7 Surprising Girl Scout Cookie Secrets -- Including the 51 Flavors They Discontinued
Did you know there are two different kinds of Thin Mints?
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The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies since 1917, just five years after Juliette Gordon Low established the organization in the US. Today, close to 200 million boxes are sold each year, generating about $800 million.
From January to April, the official Girl Scout cookie season, they're the top-selling cookie in the US.
Over the years, a lot of varieties have been added and even more have been retired. Anyone remember Kookaburras? Le Chips? Juliettes?
The first Girl Scout troop to sell cookies was the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1917. They baked them at home as a service project and sold them in the local high school cafeteria. Profits went toward sending gifts to soldiers fighting in World War I. At that time, there was only one variety -- sugar cookies --and they were sold for between 25 and 35 cents for a dozen. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began working with commercial bakeries to make cookies to be sold nationwide.
2. 51 flavors have been discontinued
Over the years, dozens of Girl Scout cookies have come and gone, including Iced Berry Piñatas, Upside Down Frosted Oatmeal, Fruity Mango Cremes and low-fat Ole Oles. (See the full list here.) Thanks-A-Lot, a shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate and embossed with the phrase "thank you," was dropped in 2021 after 15 years. It was replaced by Toast-Yay, a French toast-flavored cookie dipped in icing. Read On:What Do the Girl Scouts' New Raspberry Rally Cookies Taste Like?
3. 3 flavors are mandatory
In 1951, Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Sandwich and Shortbread were the only flavors of Girl Scout cookies available.
Now commonly known as Thin Mints, Do-si-dos and Trefoils, they are also the only cookies that can't be eliminated from the lineup.
The first Girl Scout troop to sell cookies was the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1917. They baked cookies as a service project and sold them in the local high school cafeteria. Profits went toward sending gifts to US soldiers fighting in World War I. At that time, there was only one recipe -- sugar cookies --and they were sold for between 25 and 35 cents per dozen.
5. The cookies are made in 2 bakeries
In 1948, there were 29 bakeries licensed to manufacture Girl Scout cookies. By the 1960s, that number had dropped to 14, and then to four bakers in 1978. By the 1990s the Girl Scouts streamlined to just two bakeries: Little Brownie Bakers in Louisville, Kentucky, and ABC Bakers in North Sioux City, South Dakota.
6. The bakeries use different recipes -- and names
Due to a licensing issue, the two bakeries don't always use the same recipe or even the same name. Samoas come from Little Brownie Bakers, while ABC Bakers calls them Caramel deLites. The two cookies look the same, but if you check the ingredients and compare how they taste, you'll notice the difference.
ABC Bakers' Peanut Butter Patties are equivalent to Little Brown Bakers' Tagalongs, but there's a huge difference in flavor and texture. Tagalongs have more peanut butter while Peanut Butter Patties just have one layer. And the Thin Mints from ABC Bakers are thinner and crunchier than the version Little Brownie Bakers produces.
Other cookies with different names include Do-Si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich, Peanut Butter Patties/ Tagalongs and Trefoils/Shortbread.
7. There's a major rivalry among Girl Scout cookie fans
Thin Mints are the best-selling Girl Scout cookies by far. But during my Girl Scout cookie taste test, the majority of CNET staffers said Samoas (54.5%) were their favorite, while just 27.3% voted for Thin Mints. There's a serious debate between the two factions. Even Justin Timberlake weighed in during a 2020 Twitter video, noting it was a "contentious subject."