Cookies sold every year by Girl Scouts as a fundraiser. The earliest mention of the cookies comes from 1917, when a troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma baked and sold cookies as a service project. By 1922, the Girl Scouts were providing suggested recipes for Scouts in Chicago and suggesting they be sold for 25-30 cents per dozen.

The 1930s saw speedy developments in the Girl Scout Cookie concept. The first commercially-baked cookies were sold by Girl Scouts in Philadelphia in 1934, quickly followed by the Scouts in the Greater New York area in 1935 -- the New York Scouts had cookies baked in the shape of a trefoil and had "Girl Scout Cookies" printed on all the boxes. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization started working to license their first commercial baker to make official Girl Scout Cookies, and by 1937, more than 125 Girl Scout councils were holding cookie sales.

Sales of cookies hit a bump during World War II when shortages of sugar, butter, and flour made it more economical to sell Girl Scout calendars instead, but the sales picked right back up, more popular than ever, after the war. In 1951, there were three varieties: sandwich cookies, shortbread, and chocolate mints; by 1956, the sandwich cookies had been split into vanilla creme and chocolate creme. Cookie sales expanded along with Girl Scout membership in the 1960s, and more cookie varieties, along with special packaging, were added -- all the packages were different depending on what part of the country you lived in, but in 1978, the national organization began providing the licensed bakers with standard cookie packages, so they'd all look the same.

Nowadays, Girl Scout Cookies come in eight different varieties (Thin Mints, peanut butter sandwich, and shortbread are mandatory for all the licensed bakers -- the others, including low-fat and sugar-free selections, are optional). All of them are kosher.

Research from http://www.girlscouts.org/about/cookie_hist.html

Notice that I am writing this from the perspective of Italian Boy Scouting, as practiced by AGESCI and CN-GEI.
What always bugged me about the Girl Scout Cookies thing is that the Girls Scouts do not make the cookies. They get them pre-made and pre-boxed. Their effort is limited to selling them.
Now, call me an old crusty Baden Powell fundamentalist, but I suspect that this is not exactly what was meant by "rowing your own canoe", and all that old-fashioned insistence on self-reliance, responsibility etc. etc..

When the Italian scouts (of both sexes) want to raise money, they make things and sell them, or do things and get paid for their labor.
Why can't the Girl Scouts make their own cookies ? I imagine that in the USA there would be all sorts of liability issues ... I suspect that at a certain point in time they probably did make them.
But now ... I mean, why not just enroll the whole GSA in a combined Tupperware/Amway operation ?


Hey ! I wrote an opinionated and higly subjective writeup !
My house is a den of Girl Scout cookies. Walls laden end to end with Thin Mints, Samoas, and Trefoils. All manner of confectionery delights are strewn throught my home hallways. Our front hall stairs have been dubbed "Stairway to Obesity." You see, my mother is a Girl Scout leader (and a damn good one, at that).

For several years now I have considered taking a membership in the teamsters union, as I have had to carry case after case, ton upon ton, of cookies from the local delivery point to our home (and other homes in the area). Mom runs the whole thing like a business, even though we know it is not worth the amount of effort that she puts in.

What is really sad is that even though this is their flagship fundraiser of the year, Girl Scouts themselves only make fifty cents per $3.00 box of cookies sold. The rest of it goes to the Brownie Bakery in Louisville, Kentucky, and the local council. You have to sell a lot of cookies to make any sort of profit with them.

There are incentive programs to get girls to sell more, but all in all, this is a worse fundraiser than candy bars (if it were not so well associated with Girl Scouts).

The line of cookies are revised every so often, adding more flavors and discontinuing less popular ones. This year (2001) Aloha Chips where added. White cookies with macadamia nuts. Other deals have been made, such as with Edy's ice cream to sell a Thin Mint flavor (proceeds going to the Scouts).

I have my honest reservations about the Girl Scout program, and the cookies sales are among them. I think that the councils could honestly do more to help the kids with it. The sales to profit ratios are poor. The marketing of it all makes it seem like it's really direct to Scouts, but it's not; they are just as much a victim of three-dollars-a-box as anyone else.
Concerns about gender-stereotyping and motive aside…

Here is the recipe for the Original Girl Scout Cookie:

2 Cups Sugar 1 Cup Solid Shortening
1/2 Cup Margarine
3 Large Eggs
5 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 teaspoons Salt
4 teaspoons Baking Powder

Cream together sugar, shortening, and margarine. Add eggs and mix. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla. Roll on floured board 1/4 inch think and cut with trefoil cookie cutter (if available.) Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Makes 115 cookies

Girls Scout Cookies come in the following delicious varieties:

Thin Mints - Thin (duh) and crispy mint chocolate discs of utter delight. These are probably the best selling and most delicious of the Girl Scout Cookie product line, and are my personal favorite.
Samoas®/Caramel deLites - Vanilla cookies, covered in caramel, and sprinkled with toasted coconut, then stiped with dark chocolate for good measure.
Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs - Vanilla cookies again, this time topped with a dollup of delicious peanut butter and coated with chocolate.
Lemon Pastry Cremes - Fairly self-explanatory. Lemon creme + Pastry.
Shortbread - We all know what shortbread is right? Good. Moving right along...
Peanut Butter Sandwiches/Do-Si-Dos - Two tasty peanut butter cookies are united by a delicious pseudo-peanut buttery cream. This is what those lame-ass Peanut Butter Oreos wish they could be.
Animal Treasures - Shortbread cookies dipped in fudge on one side and bearing the likenesses of various endangered species on the other side. They're like animal crackers for people who don't count calories. And who among us hasn't fantasized about biting the head off of a rare and precious Brazilian tree crab? Now you can do it without incurring the wrath of Mother Nature.
Friendship Circles - Two vanilla cookies that say the word friend in several different languages, with a rich chocolate adhesive binding them together and keeping them in harmony.

I'm pretty sure this is complete and accurate, but if I fudged (pun intended) a few facts regarding your favorite cookie, feel free to /msg me so I can fix it.

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