2014 Destin Desserts champion crowned

Special to The Log
Chef Trey Griffith of The Wine Bar, 2014 Destin Desserts champion, with Gretchen Erickson (left), Destin Desserts chair, and Peggy Geil-Beem, president, board of directors, Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle.

More than 220 people gathered to sample delectable desserts using Girl Scout cookies as the main ingredient at the 2014 Destin Desserts on Friday, Jan. 17. The event was held in the Linkside Ballroom at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. Six local chefs vied for the chance to be selected as champion with one-of-a-kind creative confections being judged on presentation and taste.

2012 Destin Desserts Champion Chef Dan Pettis (One 20 A Modern Bistro) and 2013 Destin Desserts Champion Chef Jim Shirah (Dewey Destin’s Harbor Side Restaurant) served as head judges. When the votes were tallied, it was Chef Trey Griffith of The Wine Bar emerging as the 2014 Destin Desserts Champion for his entry, Frozen Samoa Bonbons incorporating the Samoa cookie, gelato, chocolate and coconut.

The entry, Sticky Samoa Seduction from Chef Jack McGuckin, of Bistro Bijoux, took second place honors, and in third place was Pastry Chef Vanessa Poch of A Cupcakery by the Sea.

“We are grateful for the chefs, businesses and individuals supporting Destin Desserts,” said Raslean M. Allen, chief executive officer of the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc. “This unique event allows us to showcase the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which builds essential business and entrepreneurial skills in girls.”

Guests were entertained by the sounds of Shades of Blue while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and the fabulous dessert entries. A number of unique and exquisite items were available at the silent auction. Proceeds from the event help support the programs and activities to build girls of courage, confidence and character in the Florida Panhandle.

“Destin Desserts provides an opportunity to showcase our community,” said organizer Gretchen Erickson. Joining Erickson on the Destin Desserts Planning Committee were Sherri Butler, Irene Field, Dina Moriarty, Kay Phelan, Rosemary Prince, Gretchen Rauch, Aimee Shaffer and Melissa Yandel.

In addition to the winning chefs, others competing this year include Chef Brian Cartenuto, Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox; Pastry Chef Heidi McAnulla, Bake My Day; and Chef Dawnelle Northcutt, Catering To You-Personal Chef Service.

2014 Destin Desserts Winning Recipe

Chef Trey Griffith – Wine Bar

Frozen Samoa Bonbons

Salted caramel gelato

Sweetened coconut, toasted

Samoa cookie

Dark chocolate chips

Coconut oil

Pulse coconut and Samoa cookies in food processor until it resembles coarse meal.  Scoop gelato into 1 oz. balls.  Roll gelato in crumbs, coating completely. Return to freezer. 

In the meantime, melt chocolate chips in double boiler, then add oil, stirring to combine.  Let cool a bit, then drizzle onto bonbons, or alternatively, pierce frozen bonbons with toothpick and dip into chocolate.  Cool on cookie sheet. 

Note: Work desserts in small batches keeping gelato as cold as possible, returning to freezer between steps.