S’mores are out and Adventurefuls are in as the Girl Scout councils in the Philadelphia area begin their annual Girl Scout Cookie sales.
The cookie lineup varies throughout the country, as do the retail prices — $4 a box in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and $5 in Central and South Jersey. This year, these local councils are offering the same nine cookie varieties: a new brownie-inspired cookie with “caramel crème” and sea salt called Adventurefuls; a French toast riff called Toast-Yay, which debuted in 2021; and the more familiar Thin Mints (far and away the biggest seller), Caramel deLites, Shortbread, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Patties, and the gluten-free Caramel Chocolate Chip (which cost $1 more).
» READ MORE: How to buy Girl Scout cookies in a pandemic
Girl Scout Cookie terminology
Each council contracts with one of the two licensed bakers, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Because of licensing agreements with the Girl Scouts of America, certain cookies may carry different names.
ABC, for example, uses Shortbread for its shortbread cookies, while Little Brownie calls them Trefoils. Those coconut-studded caramel and fudge cookies that ABC calls Caramel deLites are Samoas, when you can find them from Little Brownie. ABC’s Peanut Butter Sandwich carries the Little Brownie name of Do-si-dos. Lemonades from ABC are Lemon-Ups from Little Brownie. Peanut Butter Patties are ABC’s chocolate-covered peanut butter cookie, while Little Brownie calls them Tagalongs. Thin Mints are universal. They’re all kosher and halal.
Varieties come and go. In 2021, the Girl Scouts crushed fans with the announcement that ABC had discontinued the chocolate-covered S’mores, which tasted like Keebler Deluxe Grahams. However: Little Brownie still bakes Girl Scout S’mores, though the chocolate is in the center of the cookie; head north of Interstate 195 to the North Jersey troops to find them.
The Girl Scouts in Eastern Pennsylvania said in 2021, the Scouts sold 2.77 million boxes, bringing in $11.1 million. A total of 11,748 girls participated, with an average of 235 boxes sold. Three hundred girls sold more than 1,000 boxes, and 1,565 girls (including my daughter) sold more than 500.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles
A few years ago, the hard-baked journalists of the Los Angeles Times broke down the bakeries’ differences between some of the cookies — even those carrying the same name. Thin Mints from ABC were found to be “crunchier, with more mint than chocolate in each bite” than the Little Brownie Thin Mints (”richer, smoother chocolate coating; distinct peppermint taste”). ABC’s Shortbreads had a “sweeter, almost vanilla taste to each bite,” compared with the “more buttery” Trefoils from Little Brownie.
Councils in areas that sell Little Brownie’s cookies, such as Northern New Jersey, are offering the Toffee-tastic as its gluten-free choice. The North Jersey councils are not selling Toast-Yays this year.
The Scouts have set up a comprehensive website with a search utility to help cookie fanciers find a stand outside a supermarket or inside a mall; you can also text the word “COOKIES” to 59618 to receive a link to find sellers in your area. The Girl Scouts learned a lot last year about in-person transactions, so it’s offering online ordering as well. In a first, starting in February, cookies will be available for delivery through the DoorDash app and people will also be able to use the app to arrange a pickup from a local cookie booth.