Even if you don’t have a girl scout actually living under your roof the way we do, you can’t miss them. Girl Scout cookies. Love them or hate them, they are EVERYWHERE now.
Cookie sales began as—and still are—a means for troops to fund activities and programs. The earliest known cookie drive was organized in December 1917 by Muskogee, Oklahoma’s “Mistletoe” Troop (Girl Scout troops are all numbered now, I really wish they still had names). Instead of being sold door-to-door, they were sold in a local high school cafeteria.
In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scout national headquarters, featured an article by Florence Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that was given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers, using Miss Neil’s recipe. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. Here is Miss Neil’s original girl scout cookie recipe, from Girl Scout USA’s website:
Girl Scout Cookie, circa 1922
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar plus additional amount
- for topping (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired.
Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.
By the mid-1930s, commercial bakers were being approached to produce the cookies, and by 1951, the line included three varieties: a sandwich cookie, shortbread and a chocolate mint, now known as Thin Mint cookies, which currently account for 25 percent of all Girl Scout cookie sales. Currently there are two bakeries licensed to produce eight varieties, and your access to certain cookies depends on your location.
Some cookies have gone extinct, varieties that didn’t sell well and were consequently retired—including a savory cracker with the terrifying sounding moniker “Golden Yangles” !! Sounds to me like something you’d need a prescription creme to get rid of.
Today you see all sorts of creative ways to sell the cookies, including social media campaigns, direct marketing and cookie stands set up absolutely *everywhere* – from street corners to farmer’s markets to malls to supermarket parking lots. But I must say the most interesting idea I’ve seen was a Friday evening “Wine and Girl Scout cookie Pairing”. Because the only thing better than girl scout cookies is girl scout cookies and wine!
So what girl scout cookies pair well with what wines? Tom had a few ideas:
Try one of Viogniers – either 100% Viognier , such as Cave la Romaine Côtes du Rhône 2011 Viognier ($16), or else a Viognier blend like our Chaume Arnaud La Cadène Blanc 2008 ($15) with any of the coconutty cookies. Mango Cremes or Samoas.
With the lemony varieties, Savannah Smiles or Lemonades, we have a terrific crisp and citrusy Spanish Verdejo – Bodega Traslagares Verdejo 2010 ($13)
Our soft sparkling Domaine la Croix des Marchands “Methode Gaillacoise” ($18) would pair wonderfully well with either Thin Mints or the plain shortbread style Trefoils.
Finally, try our Cave la Romaine Rouge Tradition 2011 ($10) with Thanks A Lot cookies (shortbread dipped in fudge) – it’s an everyday red that goes with just about anything and is very nice with chocolate.
PS You didn’t think you’d get away without being asked to buy some girl scout cookies, now did you ? If you’re one of the rare few with no girl scouts on your block or parents/aunts/uncles of girl scouts in your office, post a comment and I’ll follow up with you directly 😉