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6th Annual Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge


February 1-28

22 venues in Central and Northern Arizona


Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) is pleased to announce the return of its award-winning Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge. For the sixth year in a row, chefs from some of the state’s most popular restaurants will use their culinary prowess to re-imagine one of the beloved flavors of Girl Scout Cookies – Do-Si-Dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Trefoils and Savannah Smiles – into a custom dessert menu item.

“We’ve been calling this year’s challenge the ‘extra-sweet sixth’ because it perfectly aligns with the six levels of Girl Scouting, six weeks of local cookie sales and six super popular cookie flavors,” says Susan de Queljoe, senior associate of marketing and communications for GSACPC.

Each restaurant has agreed to feature its dessert on their menu from February 1 to February 28, 2019, with a portion of the proceeds from each dessert sold directly supporting Girl Scouting in Arizona.

“GSACPC is thrilled that both Rusconi’s American Kitchen and The Thumb are taking part again. They’ve been with us for all six years and are major supporters as a result,” says de Queljoe. “It’s also so inspiring to see Original Gravity, PNPK, ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, The Herb Box and Lovecraft taking part since they are all either proud woman-owned businesses or have female chefs in the kitchen.”

In addition, de Queljoe notes that Little America – now in its third year of the challenge – has a special reason for participating: Chef Vanessa Ronspies was a Girl Scout as a girl!

“And of course, it is always fun welcoming first-time challengers. This year, Jake’s Unlimited, Babbo Italian Eatery and The Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen are among those participating for the first time,” says de Queljoe.

Beyond conceptualizing, creating and offering the desserts on their menus, this year the chefs are also partnering with the Girl Scouts on several enhanced elements of the challenge.

“Last year, we got the idea to have a few girls join us in the kitchen to see all the moving parts that goes into both running a restaurant and delivering food to the table,” says chef Lance Whipple of Proof at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North. “It was such a hit that we are hosting ‘Girl Scout Field Trips’ with some local troops this year to really get them excited about the art, math and science behind what we do. Maybe there are even a few future chefs in our mix!”

Similarly, Aioli Gourmet Burgers, ZuZu, PNPK and others will bring girls behind the scenes this cookie season.

“Several of our partners are helping troops to set up formal boothing stations outside their venues, allowing our girls to sell cookies in what is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world: Girl Scout Cookie Season,” says de Queljoe.

In year’s past, the Dessert Challenge Champion was decided by dessert sales. This year, the Council is hosting a poll.

“Finally, we’re introducing a public voting component. Diners simply go to our website to select their favorite dessert. The venue with the most votes at the end of the Challenge will become the 2019 Champion, which comes with a pretty neat trophy and bragging rights, of course,” says de Queljoe.

All the chefs hope not only to raise critical funds to support local Girl Scouting, but also to inspire home cooks across Arizona to buy an extra box or two this Girl Scout Cookie season to create their own desserts, too.

Participating restaurants and their creative desserts are:

Aioli Gourmet Burgers

Cookie: Samoas
Years Participating: 2
Dessert designer: Executive Chef Tom D'Ambrosio
Dessert: Samoa Cannoli. Chef D'Ambrosio received his inspiration from his Italian upbringing and love of Cannolis. He thought why not combine both his favorite cookie with his favorite Italian pastry. The Samoa Cannoli is a crispy cannolli shell dipped in milk chocolate and toasted coconut, filled with Samoa cookies, mascarpone cream and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce.
Cost: $3.50

32 Shea

Cookie: Thin Mints
Years Participating: 2
Dessert Designer: Chef Javier Carballada
Dessert: Divine Mintspiration, a layered dessert "mintspired" by 32 Shea's signature Nutella Cheesecake. This sweet flavor journey starts with Thin Mint crumbles and a velvety chocolate mousse, and then descends into a rich, creamy cheesecake before ending with a minty, crunchy Thin Mint, almond, and graham cracker crust. Each Divine Mintspiration is topped with a Thin Mint-rolled Nutella stick, a nod to the restaurant's signature ingredient, Nutella.
Cost: $7

Babbo Italian Eatery (Eight Locations Valleywide)

Cookie: Samoas
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designers: Chefs Taylor Schultz and Chris Schnitzer
Dessert: Samoa Tiramisu, lady finger sponge cake soaked in marsala and espresso, and then layered with mascarpone and Samoas.
Cost: $7.45

Jake's Unlimited

Cookie: Thin Mints
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designer: Chef William Buzzelle
Dessert: The Unicorn Truffelope, a Thin Mint crusted ganache truffle served with a garnish of house-made cotton candy, strawberries and a fresh ginger-infused dark chocolate sauce.
Cost: $3 each


Cookie: Thin Mints
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designer: Owner Rebecca Golden (Female business owner)
Dessert: Smokey Chocolate Mint Mousse, which combines rich and decadent dark chocolate with flavors from the smoker as well as a tiny bit of New Mexican heat.
Cost: $6

Ocean Prime

Cookie: Thin Mints
Years Participating: 2
Dessert Designer: Chef Jagger Griffin
Dessert: Thin Mint Brownie with Peppermint Ice Cream, a rich and decadent gourmet brownie made oh-so-perfect with the addition of Thin Mints. Served with homemade peppermint ice cream and drizzled with hot fudge, it is a mint-chocolate lover’s dream come true.
Cost: $12

Original Gravity

Cookie: Savannah Smiles
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designers: Owner/Chef Holly Knudsen and Chef Derek Upton
Dessert: Savanah Smiles Truffle Pops, which features thick, creamy Savannah Smiles cake batter filled with tart lemon curd and dipped in raspberry white chocolate. They’re also rolled in toasted Savannah Smiles crumbles and served on a classic lollipop stick.
Cost: $3 each

PNPK Craft Slider + Wine Bar

Cookie: Do-Si-Dos
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designer: Owner Kellie Pruitt (Female business owner and a former CFO!)
Dessert: Do-Si-Dos Flight of Delight, which are small bites of three mini desserts consistent with PNPK’s food flight concept. Each flight includes mini versions of: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, a velvety, chocolate cheesecake on a Do-Si-Do crust topped with a rich, peanut butter ganache; Peanut Butter Banana Pudding made with crumbled Do-Si-Dos, a silky vanilla pudding and fresh bananas topped with fresh whipped cream; and PB&J Pie a taste of nostalgia with a Do-Si-Do crust layered with traditional grape jelly and a decadent peanut butter custard topped with fresh whipped cream and a roasted grape.
Cost: $8

Proof Canteen at Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North

Cookie: Samoas
Years Participating: 2
Dessert Designer: Chef Lance Whipple
Dessert: Coconut Chocolate Samoa Ice Cream Cake with Gooey Caramel Sauce. It is homemade coconut Samoa ice cream layered with rich chocolate cake, and smothered in gooey caramel sauce.
Cost: $12 for ice cream cake; $5 for added scoop of coconut Samoa ice cream

Rusconi’s American Kitchen

Cookie: Samoas
Years Participating: 6
Dessert Designer: Chef Dave Rico
Dessert: Samoa Candy Bar, a scratch-made coconut pudding layered with rich caramel, dark chocolate and blood orange, on a Samoa Cookie crust, combining for an adult twist on a childhood favorite.
Cost: $10

Silver Pine Restaurant at Little America Hotel Flagstaff

Cookie: Savannah Smiles
Years Participating: 3
Dessert Designer: Chef Vanessa Ronspies (Girl Scout alum)
Dessert: All Smiles Cheesecake, a creamy vanilla and lemon cheesecake on a savannah smile crust, served with strawberry sauce and whipped cream. This dreamy dessert will have you all smiles!
Cost: $8 per slice

The Herb Box

Cookie: Savannah Smiles
Years Participating: 3
Dessert Designer: Chef Monique “Mo” Kauppi
Dessert: Savannah's Surprise. Savannah's Surprise is full of surprises! The zesty and crisp cookies are baked into the base of the dessert which is a lemon cake. The cake is topped with a white chocolate, ginger and lemon mousse that is encased in a white chocolate shell and coated with more Savannah Smiles! The surprise is the bright and tangy lemon filling in the center of the mousse. At the Herb Box, we always like to take the innovative approach to food and to share our passion with our guests. Eat Good. Grow Happy.
Cost: $9

The Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen

Cookie: Thin Mints
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designer: Miles Teenstra
Dessert: Mint Madness, which is custom-crafted gelato made with real Thin Mints and blended both with vodka and crème de menthe to create a delightfully boozy, mint flavored shake you won't want to miss. Oh, it’s also topped with whipped cream, freshly baked Ironwood Porter Brownie crumbles, chocolate sauce. And yes, there is a non-alcoholic – or “Daisy” – version so everyone can enjoy it!
Cost: $10, or $6 for the non-alcoholic "Daisy" version

The Thumb

Cookie: Trefoils
Years Participating: 6
Dessert Designer: Michael Lawson
Dessert: Trefoil Surprises. Each week throughout the Challenge, the bakery case at The Thumb will be filled with a new and different Trefoil-inspired dessert.
Cost: Prices vary

ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho

Cookie: Samoas
Years Participating: 1st year
Dessert Designer: Pastry Chef Lisa Graf
Dessert: Samoa Lava Cake “Show Stopper” Shake. This over-the-top milkshake features a chocolate shake with a Girl Scouts Samoa cookie, a house-made Samoa-style cookie, caramel, coconut, dark chocolate coconut truffle, coconut brittle, warm chocolate lava cake and coconut whipped cream. ZuZu serves up a brand-new “Show Stopper” Shake every month.
Cost: $16

Girl Scout Cookies will be available from Jan. 21 to March 3 this year.

As in recent years, the Girl Scouts will have all cookies on hand for immediate customer purchase. Locations of cookie booths can be found using the Cookie Finder app.

About the Girl Scout Cookie Program

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, generating $790 million in annual sales. Nearly 200 million boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are sold each year to more than 50 million cookie customers.

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council sold 2.9 million packages of cookies last year. This year’s goal is 3 million packages.

Cookie Clarifications

  • The new gluten-free Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie (announced nationally in August) will not be available in Arizona. Since 2014, GSACPC has been offering the equally delicious and gluten-free cookie, Toffee-tastic! A buttery cookie packed with golden toffee bits bursting with flavor. 
  • Toffee-tastics will sell for $6.00 a box. Only troops that have opted into selling this cookie will have them, so it will be available in limited quantities. 
  • Bakery Confusion: Did you know that there are two commercial bakers licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies? The GSACPC bakery is Little Brownie Bakers. Therefore, some councils offer different cookies or have slightly different named cookies. 
  • There are two Girl Scout Councils in Arizona: GSACPC provides cookies for customers in central and northern Arizona. The 2019 Cookie Season for Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, covering Tucson and Yuma, is Jan. 19-March 3, 2019.