By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
A hundred years ago, Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low saw firsthand the success Lord Baden-Powell had with his Scouting program in England, which involved boys.
Inspired by Baden-Powell, Low immediately headed home to Savannah, Ga., where she made a historic phone call to a distant cousin, saying, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!”
On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, Low’s niece and namesake, was the first registered member. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Girls Scouts of the United States of America, the organization is rolling out a brand new cookie this year – Savannah Smiles, a lemon cookie named in honor of the birthplace of GSUSA.
“On the box is a picture of some Girl Scout standing on the steps of the side porch of the birthplace,” said Jenny Jones, marketing and communications director for Girl Scouts Heart of the South, a council made up of 59 counties in north Mississippi, west Tennessee and Crittenden County, Arkansas. “Just about every girl who goes to the birthplace gets that same pose taken. I know I did.”
Jones joined the Girl Scouts in 1979 as a Brownie in Ripley. There were 20 girls in her troop and 10 of them finished the program together and received their gold awards while in high school. She has been employed with the council in Tupelo for 18 years.
Jones said Girl Scout cookie sales began Jan. 7 and orders will be taken through Jan. 31. Cookies will start coming in on Feb. 18 and booth sales will begin Feb. 24. The last day to buy a box will be March 18.
There are eight flavors this year, Jones said: Trefoils, Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Thank U BerryMunch, Dulce de Leche and the new Savannah Smiles. Each box is $3.50.
“Samoas is the No. 1 seller in the council, but Thin Mints is the best-seller nationwide,” she said. “During the sale, we sell more Thin Mints as a Girl Scout organization nationwide than Oreo sells all year.”
Tagalongs are Jones’ favorite Girl Scout cookie.
“I love those frozen,” she said. “There’s something about chocolate and peanut butter coming straight from the freezer. I also like to crumble them up and put them over ice cream.”
Jones said there are approximately 3 million active Girl Scouts nationwide and 50 million alumni. There are 11,500 girls in the Heart of the South Council, with more than 420 girls in Lee County alone.
“The cookie sale program is a learning experience for the girls in goal-setting, teamwork, financial planning and customer service,” she said. “Being a part of this program introduces them to the community, where we want them to be involved in things they can do to make it better.”
Lemon Blueberry Parfait
1 small box instant lemon pudding and pie filling
2 cups cold milk
11⁄2 cups whipped topping, divided
20 Savannah Smiles lemon cookies (about 3⁄4 box), divided
1⁄2 cup fresh blueberries
With a whisk or electric mixer, blend together pudding mix and cold milk on low speed for about 2 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup pudding and 1⁄2 cup whipped topping. Set aside.
Crush 12 of the Savannah Smiles cookies into crumbs. Leave the other 8 or 9 whole.
Using 4 dessert cups, layer the ingredients into each cup as follows: lemon pudding, cookie crumbs, pudding mixture and blueberries. Repeat layers again. Top each serving with remaining whipped topping, and add a blueberry and cookie crumbs on top. Just before serving, insert 2 whole cookies near the edges.
Note: Clear-stemmed wine glasses make for a great presentation.
Lemon Chiffon Pie
1 small box lemon gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 box Savannah Smiles lemon cookies, crushed, and divided
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) tub whipped topping, divided
Prepare the gelatin with hot water only. Refrigerate until it just begins to set.
Reserve 1⁄3 cup of cookie crumbs.
Combine remaining cookie crumbs with melted butter and mix until combined. Press crust mixture into an 8- or 9-inch pie plate.
In a bowl, blend the cream cheese and sugar. Add the gelatin and whip. Gently fold in half the whipped topping. Spread this mixture over the crust. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate several hours. Garnish with remaining 1⁄3 cup of cookie crumbs just before serving.
Note: If desired, garnish with fresh lemon slices.