HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What's the big deal with Girl Scout Cookies?

Seriously, do people actually like Girl Scout Cookies?

The renowned Thin Mints taste like a glorified after-dinner mint.

The samoas are so cloyingly sweet they make my teeth ache just typing this.

And, honestly, I would rather eat a cold pat of butter on a Saltine cracker than one of those shortread cookies.

I have nothing against the Girl Scouts or the entrepreneurial spirit the cookie program tries to foster, but couldn't they find something just a wee bit more palatable to sell?

Or, is that part of the challenge? ... Learn how to successfully sell vile food products and you can succeed at anything in life?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ok, I understand. Yes, there are better cookies but the enjoyment goes back a lifetime for many. Also, the lack of off the shelf availability makes it enticing. So, if once a year a Girl Scout or Brownie wants to push her product on me, I go for 2 boxes of Mint, 2 boxes of Samoas and 1 box of the Peanut Butter. The rest of the year it's Double Milanos and Ginger Creme Sandwich cookies for me. (Similar issue with Mallowmars only available in cooler weather--got to have them when they come out and before they mmmmelt away)

    1. here is the ingredient list from a box of samosas:

      Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, (Soybean, Cottonseed, Coconut Palm And/Or Palm Kernel Oils, Tbhq And Citric Acid To Preserve Freshness), Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Corn Syrup, Coconut, Sweetened Condensed Whole Milk (Whole Milk, Sucrose), Sorbitol, Contains Two Percent Or Less Of Cocoa, Glycerine, Salt, Dextrose, Invert Sugar, Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Cornstarch, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Leavening (Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate).

      when i was selling girl scout cookies lots of these ingredients hadn't even been invented. they absolutely tasted different.

      btw, there is a merit badge for cookie sales.

      6 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        last weekend i bought a box of samoas and a box of do-si-does (sp?). samoas have always been my favorite, but this was the first time i read the ingredient list. the ingredient list for the do-si-does is much shorter and easier to pronounce, but still rather scary. thing is, the next day i ate nearly half the box of samoas while watching the oscars. maybe it is because they are seasonal, and that it's hard to say no to little girls trying to earn some dough for the troop. but they still taste good to me, maybe the way that a bag of pepperidge farms chessmen would if they were only available once a year.

        that said, i'm surprised that the girl scouts haven't taken the health aspect of their cookies more seriously. because of the popularity of these cookies, i think they have a huge opportunity to try to revise their recipes to rethink the use of transfats and, well, "invert sugar," whatever that is. a hypocrite i may be when it comes to a box of samoas, but i wouldn't want children of my own eating this stuff.

        1. re: augustiner

          I thought I just read that they're eliminating trans fats, maybe they meant next year?

          1. re: coll

            The Girl Scout website for our local area says this year NO transfats!

            1. re: Jesdamala

              the box i ate last weekend had partially hygrogenated vegetable oil listed as the second ingredient.

              1. re: augustiner

                i read something somewhere like washington post that the government says as long as its below a certain percentage like ".5%," they are allowed to say "no trans fat." i think girl scout cookies have about that amount.

          2. re: augustiner

            These are my favorites too, but I have to say, they are not as good as they used to be. Used to be chewier...more caramel...I was disappointed this year. And I'm sure you are right about the seasonal aspect...

        2. I'm with you...they are disgusting. I always thought we were just supposed to buy them to support the Girls until I worked in a place where they actually ate the cookies. After that I never worried about what I brought to potluck work lunches.

          1. see my post above. thanks.

            1. Well, this person actually does, yes. I think Thin Mints, especially frozen taste...good. And I know that it isn't in style anymore for dessert items to be sweet, but there you go - I like my sweets...sweet. Cookies, cakes, doughnuts - I like 'em sweet.

              1. Thin mints. Only thin mints. Frozen and eaten whole serially. It's probably genetically engrained after more than 40 years, but instead of two boxes a year I'm down to one. I hate all the rest, even the peanut butter sandwiches, which were the only other ones I would eat. They're now taste almost exclusively of sawdust.

                1. I love Girl Scout Cookies. They taste great, they help a cause, they bring back nostalgia and Edy's/Dreyers makes ice creamwith it. Not everything can be Keller-quality or Organic-centric.

                  OK go ahead and blast me, but you all know deep in your hearts you love them too.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jfood

                    We love Girl Scout Cookies. I send them to my college guys! They love passing around Girl Scout Cookies! Love those sweet Samoas. No blast from us! I go looking for them during the selling season!

                    1. re: jfood

                      I am with you on the love for Girl Scout Cookies. I grew up on frozen thin mints, I am smiling just thinking about them. There are just two of us, but we always seem to buy enough for a large family.

                      1. re: jfood

                        Agreed. Two boxes of Thin Mints, at $4.00 a pop, were what I bought this year. One box is gone. I'm attempting to hold out on the other.

                        The nostalgia factor, in addition to what Eve said above - the lack of grocery store shelf availability - make them enticing to me. And the (albeit very small amount of) money that the GS Council gets at least helps the Girl Scouts with their camping trips, or whatever they might use the money for these days.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          In our Council (Sierra NV) our cookies sale for $3.50 per box and we actually get a very nice percentage of the money:

                          Where your $3.50 goes...

                          $0.83 Cost of sale (cost of cookies and distribution) (This is all that goes to the baker)
                          $0.60 Troop profit and incentives (This stays directly with the troop selling!)
                          $1.94 Goes to support educational programs for girls,
                          financial aid, camp program & facilities and
                          volunteer training. (This amount stays with the local GS Council!)

                      2. I happen to like the shortbread cookies especially in making crusts. Thin Mints are good for dunking in warm beverages. The Lemon Sandwich cookies that aren't around here anymore were my favorites. And I'll eat just about any other kind, but maybe that's because I was a Girl Scout for many a year and it makes me feel like I'm still involved. If you don't like them, don't buy them. But, it's always nice to support the Girl Scouts anyway and leave a donation.

                        1. Girl Scout cookies used to be better - I sold them when I was a kid, and I don't buy them now because I think the quality has gone downhill. There was a "glass" scare in the late eighties/early nineties -- not glass, but some sugar syrup had seeped out of some of the cookies and crystallized -- and the GS changed their baker after the scare. The cookies haven't been the same since, IMHO.

                          1. Gee... and I thought it was about supporting the Girl Scouts! Silly me!

                            I love to make a snazzy icebox cake out of the thin mints and home made ice cream. No other cookie work as well for that. Are Samoas what they call the plain cookies nowadays? I like those with a lemon cream filling, as well.

                            Back when I was selling GS cookies, there was only one kind... sandwich. one row of chcolate with white filling and one row of vanilla cookies with white filling. We sold a lot of those cookies, I can tell you...

                            When I was in th gread, I think, is when the mint cookies were added. We were so glad to have another variety to offer our customers.... mostly the other peoople in our buildings and blocks who didn't have Girl Scouts in their families. The troops rely on the money they get back -- their percentabe -- to fund troop trips and projects. Its all about the support.

                            1. Has anyone tried the homemade versions for which there are multiple recipes floating around the Internet? I know of one for the Thin Mints that was developed by the Top Secret recipes guy, but haven't made it. There was a recipe for "Not Nutter Butters" in Nancy Silverman's sandwich book that's remarkably similar to the oatmeal/peanut butter sandwich ones, the name of which escapes me. (Silverman's version is thankfully less sweet.) I think the appeal lies entirely in their seasonality, speaking as a former Girl Scout who won a badge for selling the second most next to our leader's daughter!

                              1. They taste great and support a wonderful organization. If my daughter comes a knocking, I know you will be buying!

                                1. "hadn't even been invented"--give me a break:
                                  Unless you were born in the stone age!

                                  Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, (Soybean, Cottonseed, Coconut Palm And/Or Palm Kernel Oils,
                                  "Solid shortening, the thick white paste that made your grandmother’s piecrust so flaky, was created nearly a century ago by adding hydrogen to liquid oils to make them turn solid at room temperature (the process known as hydrogenation). Originally intended as a cheap substitute for butter and lard, partially hydrogenated oils soon became known for their ability to increase the shelf life and improve the texture of baked goods and other food products.?
                                  Tbhq And Citric Acid To Preserve Freshness),
                                  Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1),
                                  Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid],
                                  Corn Syrup,
                                  Sweetened Condensed Whole Milk (Whole Milk, Sucrose),
                                  Sorbitol, (this is just a derivative of milk
                                  ) Contains Two Percent Or Less Of Cocoa,
                                  Invert Sugar,
                                  Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali)
                                  , Cornstarch,
                                  Natural And Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin,
                                  Carrageenan, --from Seaweed!
                                  Leavening (Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate).

                                  I love 'em as I grew up a GS & it is traditon, 1x a year for Samosas.
                                  I encourage purchasing them, even if you don't eat them, as the moolah will help girls go to camp etc.

                                  Hungrydyke, I am really flabbergasted you encountered homophobia-I am certain a lot of my leaders/camp counselors were lesbians (this is for a whole other forum)

                                  1. I don't eat them myself but I buy a box or two every year to support the girls in my neighborhood. I think my husband eats them. The boxes always disappear so I assume he munches on them when he's up late grading papers.

                                    My daughter is planning to be a scout when she is old enough so I guess I should build up some good karma. For the price, though, I agree that they should try to use better ingredients/fewer perservatives.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: newbatgirl

                                      Girl Scout Cookies do not contain preservatives. They are all made with pure vegetable shortening, and are kosher!

                                    2. One Box of Thin Mints, Frozen, eaten serially whole!

                                      1. My husband goes overboard and buys multiple boxes each year from a friend with two girls in scouts. Personally, I think each box is too expensive for what you get ( I realize the cost has to cover the cookie producer's cut, any other middlemen, then finally the troops themselves). The cookies are good as far as boxed cookies go but nothing special.

                                        Keebler used to make a good facsimile of the Samoas but I don't see that cookie in the Fudge Shoppe section on the Keebler website. Their Grasshopper cookie is a good copy of the GS thin Mints (but on their site, partially hydrongentated oils are listed...boo.. hiss ,hiss).

                                        1. Girl Scouts are trying to be PC now. Yes, they have cut trans fats. And Samoas are now called 'Caramel Delites.' I guess the next step is don't ask don't tell.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                            According to an article I read a few years ago, there are actually two companies that bake the cookies for the Girl Scouts. While the cookies are the same, some of the names are different, like Samoa vs. Carmel Delite. So, depending on where your local troops get their cookies from, the name may be one or the other.

                                            If I remember correctly, here in the Twin Cities different troops get from different bakers (I believe Minneapolis vs. St. Paul) so you can just hop across the river and get the same cookie by a different name.

                                            I also love the Thin Mints. I was going to not get any this year because I'm trying to eat better but that Brownie that came into my office was just too darn cute to resist.

                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              In some parts of the US they are called Caramel deLites. In other parts they are called Samoas. It depends which factory makes them. Here are others with different names depending on where you are:
                                              1.Do-Si-Dos or Peanut Butter Sandwich
                                              2. Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties
                                              3. Trefoils or Shortbread

                                            2. Although they have reduced the amount of trans fats in their cookies, they are still in there. They just made sure they had less than .5 g. per serving which allows them to put "0" under the trans fat section of the nutritional info. Might make you think twice about scarfing down that box of Thin Mints in one sitting.

                                              1. I've always thought GS cookies were disgusting. And trust me, I'm all for good cookies. In my opinion, GS cookies are not good. I do not buy them.

                                                1. Anyone who can find fault in GS cookies has got a major "deal with life" issue. SO WHAT if they are do not have the most perfect ingredients, can't we have something that the Food-Nazis just let go of. Can we just lighten up a little. Do the same group go to bake sales and micro-manage every muffin, cookie and brownie. I can hear the talk at the latte machine, "did you hear Janey did not use organic butter in the brownies."

                                                  The only item i read on the box is "Thin Mints" "Do-see-dos" and "Samoas". And that's after I make a teenage girl feel really special about herself because she had another sale. BTW I will not buy from co-workers, that's not the purpose of the sales, it's for the kids. But when I pass the folding table downtown with those cute smiles saying "Mista, Wanna buy some cookies?" A few twenties come out of my pocket and double digit boxes go into the Jfood-car.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Amen! Grand! I am now in a search, will be calling the local office to find out where they will be set up in front of local markets..., going to buy boxes and boxes, hoard some...oh, those Samoas and Do See Dos...and send them off to my college guys across the country who will, I know as I have done this, be the hit of their dorms! Hey, does anyone here remember that great line from the Addams Family movie? Something like...'what are they made from, real Girl Scouts?'...well had to be there! Next week we are off on our Girl Scout Cookie hunt, those market parking lots...and no doubt, none of us will perish from them, and lots of people will be happy! Again, Bravo!

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      i thought i hated gs cookies because they taste terrble! i didn't think that it was down to my inability to deal with life. i'll be sure to bring it up with my shrink in my next session.

                                                    2. You can turn your nose up if you like but I have actually frozen gril scout cookes and then used them as a hostess gift in June and been the most popular guest at the party.

                                                      1. I think the Girl Scout cookies are pretty bad, but I buy 5 boxes every spring from my (2) nieces to help them out. I typically end up throwing out the unopened boxes later in the year.

                                                        I buy them because it is for a good cause.

                                                        1. I received three boxes of the sugar free "Little Brownies" (I didn't see the sugar-free part on the order form) those cookies taste so bad we thew them out - just a bad metallic after taste and the samoas are like obesity in a box.

                                                          1. I love cookies and I don't eat Girl Scount cookies even when they're free. They're gross!

                                                            1. A lot of it is a nostalgia thing. I was a Girl Scout, and now I'm a leader, and I've seen a lot of women (especially at booth sales) talk about their days in scouting when they see the cookies.

                                                              The girls connect with the cookies from an early age because it teaches them some self-confidence... if nothing else, they have to ring their neighbors doorbells and ask if they want to buy cookies. My local council runs the national toll-free number, and it's staffed by older (middle and high school) girls. It gives them an opportunity to see how a business is run from the inside.

                                                              And there is definitely a taste difference between the two bakers.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: pamalamb

                                                                What are the differences between the cookies produced by the two different bakers, aside from the naming?


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  In the Twin Cities, at least, the different bakers used to do different-colored insides for the Thin Mints. How I remember my disappointment when I bit into a Thin Mint and found a vanilla cookie instead of a chocolate one! But this was long ago - I haven't had a vanilla Thin Mint for several years. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe the vanilla baker wised up.

                                                                  Now I'm just disappointed that the cookies still have transfats. I checked the web site before buying, and was fooled into thinking that the transfats were really gone. But GSA weaseled out with the "less than 0.5 per serving" loophole. Bad idea - you *know* no-one eats just the recommended portion size on the box! And since I've given up other foods with transfats, these cookies taste bad to me - the shortbread cookies are particularily foul. I won't be buying any next year unless the transfats are truly gone. Alas.


                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    The recipes are different, although I couldn't give you specifics on how. I've only had one baker for the last few years, so I can't compare this year's cookies.

                                                                2. The cookies don't taste good to me. I've bought them in the past and they just taste foul. I can't believe there's a merit badge for this!

                                                                  1. NPR Food, March 1st did a playful piece on Girl Scout Cookies.
                                                                    Perhaps you can relate.


                                                                    1. I believe clones of every cookie in the Girl Scouts line are available year-round from other brands. So, for example, the highly touted Thin Mints are virtually identical to Keebler's Grasshopper cookies. Likewise, I've seen commercially available cookies akin to Samoa's, Peanut Butters, et al, on every major supermarket's cookie aisle shelves.

                                                                      So there is nothing inherently special about a Girl Scout Cookie other than the fact that it is sold by and for Girl Scouts. Don't get me wrong, though - I still buy them by the case, mostly out of support for the organization and to participate in this fun annual ritual. But anyone who claims they buy the cookies for a unique taste experience is probably just deluding themselves. Still, I agree that the GS organization should take far greater responsibility for the obscene ingredients used to raise money for this otherwise worthy children's cause.

                                                                      1. I have to laugh at this topic given I was just reading a thread on best supermarket coffee and one praising Cheesecake Factory.

                                                                        Compared to a can of Chock Full O'Nuts or a six-month old bag of Seattle's Best, GS Cookies are pure manna from heaven.

                                                                        Yes, I ate a half dozen frozen thin mints last night during 24.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chinchilla_chow

                                                                            I really don't care about the stupid transfat...

                                                                            I just don't care
                                                                            It can't effect me...
                                                                            I just eat.
                                                                            I don't care...

                                                                            1. re: chinchilla_chow

                                                                              WEll. I know there is a merit badge for cookies but not neceesarily for selling cookies. It's mostly just about learning about the dang things...
                                                                              I don't read the ingredients................................................
                                                                              ^_^... XD <------------

                                                                              1. re: chinchilla_chow

                                                                                ANd also...

                                                                                Ther's an almond joy cookie which isssssssssssssss just as good as samoas......
                                                                                maybe better.....................................................
                                                                                actually, probabluy better to all you nay-sayers. I don't see anything wrong... but then again I don't think about ingredients... I just don't care.

                                                                                1. re: chinchilla_chow

                                                                                  I was just trying... to find out if there was an *ahem* recipe for samoas that didn't use all those *ahem* ingredients and didin't caust *ahem* so much money. ALL YEAR ROUND AVAILABLE INGREDIENTS *AHEM* . The other people... might care about ingredients... I just want... more... all... year... round... I... don't.. care... about... INGREDIENTS!... ALthough... I ... do... think... that... high fructose corn syrup... is... horrid. *ONE EXCEPTION* ONLY ONE>

                                                                                  My chinchillas pwn you !

                                                                                  1. re: chinchilla_chow

                                                                                    As I commented on high fructose corn syrup X_X

                                                                                    I do believe. GirlScout Cookies
                                                                                    Don't contain.
                                                                                    High Fructose Corn syrup.

                                                                                    partialy hydrogenated oil.

                                                                                    All I can say to that is what the?----

                                                                                2. I don't love them either....give me homemade or PFarm Milano, anyday....but I bought 4 boxes this year because like swsidejim said, it's for a cause. I bring them into my office and by noon, all four boxes are gone.

                                                                                  By the way, the "thank you" ones aren't bad. They're a much, much blander version of L'Petite Ecolier to me.

                                                                                  1. I dislike all of them. I have 9, count them, 9 young neices whom I adore and I have to sadly turn down every year when they come begging to me to buy these.

                                                                                    I tell all of them I'll buy anything else you have to sell me, candles, wrapping paper, magazines, flower bulbs; but I just can't see spending my money on a food item I dislike as much as I do these cookies.

                                                                                    Thankfully, they all seem to understand. If I could only get my husband on board now. He's a fan, but since I'm the shopper, I have the last say.

                                                                                    1. Chilled Samoas. Yum. Maybe I love these because I was a Girl Scout, but really, once a year, I just can't feel bad about indulging. And yes, because I keep them in the fridge and they are rich enough even for my sweet tooth (caramel and coconut and shortbread, oh my!), I actually eat the serving size. (Two cookies equals four points on WW, for those who are counting.) I have fond memories from an early age of going door to door and feeling accomplished seeing all those signatures on my sales list. It taught confidence and some business skills, too.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: janbrady

                                                                                        It is an old tradition that is kind of cool. I heard that they got rid of the trans fats but I'm not sure all of them are free of the dreaded fats. I have not seen any Girl Scouts in my neighborhood and i might buy some if they actually did eliminate the trans fats.

                                                                                        1. re: kai27

                                                                                          The trans fats are still in this year's Girl Scout cookies. They've just used the "we can say it's trans-fat free if there's less than 0.5 units per serving" loophole. So if you eat half a box at a time (like me), you're getting a ton of trans fats.