It's that time of the year when you throw your diet out the window and spend more money than you'd like to admit on Girl Scout cookies.

In celebration of the organization's 100th anniversary last year, Gretchen Erickson, Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle (GSCFP) president at the time, decided to launch an event to honor the badge-earning troops and, of course, the famous cookies. Erickson, an avid "Top Chef" viewer, wanted to create a similar event with a "girly" touch, and now Destin Desserts is back for a second year.

"My idea was to engage talented, local chefs to create one-of-a-kind desserts using Girl Scout cookies that could earn them the title of Destin Desserts champion," said Erickson.

All ticket holders will be given the opportunity to vote among the seven desserts. Last year's champion was Chef Dan Pettis of One20 A Modern Bistro. Head judges Pettis and Destin Mayor Sam Seevers will be the tie-breaking votes. Although only one chef will get the Destin Desserts Champion title, there are no losers.

"Chefs are provided with the opportunity to showcase their creativity using the Girl Scout cookie as the main ingredient," stated Raslean Allen, Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle chief executive officer. "These one-of-a-kind chef specials are sure to delight the palates of the most discerning dessert aficionados."

The Girl Scout cookies are more than just a tasty fundraiser. They help provide programming for the organization that serves 5,457 girls across 19 counties of the Florida Panhandle.

"There is more than just delicious cookies in each box," said E. Michelle Kyser, Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, chief business services officer. "Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls learn skills essential to succeeding in life and develop five financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics."

The entire night will be fun for a good cause beginning with a social hour and heavy hors d'oeuvres in the Emerald Grand ballroom and dancing to live music by Jones and Company. A silent auction with items such as weekend stays, wine baskets, rounds of golf, etc. will also be held throughout the evening.

"Proceeds from the event help fund Girl Scout programs and activities that build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place" said Erickson.


Want to go?

Destin Desserts will start at 6 p.m., Friday, March 1, at the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, located at 10 Harbor Blvd. For more information, visit Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased using your credit card (excluding American Express) by calling toll free 1-800-876-9704.


2013 Destin Desserts Participating Chefs:

Pastry Chef Vanessa Poch, A Cupcakery by the Sea

Chef Jack McGuckin, Bistro Bijoux

Pastry Chefs Lisa Schomburg and Renee Lozano, Cakemasters Bakery

Chef Dawnelle Northcutt, Catering To You-Personal Chef Service

Chef Jim Shirah, Dewey Destin Harbor Side Restaurant

Chef Jamie Jacobs, Ruby Tuesday's

Chef Brian Cartenuto, Tucker Dukes Lunch Box