It’s that time of year again—when the Girl Scouts show up at your front door determined to ruin your New Year’s Resolution to eat less sweets. Here’s a little about the wonderful world of Girl Scout Cookies.
The Beginning: 1922
Girl Scout Cookies began in earnest in 1922. The director of the Girl Scouts of Chicago published a sugar cookie recipe in an issue of the organization’s national newsletter, American Girl. Every one of the 2,000 or so Girl Scout troops dutifully made some cookies and sold them as a fundraiser.
The War Years
Only year after the program launched that the Girl Scouts didn’t sell cookies: 1942. World War II-related shortages and rationing of sugar, flour, and butter made it impossible, so the organization sold calendars instead.
Girl Scout Cookies: Made by Elves
Today, Girl Scout Cookies are made by elves—Keebler elves. The organization contracts an industrial baking company called Little Brownie, which is a division of Keebler. To meet demand for Girl Scout Cookies in the mid-to-late winter, Little Brownie churns out 4.9 million a day of the most popular variety, Thin Mints.
The Most Popular
After Thin Mints, the most popular varieties, in order, are: Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Savannahs, and Trefoils.
Peak Baking Season
During peak baking season, the amount of ingredients required to make a week’s worth of Girl Scout Cookies is astounding, such as 750,000 pounds of flour, 438,000 pounds of sugar, and 145,000 pounds of peanut butter
The bestselling cookie in the United States from April to December: Oreos. The bestselling cookie in the United States from January through March: the various varieties of Girl Scout Cookies.
A box of Girl Scout Cookies costs about $5. After various expenses are accounted for, the troop that sold them gets around 50 cents. Altogether, Girl Scout Cookies are a $700 million-a-year business.
While Girl Scout Cookies are made without trans fats and several varieties are vegan, arguably the “healthiest” variety is also the newest: Mango Cremes, introduced in 2013. It’s made with a proprietary nutritional blend called “Nutrifusion.” It’s primarily a blend of cranberries, pomegranates, organs, grapes, strawberries…and shiitake mushrooms.