Girl Scout Cookie Contest Tasting at Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Just a few days ago, I had an amazing opportunity to tour the Taste of Home Test Kitchen and get a behind the scenes look at how everything happens for their magazine. Coincidentally, this tour happened to take place the same day as The National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest! There were Girl Scouts from local troops there, assembling recipes submitted from across the nation.
After meeting a few of the Girl Scouts, I watched as Taste of Home chefs helped the girls turn recipes into reality. Each recipe was so different, but yet all had one thing in common. They each had a Girl Scout Cookie in it! I saw all of my favorites being put to good use. These weren’t just for snacking straight from the box(even though that’s the only way I’ve ever thought to eat one!). They took each cookie and transformed it into a new dessert. Creating all new flavors, yet keeping true to the Girl Scout Cookie you know and love!
After the Girl Scouts put some finishing touches on their recipes, we were given a tour of the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. We were able to see all the tricks they use to make food look amazing for their magazine! First, we headed over to the kitchen where they test all the recipes. A lot of work goes into making sure the recipes are a success. They want you, at home, to be able to make the food look like it does in the picture. They feel, if you can’t recreate it, they have failed their job.
The Girl Scouts were asking some great questions too, like “How much food do you go through per week?” and “Where does it all come from?”. I was happy to hear they support local grocery stores and don’t just have it shipped in.
Next, we got to see the prop room. It was AMAZING! I think that room alone is bigger than my house! It was filled with plates, glasses, cups, mugs, table accessories, linens, knick knacks, silverware…just to name a few! Everything came in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors. It was a very impressive collection! I even found a fake paper plate that I couldn’t stop admiring. The editor in chief was so kind and found out where the plates came from! Now I can get my own set!
After I was finished being mesmerized by the props, we headed into the kitchen where the food stylists do their magic. I immediately began to drool! There was a potato salad that looked simply DELICIOUS! I wanted to grab a spoon and dive in! I think I would have gotten yelled at though since she was putting the finishing touches on it with a tweezers.
Another thing they take pride in, is knowing all their food is fully cooked as it would be if you make it at home when they photograph it. No using coloring sprays and additives to make anything look better. No mashed potatoes for ice cream. It’s all real!
We followed the potato salad into the next room where it was staged and photographed. The food really is the star here! Watching them meticulously set it on it’s “stage” and placing props around it to make it just right. Then switching out the options to see if it looks better with a different napkin or utensil. I hope to be able to apply some of their techniques to my pictures some day.
Our tour came to an end and we headed back into a conference room to watch as the Girl Scouts tasted the recipes they assembled. As they tested each one, they judged them. Let me tell you, these girls made some very astute observations. They were able to state what they liked or disliked about each while staying pretty impartial to the desserts. They didn’t just say they liked a recipe the best because they put it together.
When they were finished with their judging, I got to taste the samples! They were all so good! I don’t think I could have judged them as well as the girls did.
Here’s a little more information about the contest:
Taste of Home, the nation’s leading food magazine, has teamed up with Girl Scouts of the USA to sponsor the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest. Girl Scout Cookie enthusiasts have created and submitted their favorite dessert recipes using the iconic cookies as ingredients, for the chance to win prizes ranging from $250 to $500, plus a spotlight feature in Taste of Home. Judging will commence across four categories: (1) cakes, pies, cupcakes, (2) cookies, brownies, bars, (3) pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts, and (4) candies.
The Taste of Home Test Kitchen experts will review and test the recipes, selecting the top 16—four from each category—based on taste, visual appeal, creativity, and crowd appeal.
From March 30 to April 14, the public will have a chance to vote for their favorite finalist recipes at www.girlscouts.org/recipecontest. The recipes with the most votes in each category win and winners will be announced in mid-April.
For more information, visit www.girlscouts.org/recipecontest.
Make sure you check it out and vote for your favorite! I know I will be! What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie of all time? Mine is the Thin Mint straight out of the freezer!