What Is the History of Girl Scout Cookies?

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The Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma, is credited with baking the very first batch of Girl Scout cookies in 1917, and the cookies were baked in a high school cafeteria. In the early days, troop members and their families handled baking duties in home kitchens. In 1922, Chicago Girl Scout troop leader, Florence E. Neil, shared an inexpensive cookie recipe in the organization's magazine. The recipe produced dozens of cookies that troops sold for 25 to 30 cents a dozen.

In 1936, troop members no longer needed to home bake cookies for sales because the Girl Scout organization licensed a professional bakery to handle all cookie-making operations. The 1940s saw the expansion of commercial bakeries involved in producing Girl Scout cookies. Popular Thin Mints debuted in 1939 as Cooky-Mints, and by the early 1950s, the name had changed to Chocolate Mints. Shortbread Treefoils and Do-si-dos, a peanut butter sandwich cookie rounded out the organization's flavor options.

In the 1960s, bakeries started using aluminum foil for wrapping Girl Scout cookies that keeps them fresher. The number of commercial bakeries involved in making Girl Scout cookies has gone from a high of 30 to just two. Both bakeries create eight flavor varieties of cookies that look and taste similar. The original three flavors are always produced for customers, occasionally a new flavor is introduced such as Savannah Smiles, made in honor of the first Girl Scout troop meeting.