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How to Make Original Girl Scout Cookies

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I have a sweet tooth but used to avoid chocolates for obvious reasons. Not anymore. Now I can make my own healthy, guilt-free snacks.

Girl scouts selling homemade cookies.

Girl scouts selling homemade cookies.

The first-ever Girl Scout cookie was the sugar cookie. They were easy to make and required only a few basic ingredients.

Of course, it was over a quarter of a century before I was born, and I didn’t become a member of the Girl Guides until half a century later. Nonetheless, it was one of the things we were told about during our camping outings way back then. We were told the reasons why the Girl Scout sugar cookies were baked.

At the time, we hadn’t commenced making and selling cookies in my neck of the woods, but a few years down the line, we, too, partook in the annual baking and selling of what everyone now loves to have a taste of.

The ingredients that were used from the beginning 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 straightforward, even with tools and methods we may now refer to today as archaic.

A Brief History of Girl Scout Cookies

Right from inception, cookies sales have helped Scouts develop valuable skills while having immense fun in the process, and the fact that their efforts provide needed funds for their local Girl Scouts councils and for their troops, is a thing of pride for the girls that their hard work provides such resources.

Scout cookies are produced and sold only during the Girl Guide cookie-selling season and serve as an all-important part of the leadership experience for young girls. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t make your own at home whenever you so wish.

Cookie baking and selling activities take place only once per year, with most sales happening between January and April,

However, there are a few exceptions when Scout cookies are sold as early as September.

Fresh from the oven: Scout cookies

Fresh from the oven: Scout cookies

This is the recipe for the Girl Scout sugar cookies from the early 20th century.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder. Leave mix covered for at least 1 hour.
  2. Roll the dough and cut it into trefoil shapes; sprinkle sugar on top
  3. Bake in an oven (375°) for approximately 8–10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six to seven dozen cookies.

Subsequently, selling cookies became a familiar feature of Girl Scouting, especially in Canadian and American culture.

And for nearly a century after, Scouts, with the wholehearted support of their families, have in no small measure contributed to the success of their troop's programs and activities.

By the mid-1930s, the organization started retailing commercially baked 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 Scouts Cookies" printed on the package.

By the early 1950s, the following varieties were produced and sold extensively:

  1. Sandwich
  2. Shortbread (Trefoils)
  3. Chocolate Mints (Thin Mints)
  4. Vanilla-based filled cookie
  5. Chocolate-based filled one

Of all these five cookie classics, Thin Mints and Trefoils still remain favorites till today.

This simple cookie recipe was created by Christina Riespman in 1927 when a company in Saskatchewan needed to raise money for a camping expedition for their troops.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (aromatic spice of a tropical plant)
  • 3 (or 4) cups flour to make a soft dough


  1. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat in the eggs and cream.
  2. Mix the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and flour.
  3. Sift the dry mix into the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly into a dough.
  4. Roll and cut with a small flour-coated glass or cookie cutter.
  5. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at moderate heat in an oven until done. (Source: Anna Humphrey)

This recipe is actually the way thin mint cookies are made, an imitation of the Girl Scout style. Enjoy this interpretation of the Girl Scouts’ 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.


For the chocolate wafers:

  • 1 pack of (fudge) cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons of melted shortening
  • 1/2 cup of flour (sifted)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • Non-stick cooking spray

For the chocolate/peppermint coating:

  • 1 (12 ounces) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 6 tablespoons of shortening


  1. 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 plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for a couple of hours until the dough is firm enough to slice into 1/4-inch thick wafers.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 additional minute and stir again until the chocolate is very smooth.
  4. 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.

Trefoil Recipe

This recipe imitates 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.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

It is good to note that using a lightly floured surface on a cookie tray instead of waxed paper as wax paper.

This dough mix does get sticky pretty quickly.


  1. Cream butter and sugar until it's 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.
  2. Split the 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 lighter colour.

Modern Innovations With Scout Cookies as Ingredients

For these exciting cookie recipes, use the popular thin mints (mint-flavoured chocolate wafers with chocolate coating) or Trefoils (shortbread) Girl Scout cookies as part of the ingredients.

Using Thin Mints

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1/2 box Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies, crushed
  • 1 pack brownie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 a cup vegetable oil


  1. Crush the Thin Mints into medium size chunks.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Do not use an electric mixer, or the batter will be stiff.
  3. Spread batter evenly in greased baking pan (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Bake in the centre of an oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Allow cooling before cutting. Serve with mint-flavoured tea.

Using Trefoils

(Traditional shortbread cookie made in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil insignia.)

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 box of Trefoils Girl Scout Cookies
  • Instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 12 ounces soft cream cheese
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate syrup


  1. Crush half a box of Trefoils. Mix softened cream cheese and cheesecake pudding until smooth. Layer crushed cookies and cheesecake pudding in a cup and repeat the layering of ingredients.
  2. Garnish with strawberries (or your favourite berries) and two full Trefoil cookies. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.

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