Traditional Girl Guide Cookie Recipes and New Innovations
The earliest beginning of Girl Scout cookie baking was in the homes of the young girls who worked and baked under the supervisory eyes of their mothers. Their mothers were called volunteer technical advisers.
The first batch of guide cookies was baked in 1917 and the earliest mention of sales was made in a high school cafeteria in Muskogee, Oklahoma, as a service project.
By mid-1922, "The American Girl magazine published by Girl Scout national headquarters featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that was given to the council's 2,000 Girl Scouts".
It was Florence Neil who first drew up an estimate for the cost of baking six dozen cookies, the ingredients required, and a selling price per dozen.
According to records, her estimates brought the cost of those first batches of cookies to something between 26 and 36 cents. She suggested they be sold by the Girl Guide troops for no more than 30 cents per dozen.
From then on till the 1930s, Girl Scouts troops in different regions of the country baked their own simple sugar cookies with the help of their mothers. They were neatly packaged in paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold from door to door for 25 to 35 cents a dozen.
After paying back all incurred costs, proceeds from cookie sales stay with the local Girl Scout council that sponsors the sale. Some of the profits are used to supply essential services to Girl Guide troops, conduct special events, provide program resources and communication support, and for training adult volunteers.
What this means is that about 70% of generated revenue remains in the local Girl Scout Council to provide resources required to support Girl Guiding in that particular area, including the portion that goes directly to the group selling the cookies. The balance of 30% goes directly to the bakers to pay for expenses.
The First Girl Guide Cookie Recipe
The first ever Girl Scouts cookie was the sugar cookie. They were easy to make and required few and basic ingredients.
The ingredients were those you’ll always find in the home’s food pantry in the early years of the 20th century, butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk, etc... Preparation was straight-forward, even with tools and methods we may now refer to today as archaic
"Cream butter and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Leave mix covered for at least 1 hour.
Roll dough and cut into trefoil shapes, Sprinkle sugar on top
Bake in an oven (375°) for approximately 8 -10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six to seven dozen cookies. - (Source: Girls Scout.org)
Sugar Cookie Recipe:
Ingredients used back then in the early 20th century are as follows:
- Butter = 1 cup
- Sugar = 1 cup
- Eggs = 2
- Milk = 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla = 1 teaspoon
- Flour = 2 cups
- Salt = 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder = 2 teaspoons
Subsequent Cookie Recipes from 1927
Subsequently, selling cookies became a familiar feature of Girl Scouting especially in Canadian and American culture.
And for nearly a century after, Girl Guides with the wholehearted support of their families have in no small measure contributed to the success of their troops programs and activities.
By the mid-1930s, the Girl Guide organisation started retailing commercially baked Scout cookies with Greater Philadelphia becoming the first council to do such.
A little over a year later, another large troop, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money by selling commercial cookies and it was them who, buying their own trefoil shaped die, had the words "Girl Scout Cookies" printed on the package.
By the early 1950s, the following varieties were produced and sold extensively:
- Shortbread (Trefoils)
- Chocolate Mints (Thin Mints)
- Vanilla-based filled cookie
- Chocolate-based filled one
Of all these five cookie classics, Thin Mints and Trefoils still remain favourites till today.
"Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat in the eggs and cream.
Mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and flour.
Sift the dry mix into the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly into dough.
Roll and cut with a small flour coated glass or cookie cutter.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake at moderate heat in an oven, until done". - (Source: Anna Humphrey)
1927 Cookie Recipe
This simple cookie recipe was created by Christina Riespman in 1927, when a Girl Guide Company in Saskatchewan needed to raise money for a camping expedition for their troops.
Ingredients used are as follows:
- Butter = 1 cup
- Sugar = 1 cup
- Eggs = 3no.
- Cream = 2 tablespoons
- A pinch of salt
- Baking soda = 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder = 2 teaspoons
- Ground cardamom = Half a teaspoon (an aromatic spice of a tropical plant)
- Flour = 3 (or 4) cups to make a soft dough
"To make the wafers, mix the wafer ingredients in a bowl. On a worktop dusted with flour, shape dough into two 1 1/2 inches diameter logs. Wrap logs in a plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for a couple of hours, until dough is firm enough to slice into 1/4 inch thick wafers.
Preheat oven to 375F and place the thinly cut wafers on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until they are firm at the edges. Arrange cookies on a wire rack to cool.
To make the coating, mix the chocolate chips, peppermint extract and shortening in a large microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl. Melt further on 50 percent power for a minute, bring out to stir gently, then heat for an addition minute and stir again until the chocolate is very smooth.
Use a fork or kitchen tongs to dip each thin wafer in the chocolate/peppermint mix and then place them side-by-side on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate until firm enough to eat". - (Source: Share What You Make)
1950s Thin Mint Cookies
This recipe is actually the way thin mint cookies are made, an imitation of the Girl Scout style. Enjoy this interpretation of the Girl Scout's classic thin mints.
Thin mints taste much better after they've been refrigerated for a minimum of twenty four hours, but of course it doesn’t mean you can’t eat them as soon as they are firm enough to eat after refrigeration.
Ingredients are as follows for the chocolate cookie wafers.
- Fudge cake mix = 1 package
- Melted shortening = 3 tablespoons
- Sifted flour = 1/2 cup
- Egg = 1no.
- Water = 3 tablespoons
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips = 1 (12 ounce) bags
- Peppermint extract = 3/4 teaspoon
- Shortening = 6 tablespoons
"Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to creamed butter/sugar mix. Add milk and vanilla extract.
Split dough into halves and refrigerate until the dough is firm. Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Once the dough is firm enough, roll it on a lightly floured work surface.
Going the way the first Girl Guides did it, roll the dough to about an eighth or quarter of an inch thickness then use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you desire.
Bake cookies for 10 - 12 minutes. Remember to rotate the cookie sheet (180 degrees) halfway through baking to ensure that all trefoil cookies are an even light colour. - (Source: Share What You Make)
This recipe imitates the classic trefoil cookies and they are very easy to make.
Trefoils are the basis for a number of other Scout cookie recipes such as Tagalongs or Samoas.
Ingredients are as follows:
- Butter = 1 cup
- Sugar = 1/2 cup
- All purpose flour = 2 cups
- Baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt = 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla extract = 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk = 2 tablespoons
It is good to note that using a lightly floured surface on cookie tray instead of waxed paper as wax paper.
This dough mix does get sticky pretty quickly.
Innovations Using Girl Guide Cookies as Ingredient
For these exciting cookie recipes, use the popular thin mints (mint flavoured chocolate wafers with chocolate coating) or trefoils (shortbread) Girl Guide cookies as part of the ingredients.
Crush Thin Mints into medium size chunks. Mix all ingredients into mixing bowl. Do not use electric mixer or batter will be stiff. Spread batter evenly in greased baking pan (13 x 9 x 2 inch). Bake in centre of oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting. Serve with mint-flavoured tea".
Using thin mints
Ingredients (for six) is as follows:
- Crushed Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies = 1/2 box
- Brownie mix = 1 box
- Eggs = 2no.
- Water = 1/4 cup
- Vegetable oil = 1/2 cup
Crush half box of Trefoils. Mix softened cream cheese and cheesecake pudding until smooth. Layer crushed cookies and cheesecake pudding in a cup and repeat layering of ingredients.
Garnish with strawberries (or your favourite berries) and 2 full Trefoil cookies. Drizzle with chocolate syrup" - (Source: Little Brownie Bakers)
(Traditional shortbread cookie made in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil insignia)
Ingredients (for eight) is as follows:
- Trefoils Girl Scout Cookies = 1 box
- Instant cheesecake pudding mix
- Soft cream cheese = 12 oz.
- Some strawberries
- Chocolate syrup
Girl Guide Cookies Best Sellers and Seasons
Right from inception, cookies sales has helped Scouts develop valuable skills while having immense fun in the process, and the fact that their efforts provides needed funds for their local Girl Scout councils and for their troops, it is a thing of pride for the girls that their hard work provides such resources.
The biggest and most popular of all cookie sales are the thin mints with others following in this order:
- Thin mints - 25%
- Samoas (Caramel deLites) -19%
- Peanut Butter Patties (Tagalongs) - 13%
- Peanut Butter Sandwich (Do-si-dos) - 11%
- Shortbread (Trefoils) - 9%
The other varieties of cookies combined account for the remaining 23%.
Scout cookies are produced and sold only during the Girl Guide cookie selling season and serves as an all important part of leadership experience for the young girls.
Cookie baking and selling activities takes place only once per year with most sales happening between January and April,
However, there are a few exceptions when Scouts cookies are sold as early as September.
© 2012 artsofthetimes