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Girl Scout cookies turned into culinary art

By Greg Gelpi

Candice Harrison, 19, recalled her days as a Girl Scout years ago and her fondness for Girl Scout cookies, and Tuesday she had the opportunity to turn those cookies into culinary art.

Harrison and fellow Jonesboro native Cortney Davis competed in the Art Institute of Atlanta Culinary Arts Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest Cookoff Tuesday. The challenge was to design original recipes that were appealing to both the taste bud and the eye.

"I like cookies, and I love cooking," Harrison said. "I like to draw too, so food styling comes into it."

Crushing Trefoil cookies, she created a crust, which she turned into Pineapple-Coconut Tart, a dish that earned second place in the competition.

Thin Mints remain her favorite of the Girl Scout cookie line, though, Harrison said.

"Thin Mint. I love it," she said. "Put it in the freezer and it's good."

Davis turned the Thin Mint into her Mint Dream, a dish that scored favor with the young palettes of area Girl Scouts, who gave it the Girl Scout Choice Award. Girl Scouts served as judges along with a panel of professional chefs.

One of those Girl Scouts, Megan Hitch, a high school junior from Forest Park, commented on the chocolate mousse of the dessert and her love of all that is chocolate.

Hitch approached judging the culinary creations with her own cooking background. She whipped up Megan's Meal, a mixture of sweet potatoes, chicken, cheese and broccoli, on her way to earning a cooking merit badge.

The Art Institute of Atlanta partnered with the Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia as students at the institute created desserts and entrees from an assortment of Girl Scout cookies Tuesday.

"I just love desserts," Davis said. "You give me a cookie, and I'm going to come up with a dessert."

Davis layered her Thin Mint dessert with levels of chocolate mousse, mint custard and creme chantilly in a clear glass to show the distinct layering.

Other winners were Garey Joaquim with first place for his Samoa-Crusted Chicken Sate with Mole Sauce and Tropical Fruit Salsa, Kyle Schutte with third place for his Thin-Minted Lamb Dumplings and Tiffany Young with honorable mention for her Strawberry-Banana Trefoil Pudding with Lemon French Meringue and Strawberry-Banana Coulis.

"I was surprised when they told me there would be things other than desserts," Hitch said.

For those who want to dabble with their own recipes, Girl Scouts begin their cookie "booth" sales today, setting up shop in various grocery stores and supermarkets throughout metro Atlanta, said Brian Hill, marketing communications manager for the Girl Scout council.

Hitch said she will be selling Girl Scout cookies starting today as well at Value City at 6525 Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro.

The Art Institute of Atlanta has posted the recipes of the students who participated in the competition at www.aia.artinstitute.edu.