With the Girl Scout Cookies selling season in full swing, cookie varieties like thin mint, samoa, lemon, and peanut butter come to most of our minds. And we’ll be clearing a shelf in our pantry for those. While Girl Scout cookies today are commercially baked, they haven’t always been. With the release of the Girl Scout Cookies original recipe from 1922, we can all bake a little history and a little heaven in our own kitchen.
The Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for 100 years. As early as 1917, troop members and their mothers began baking and selling cookies to finance troop activities.
By 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured a Girl Scout sugar cookie recipe used by a local troop in Chicago, Illinois. That recipe’s ingredients were estimated to cost between $ .26 and $ .36 for 6-7 dozen cookies. They were then sold by troops for $ .25 to $ .30 per dozen.
Baked by Girl Scout members and their mothers, these cookies were packaged in wax paper bags and sealed with a sticker. Troop members would sell these simple sugar cookies door to door.
In 1933, the Girl Scout cookie sales program began to take on a new life. Rapidly, the wax paper bags and stickers were being replaced by a new packaging. Expanding their door to door sales reach, the girls began packaging and marketing cookies to a larger commercial audience. Volume was important and they began selling boxes of 44 cookies for $ .23 per box or 6 boxes for $1.24.
By 1936, the Girl Scouts began licensing the first commercial bakers to bake their cookies for nationwide distribution. It was also the year that the term, “Girl Scout Cookies” were first used on their new boxes.
Today, 100 years later, the Girl Scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies annually and generate nearly $800 in sales.
While we all have our favorites… there are a few perennial standouts.
The Girl Scouts report these varieties as their top sellers.
• Thin Mints
• Caramel deLites/Samoas
• Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs
• Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich
All because of a simple sugar cookie recipe from 1922, a mother and daughter activity, and entrepreneurial initiative.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished with an oven, an idea, and a drive.
For their 100th anniversary of cookie sales, the Girl Scouts are unveiling two new S’mores cookies that I have to say look pretty tasty. The first is a chocolate covered graham cookie double dipped in crème icing and finished with a chocolatey coating. And the second is a graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling.
I’m ready to take a walk down memory lane and taste a bit of history with this iconic original Girl Scout recipe from 1922! My oven is heating up as I write.
Original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe from 1922
1 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
Cream butter and sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, flavoring, flour, and baking powder. Roll thin and bake in quick oven. (Sprinkle sugar on top.)
This amount makes six to seven dozen.
Modern-day tips (not part of the original recipe): Refrigerate batter for at least one hour before rolling and cutting cookies. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
Girl Scout Cookie Recipes to Try at Home
Shortbread/Trefoils Toffee and Chocolate Bark with Toasted Almonds
Shortbread/Trefoils Toffee and Chocolate Bark with Toasted Almonds is the grand prize winner and the Candies category winner of the 2016 National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest Sponsored by Taste of Home®.
Delightful Caramel Bars
Delightful Caramel Bars is the grand prize winner and the Cookies/Brownies/Bars category winner of the 2015 National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest Sponsored by Taste of Home®.
Mini Thin Mints® Mocha Ice Cream Sandwiches
Peanut Caramel Thumbprint No Bake Cookies
Peanut Caramel Thumbprint No Bake Cookies is the Cookies/Brownies/Bars category winner of the 2016 National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest Sponsored by Taste of Home®.
Images and information from GirlScouts.org.