great cookie that we just wanted to enhance its flavors and put it inside of a milkshake,” Stephen Pucci, Aioli Gourmet Burgers sous chef, said. “It’s always been a big thing for us to be able to give back to the Girl Scout community and having our own twist on it from a culinary perspective and background—being able to give back to the girls that have helped out communities around us so much. That’s just something we’re trying to back them with, as well as their great flavor of cookies.”

Proof at Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North created a “Thin Mint Chocolate Brownie Pie with Thin Mint Cookie Ice.” They also offer Thin Mint ice cream.

The Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scouts said the #DessertChallenge program is not just for Arizona sous chefs. Program leaders said anyone could embrace their inner-chef at home and share their Girl Scout Cookie dessert dish on social media using the hashtag #DessertChallenge.

The group plans to use proceeds for a $15 million project to renovate a girls’ leadership center. It also goes to support the Girl Scout programs, such as summer camps and STEM programming.

Read original article here to read more about the girl scout cookie challenge, and find participating restaurants in the Valley here.