Cookie Week Day Three: Girl Scout Cookies

Posted by Brette in Food

Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? Did you know the Girl Scouts have been selling these cookies for almost 100 years? Did you ever wonder how it started?

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies as a fundraiser since 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma baked and sold cookies in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

Scout cooking was a hot topic at the time – the 1918 book Camp Cookery: A Cookery and Equipment Handbook for Boy Scouts and Other Campers by Ava B. Milan, A. Grace Johnson, and Ruth McNary Smith contained a recipe for rolled oat cookies which were to be baked on a grill over an open fire. In 1922, The American Girl magazine (then published by the Girl Scout national headquarters) included a cookie recipe which estimated the cost of ingredients to be 26 to 36 cents for six or seven dozen cookies. It also suggested the cookies could be sold for 25 to 30 cents per dozen. Cookies sales became traditional for many troops in the 1920s and 30s with Girl Scouts baking sugar cookies at home and selling them door to door.

Published in 1922, this is the original recipe Girl Scouts used to make cookies at home for their sales:

Original Girl Scout Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar plus additional amount for topping (optional)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.

There’s a lot more about the history and culture of Girl Scout cookies (and some neat photos the Girl Scouts gave me permission to use) in Cookie: A Love Story!

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