We're drooling over the winning treats from the National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest
We love Girl Scout cookies in all their forms, whether Frappuccino, ice cream, donut, or au naturale. But in case you were looking for even more new ways to devour the delicious treats, don’t worry: the Girl Scouts of the USA have your back. Thanks to the first ever National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, we now have a plethora of new ideas for any leftover cookies you might have lying around (we know it’s unlikely, but just in case). The contest, in partnership with food magazine Taste of Home, aimed to inspire young women to show off their skills in the kitchen and get creative with some already well-loved desserts — and the just-announced winning recipes have us drooling at our desks.
Stephanie Salmento, a 15-year-old Girl Scout from Pennsylvania, won the grand prize (and the Cookies/Brownies/Bars category) for her Delightful Caramel Bars, which included both Shortbread cookies (or Trefoils) and Samoas (or Caramel deLites). Along with the title of Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Master (which we just made up), Salmento won $500 and a feature in Taste of Home for the treats. She says the prize money will most likely go towards college, even though she’d prefer to use it for her Sweet Sixteen — but either way, she’s super excited by the win.
“My family has a recipe called caramel fudge bars, which was the basis for these,” Salmento told ABC News. “We switched out the top and the bottom layers but then there are also chocolate chips and melted caramels.”
You had us at the first “caramel,” Stephanie. The whole recipe is only six ingredients, as well; so even those of us less skilled in the kitchen (ahem) can whip up a batch no problem. We couldn’t be happier for Salmento, and we think the win is well-deserved.
“It was really awesome because there are so many people,” she continued. “And then I found out I was the only current Girl Scout, which made it really nice because I felt like I was representing the community of Girl Scouts.”
Salmento told People she created the recipe specifically for the contest and had a ton of fun making it. Plus, she couldn’t wait to add the win to her resumé — in case you needed more proof that girls are amazing and smart and ready to take on the world.
The other winners of the contest included Rosalia Roger for her Lemon Shortbread Cheesecake (winner of the Cakes/Pies/Cupcakes category), Michele Kusma for her Nutty Caramel Turtles (winnter of the Candies category), and Leilani Smith for her Shortbread Fudge Tiramisu (winner of the Pudding/Ice-cream/Gelatin Desserts category) — but we think all of the finalists deserve a round of applause for their tasty confections.
We’ve included the grand prize-winning recipe below, but you can head over to the Girl Scouts’ site for the other winners’ and finalists’ recipes.
Delightful Caramel Bars
Makes two dozen bars
Prep: 25 minutes Bake: 15 minutes + cooling
1 package (9 ounces) shortbread/Trefoils, divided
⅓ cup butter, melted
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
8 Caramel deLites/Samoas cookies, coarsely chopped
¼ cup evaporated milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 12 Shortbreads in a food processor; pulse until crushed. Reserve for topping.
2. Place remaining Shortbread/Trefoils cookies in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter; pulse until blended. Press onto bottom of an ungreased 9-in.-square baking pan. Layer with chocolate chips and chopped Samoas cookies.
3. In a large saucepan, combine caramels and milk. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted. Pour over Samoas cookies; sprinkle with reserved crushed Shortbread/Trefoils cookies. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.