America’s largest cookie sale began with one Girl Scout troop in 1917. The “Mistletoe” troop of Muskegee, Oklahoma had a successful cookie sale as a service project, and the idea quickly spread to other troops across the country.
The Girl Scouts of America started in Savannah, Georgia with a fledgling group of 18 girls, lead by founder Juliette Low in 1912. The trefoil symbol was chosen to represent this new group and their 3-fold promise as recited in the Girl Scout Law.
In 1922, the official magazine for the scouts, American Girl, published a cookie recipe as an economical way for troops to raise funds. The simple sugar cookie’s ingredients could be purchased for less than 36 cents, while producing 67 dozen cookies. In turn, each dozen could be sold for 25-30 cents. The cookies were packed and sealed in wax paper bags and sold door-to-door, sometimes with a card that read:
COOKIES large and cookies small, made by SCOUTS both short and tall. What’s your ORDER? Phone us quick, So that we may do the trick. THIRTY CENTS is all we ask, And we find it is no task, to DELIVER to your door, DOZENS- one, two, three- or more!
Troops may or may not have used a trefoil cookie cutter, which was available for 15 cents.
Commercial bakeries first produced ready-baked cookies for the Greater Philadelphia Council of Girl Scouts in 1934. The ever-popular Thin Mint cookie was introduced in 1951 and has remained a staple offered year after year.
In keeping with the times, sugar-free and gluten-free varieties have been added to yearly offerings and the scouts have changed how they market the cookies. Replacing door-to-door sales, scouts now learn how to set up cookie booths at local businesses and how to sell cookies online. A new app, Digital Cookie, allows users to find and order cookies on their smart phone. Looking for cookies? Go to www.gsksmo.org to find a local cookie booth.
1922 Girl Scout cookie recipe
Makes 4 dozen
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Sugar for decorating
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, then milk, vanilla, four and baking powder, stirring well after each addition.
Shape dough into a ball, then wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Roll out chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies with trefoil cutter.
Sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.