Girl Scout Cookies: here’s the original recipe

Girl Scout Cookies

Chris Rock nudged the Oscar audience into buying $65,243 worth of Girl Scout cookies. Most of us don’t buy our cookies in an audience full of theater royalty, but rather from Girl Scouts who have set up tables on sidewalks, in front of stores, who have rung your doorbell, online, or from parents selling them at the office.

But, no matter when or where you buy them, the Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs are still the cookies we know and love.

The Original Girl Scout Cookie

Even though Thin Mints account for about 25% of Girl Scout cookie sales, the thin chocolate wafers bear little resemblance (other than being cookies) to the original Girl Scout cookie.

The first Girl Scout troop was organized over a hundred years ago (March 12, 1912) in Savannah, Georgia. Selling cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917 when they were sold in an Oklahoma high school cafeteria as a service project.

Girl Scout cookies were originally baked in home kitchens with moms as the “technical advisers.” In July 1922, The American Girl Magazine, which was published by Girl Scout national headquarters, printed a cookie recipe that had been distributed to the Council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. The approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies was estimated at 26 to 36 cents; the suggested sale price was 25 or 30 cents for a dozen.

In the 20s and 30s the simple sugar cookies that were baked by Girl Scouts and their mothers were packaged in waxed paper bags, sealed with stickers, and sold door to door.

The Original Recipe

The Original Girl Scout Cookie Recipe (circa 1922)

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

Cream the butter and the cup of sugar. Add the well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the 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.

Present Day Girl Scout Cookies

For present day cookie recipes, check out the websites of the two licensed Girl Scout cookie bakers: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers, and on For a list of specific cookie ingredients go to Meet the Cookies.

Why is my Trefoil called Shortbread and my Samoa a Caramel deLite?

If you’ve ever wondered why your cookie may be called Shortbread instead of Trefoil, it’s because the two bakers call them different names. The cookies have a similar look and taste but the name and recipe vary with the baker. Both companies call their chocolate-mint cookie, Thin Mint. I guess you can’t mess with the gold standard!

The cookies, all of which are kosher, are sold by weight, not quantity. The size and number of cookies in the package varies with the baker, but both are displayed on every package. The cookies are sold for different prices in different areas of the country with each of the 112 Girl Scout councils setting their own price based on its needs and its familiarity with the local market.


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