What are Girl Scout Cookies?In case you didn't already know, Girl Scout cookies are cookies sold by the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), sales of the cookies are the primary source of funding for the organization. A youth organization for girls, the Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, in 1912. Low modeled the Girl Scouts based on the Boy Scouts after meeting with their founder, Robert Baden-Powell.
HistoryFive years after Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts, the first box of Girl Scout cookies were sold in December 1917, by the Mistletoe Troop of Girl Scouts in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The cookies were made and sold in the local Muskogee high school cafeteria.
A few years later in July 1922, an article was published in The American Girl magazine, a magazine devoted to the Girl Scouts, that promoted the idea of cookie sales as a fundraiser and provided a few sample recipes and suggested prices. During the early years of Girl Scout cookies, the cookies were all locally home baked by the girls and their friends and families. It wasn't until 1934, that a commercial bakery was first used to provide the cookies for the Philadelphia troop.
By 1936, commercial bakers were licensed to provide all the Girl Scout Cookies for all the troops in the United States to sell, and the days of home baked cookies was over. 1936 was also the first year of a National Girl Scout Cookie Sale.
Since their inception, Girl Scout Cookies have always been sold annually to raise funds with one exception. During World War II, sugar, flour, and butter were all in severe shortage and the Girl Scouts sold Girl Scout calendars instead of the cookies.
SalesIn the beginning, Girl Scout cookies were often sold door to door by the Girl Scouts, however, today that practice has been largely dropped in favor of sales tables placed in prominent public areas. Girl Scouts are given sales incentives in the form of prizes to individuals and a percentage of the profits going to the local troop. Also the girls earn an annual Cookie Activity Pin and there are badges awarded.
The CookiesWhile there have been over twenty-five different types of cookies offered by the Girl Scouts every year, three varieties are permanent and mandatory selections that are always offered, namely: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Shortbreads. Other varieties that are occasionally/have been offered have included Lemon Chalet Cremes, Dulce De Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, and more. In total, eight different types of cookies are offered each year. The newest cookie for 2012 is called the Savannah Smile.
Today, there are only two licensed bakers that produce the cookies each year: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.