Girl Scout cookie season has come around once again – finally! These seasonal favorites have evolved quite a bit since the original shortbread recipe of 1922.
During the 1960s, the baby boomers expanded Girl Scout membership and began to produce more cookie varieties. The best sellers were Thin Mints (which still holds true today), Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies, and Shortbreads. In the 1970s the companies began to use cookie boxes that depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action to promote healthy lifestyles. By the early 1990s, licensed bakers began to produce low-fat and sugar-free selections for those with diet restrictions. 2000 was the year of the kosher cookie, making it possible for yet another group of foodies to be able to partake in the Girl Scout mission. The company is continuing to expand its flavors to appeal to the health-conscious crowd. In 2013, they even went so far as to try a cookie that was infused with various fruits and shiitake mushrooms (it clearly wasn’t a hit).
Girl Scout troops throughout America sell from two different companies – ABC and Little Brownie Bakers – which is why some of the same cookies have different names such as Peanut Butter Patties and Tagalongs. The two companies have different standards, as well. For example, ABC uses high fructose corn syrup in its recipes while Little Brownie Bakers does not. It is important to be aware of who you are buying from if you have allergies or if you are gluten-free or vegan. Little Brownie Bakers sells Toffe-Tastic cookies that are gluten-free, while ABC provides Trios. Both companies sell Thin Mints, a crowd favorite that also happens to be vegan. The other vegan options, Peanut Butter Patties and Thanks-A-Lot, are provided only by ABC.
Ironically, the original Girl Scout cookie – the Shortbread – happens to be the healthiest pick. The simple buttery treat consists of only ten ingredients and has only 30 calories per cookie. Just like the Girl Scouts that sell them, each cookie is unique and will continue to change. So don’t get stuck in a cookie rut this year, branch out and use your newfound knowledge to make informed decisions about your purchase, and try something new.
Photo Credit: FBM