Long before “thin mints” and “caramel de-lites,” Girl Scout cookies began in the kitchens and ovens of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In 1917, that Girl Scout troop began baking simple cookies and selling them in its high school cafeteria.
That was just five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouting in the United States.
Since then, it is estimated that 59 million American women have participated in Girl Scouting,
The 2014 annual Girl Scout cookie sale started February 21.
In July, 1922, The American Girl Magazine featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Ill. The magazine was published by Girl Scout national headquarters. Ms. Neil provide a cookie recipe that had been given to her council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 to 30 cents per dozen.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake 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.
Here is Ms. Neil’s simple recipe:
Girl Scout Cookie Recipe, circa 1922
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
additional sugar for topping (optional)
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 six- to seven-dozen cookies.
A much easier way to get good cookies is to look for Girl Scouts in your neighborhood, or outside your grocery store. Live a little. Each box costs $4.
If you’re dieting, ask a Scout about their “Cookie Share”: program, which sends cookies to military personnel stationed overseas.
One hundred percent of the money that a council and its troops raise through the Girl Scout Cookie Program stays with that council and its troops.
After paying the baker, all money raised from the cookie program stays with the local council. In Houston, the San Jacinto Council keeps the money for troops in this region. Girl Scout councils do not provide any portion of their cookie revenues to Girl Scouts of the USA.