Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Girl Scouts! Let's Have Some Cookies!

That's right "kiddies" today we're celebrating yet another Centennial celebration! 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in the United States. On March 12, 1912, a century ago, Juliette Gordon Low (Daisy to her friends:) founded the Girl Scouts of America in Savannah, Georgia.

Juliette "Daisy‟ Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars and studied first aid." (Girl Scouts of the USA website)

By all accounts, Juliette Gordon Low was a remarkable women (that's her in the middle) and as much as I would love to share her contributions to Savannah’s rich history, we have cookies to talk about. Girl Scout Cookies that is:) Perhaps I will return to Juliette Low's life on her birthday in October. In the meantime, let's talk cookies.

The History of Girl Scout Cookies begins in Oklahoma.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma is proud to have a special place in Girl Scout history.  Girl Scout Cookies® had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with mothers volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917... The earliest mention of a cookie sale found to date was that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917. By the 1920s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country were baking their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. (source)

An Early Girl Scout Cookie® Recipe
Girl Scout Council
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 6 to 7 dozen cookies.

In 1922, a Cookie recipe was provided by Girl Scout council leader Florence E. Neil in The American Girl Magazine. The cookies she suggested, could be sold for 30 cents per dozen. You can find an adaptation of the original recipe, with tips, at Serious Eats. Or, you can view the magazine recipe yourself here.

By the 1930s, Girl Scout Cookie production went commercial!

In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city's gas and electric company windows. Just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24 helped girls develop their marketing and business potential and raise funds for their local Girl Scout council program. In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies. 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 Scout Cookies" printed on the package. (source)

Let's jump ahead to the sixties (late sixties that is:) and the time when I was a Girl Scout:) I'm not sure whether this booklet published by the Campbell's Soup Foundation is from the 60s or later but I just had to share it with you. To be perfectly honest, I'm not really how long I've had it:)

From the introduction:
Cooking With A Purpose
The food you prepare does more than satisfy hunger. It shows how you feel about your family, your troop, your friends, younger or older people. Your effort is reflected in the attractive way you serve your prepared food. Cooking skill can help you put into practice your motto "Be Prepared" and parts of the promise and laws. Of course you recognize these as among the purposes of scouting. Here are many food ways to practice your purpose, contributing to badge earning and your own satisfaction as a Scout.

Here are ideas to help you do the things that individual badges stand for, and to do them often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to be prepared to give Girl Scout service.

Today, the three layers of the World Trefoil Pin symbolize the sisterhood that millions of girls around the world share.

For girls earning their Outdoor Cooking Badge, these recipes were recommended.

"Set up and use four different types of cooking fires, including charcoal. Explain the advantages of each, and when to use it. Know how to put out cooking fires safely and demonstrate this when you have finished using each fire you built. Find out regulations in your community for building cooking fires in backyards, in parks, or on public properties.” (Outdoor Cook Badge – Girl Scout Badges and Signs – 1981)

Did you notice there are no S'mores included in the above recipes? S'more's are as much a part of Girl Scout history as The Girl Scout Handbook of 1927, where the first recorded version of the recipe was found. Thankfully, Janet @ Dying for Chocolate had more to say about their history on National S'more Day. (Last year we celebrated National S'more Day stuffing our faces:)

Now for the really good stuff; The Cookies! What's your favorite? And, what does it say about you?

What does your favorite Girl Scout Cookie say about YOU?

See that sunny yellow box of cookies in the middle? Those are this year's 100th anniversary introduction; Savannah Smiles. Some say they remind them of another Girl Scout cookie they miss called Lemon Coolers. Little Brownie Bakers, one of the companies that makes the Girl Scout cookies, (the other is ABC/Interbake Foods) explains the newest creation was named for founder Juliette Gordon Low's hometown: Savannah, Georgia. The company describes the cookie as "cool and crisp, with just the right number of lemon chips to deliver tiny bursts of flavor."

Since I have never tried either, I'm not much help. (Marion & I will be nibbling on a few tonight:) I can, however, tell you there have already been recipes developed using this latest addition.

I found the following recipe for Savannah Smiles Mousse at the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website where you can download the entire 2012 Desserts First Louisville recipes for free. Many of the recipes were created with help from local restaurant chefs.

Savannah Smiles Mousse
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
¾ cup of sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup of ground Savannah Smiles cookies
7 large egg yolks
4 oz./1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and ground Savannah Smiles cookies with the egg yolks. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and incorporated. Strain the lemon curd into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate the curd until chilled, about 2 hours. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream until firm. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd.

The fundraiser is a dessert contest in which Girl Scouts team up with area chefs to make a dessert using Girl Scout cookies. Here's what the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland came up with.

I've also found a few more recipe links for you to explore that either use Girl Scout cookies as an ingredient, just in case you should find yourself with leftovers, or if you're feeling really creative you can attempt making your very own. I didn't want to impose again on other bloggers so rather than "grab" their pictures and links, I'll just provide the links.

Savannah Smiles Lemon Berry Trifle
Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies
Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas
Homemade Do-si-dos

Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Chocolate Pie
Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Cheesecake Cups

Girl Scout Thin Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Samoas Bark

If you think leftover Girl Scout Cookies are only worthy of decadent desserts, check out this recipe for Girl Scout Samoa Curry Arancini, one of the many winners of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington Food Blogger Recipe Contest.

I would like to thank the two adorable Brownies who provided me with these delicate delights and their wonderful mom's who were more than intrigued when I mentioned I found a recipe which included Savannah Smiles as an ingredient. (they were also delighted to know we celebrated the Oreo Birthday a few days ago:) Unfortunately because of all the chatter we shared I forgot to get their names:) Thanks girls!

The picture of Juliette Low's birthplace at the top of the page was scanned from a wonderful cookbook in my collection titled the Savannah Sampler Cookbook by Margaret Wayt DeBolt copyright 1978. It is darned with Savannah folklore, wood cuts and tempting southern recipes. It also happens to include a recipe for Girl Scout Brownies provided by the Girl Scout Council of Savannah.

If for some reason you crave that Girl Scout Cookie goodness from your favorite variety but are perhaps watching the pounds and the ingredients, you might be surprised to learn Lip Smacker launched Girl Scout Cookie lip gloss in many of your favorite flavors. You might be able to find them at Walmart too!

There are lots of celebrations coinciding with the Girl Scout Centennial Celebration. Not only in Georgia but all over the country, and some parts of the world. If you visit any of the links I've provided above, I'm sure you will be well on your way to local celebrations in your area. I happened upon an intriguing ad in a travel guide (PDF file) while online the other day. I can't remember where it came from but I simply had to include it for all you Paula Deen fans out there especially since she too is a native of Georgia.

"Once I showed up at my sister's with a baby rabbit I had bought from some children because its ears were cold. I put the rabbit on a hot water bottle and massaged its ears for quite a while. After all, I knew that all healthy animals had warm ears." ~Juliette Gordon Low~

1. Most Popular Girl Scout Cookies (be sure and check out the "Hamburger" Cookies made with Thin Mints and other "goodies.")
2. Almost Like Girl Scout Cookies


  1. That is worth a big celebration; are they still going strong in your area? I haven't had anyone selling those cookies at my place in a very log time.

  2. Wow! There was an original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe?? I had no idea - what fun! Many years ago, I actually did some consulting work with the National Girl Scout organization. At the time they were about to celebrate their 75th Birthday. Hard to believe that much time has flown by and they are marking their centennial.

  3. MMMMMCOOKIES! I have to go with Thin Mints as my favorite -- I love crushing them up and mixing into vanilla ice cream.

    I must admit, though, I'd love to see Scouts actually baking their own cookies for people. It's a more useful skill than standing in front of Walmart and hawking them, I think.

  4. Yay!! Happy anniversary GSA! And cookie sales are still huge here. If your previous commenter (-or?) really misses them, I have friends who will ship...

  5. I love girl scout cookies! What great extra info about them.

  6. Ah, Girl Scouts was so fun for me. But, I only made it to the Junior level.

  7. Ooooh wow! Love the cookies of Girl Scouts and the discussions that always ensue as to which cookie is everyone's favorite :)

  8. hi louise, i'm not aware of these girl scout cookies, nice reading the information above and the lemon cooler sounds nice to me. I was a girl guide during my schooldays but i never reached to earn my cooking badge!

  9. What a fabulous post. I learned so many new things. Love all the recipes, too...I'm proud to have been a Girl Scout. Did you see they're now offering a Crime Investigation Badge? http://www.mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com/2012/03/girl-scout-crime-investigation-badges.html

  10. Thanks for all the info! Really interesting! I was never a Girl Scout even though I wanted to when I was young, but we could not afford the uniform as we were poor back then! Nice reading about the background and history of how Girl Scout came about. Have a lovely day!

  11. My daughter is a Brownie and she loves it. She just sold a bunch of cookies! My favorites are the Samoas and the Savannah Smiles.

  12. Yes, let's celebrate. I was a scout AND a leader!

  13. Snarl. Savannah was a future baby name I wanted. I can't name a kid after a box of cookies....

  14. 1oo years? How amazing...I was introduced to girt scout only when I moved to US...love the post and the recipes.
    Thank you Louise for the post.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week :)

  15. Such a fun interesting post! Samoas and the Thin Mints are my favorites! I was a Brownie leader for three years...such fun memories!

  16. Love that little Campbell's Girl Scout booklet Louise! Hadn't seen it before. I was a Brownie and still remember going door to door selling cookies.

  17. I just like the plain cookies. I really love shortbreads. Of course, GS cookies are now so pricy that I can't really afford to buy enough to feed my hungry hordes. And I was a Girl Scout in the early 1970s (for 3 years). My parents kept moving, so I never got assimilated into a group, and just quit going after a while.

  18. I am so glad you came by but I was hoping, you would have been there, yesterday. Please go back and see my newest present.


  19. Oooooh (she squeals), I had that exact outdoor cooking badge. Regarding the cookies, I am a thin mint lover myself--alas they would never survive long enough to make into a recipe!

  20. So, I just finished eating a couple of Thin Mints! As a former Girl Scout and an annual buyer of 12 boxes (to keep in the freezer), I loved reading this info on Girl Scout Cookies. Thanks!

  21. I have never seen girl scouts in my life. This tradition doesnt exist from where I come, but my mother used to tell us stories from the scouts. She was part of the catholic scouts ( I think). Sounds like lots of fun selling cookiess to the neighbores! thanks for all the information and interessting knowledge Louise! =)

  22. I don't know why I've NEVER had a Girl Scout appear at my doorstep to sell their lovely cookies before. It's very sad! But oooh Louise, I just had a wonderful cupcake yesterday-- a Samoa cupcake inspired by the Girl Scout cookie! :D

  23. Precisely how have you figure all of this out relating to this topic? I enjoyed scanning this, Ill must visit other pages on your own site straight away.

  24. Hello Louise,
    Happy girls scouts day, feeling so glad to see the celebrations around and the enthu in the coming generation. The cookie recipe cudnt look n taste better than this. . Have a good day...Cheers, Sonia

  25. 100 years young, how is that possible. To think there was a time without girl scot cookies almost defies comprehension. Thank goodness for thin mints.

  26. I never joined the scouts... Those recipes are lovely and this post is so enjoyable.



  27. I was able to try tagalongs ang thin mints when a friend from the US sent me some girls scout cookies he purchased by bulk. Yum!

  28. I am a proud Girl Scout leader! I have a troop of 23 girls in the upstate of SC. It is our cookie sale goal this year to raise enough money to take a trip to Savannah, GA. We hope to visit the home/museum of our founder. I loved showing my girls the old recipes on your blog. Thank You.

    1. Hi Shanon!

      I can't tell you how happy I am to know that you and your girls enjoyed this post. I tried to find your email or web page on Google+ to no avail. Hopefully you will get this message:) Thank you again for visiting.

      P.S. Watch for my post on August, 10, 2013 for National S'mores Day. I'll be sharing another vintage Girl Scout booklet the girls might enjoy:)

  29. 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in the United ... electricscootergirl.blogspot.com


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise