If your family is like most in America, then you probably look forward to that time of year when Girl Scouts in your neighborhood come calling, offering boxes of delicious cookies for sale. Whether it’s Thin Mints, Do-si-dos® or Shortbreads, everyone seems to have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie.

For more than 80 years, Girl Scouts have sold cookies to raise funds to support their scouting activities. Today, the sale of Girl Scout Cookies raises more than $700 million each year, making the Girl Scout Cookie Program the largest girl-led business in the country!

Girl Scout Cookies got their start in the kitchens of Girl Scouts and their mothers. Girl Scouts began to sell cookies as a way to finance their scouting activities as early as 1917, just five years after Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia.

In July 1922, Girl Scout national headquarters published an edition of The American Girl magazine for all Girl Scouts. The issue contained a recipe for a sugar cookie that could be baked and sold to raise funds for local councils. Thus, the simple sugar cookie was arguably the first true Girl Scout Cookie.

In 1934, Greater Philadelphia became the first Girl Scout council to sell commercially baked cookies. In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on their boxes of commercially baked cookies for the first time.

Girl Scout leaders believe selling cookies helps Girl Scouts realize their full potential and become strong, confident and resourceful citizens. In fact, Girl Scout leaders have identified five essential skills that Girl Scouts develop by selling Girl Scout Cookies: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Girl Scouts set sales goals to support their chosen activities for the year, which might include funding community service projects, attending summer camp, traveling on field trips and providing events for girls in their community. Many successful businesswomen today say they got their start selling Girl Scout Cookies.

Fun facts about Girl Scout Cookies:

  • Only two commercial bakers — ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers — are licensed by the Girl Scouts of the USA to make Girl Scout Cookies.
  • Licensed bakers can make up to eight kinds of Girl Scout Cookies, but three kinds are mandatory: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos® and Shortbread/Trefoils. The other five varieties can vary from year to year.
  • Each bakery names its own cookies, so similar Girl Scout Cookies may have different names in different parts of the country.
  • Girl Scout Cookies sell for different prices in different areas of the country. Each local Girl Scout council can set its own price based on its needs and the local market.
  • Thin Mints are the best-selling Girl Scout Cookies.

 

16 Join the Discussion

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    • Hello, Hannah! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to this SWEET Wonder of the Day®! We bet it’s really fun to be a Girl Scout! :-)

    • We agree, those yummy thin mints are AWESOME, Rebecca! We like so many other kinds of Girl Scout cookies, too, though. It’s hard for us to pick a favorite above all the others! :-)

    • We think it’s GREAT that you’re a Girl Scout, Kelly! Thank you for sharing your connection to this Wonder and also your knowledge about Trefoils! :-)

    • Hi there, Elizabeth! Being part of the Scouting organization (Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts, etc) is a great deal of fun! You learn many valuable skills and meet great friends along the way. We also enjoy the Girl Scout cookies, which are an annual fundraiser for the organization! Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

    • Hi there, Tyler! We’re so glad you shared your comment with us today! We love that you connected Girl Scouts with selling their famous cookies, which is a fundraiser for the Girl Scout community! How cool that your sister is a Girl Scout, too! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What was the first Girl Scout Cookie?
  • Who founded the Girl Scouts?
  • What are the five essential skills Girl Scouts develop by selling Girl Scout Cookies?

Wonder Gallery

cookies and box_shutterstock_68725216Vimeo Video

Try It Out

All this talk about cookies has probably made you hungry. What are you waiting for? Grab your apron and head to the kitchen!

With a few simple ingredients, you can make your own batch of fresh-baked cookies with this early Girl Scout Cookie recipe, which should yield 72 to 84 cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • Mix the butter and the cup of sugar together to form a creamy mixture.
  • Beat the eggs, and then add the milk, vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Mix together and add to the butter/sugar mixture.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Roll out the dough, cut it into whatever shapes you desire and sprinkle extra sugar on top.
  • Bake the cookies in a 375° oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until their edges begin to brown.

 

Still Wondering

Girl Scout Cookies aren’t the only things that are round. Did you know that stories can also be circular? It’s true! Stories, such as Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, sometimes feature a “round” pattern. Use ReadWriteThink’s fun Unwinding A Circular Plot: Prediction Strategies in Reading and Writing lesson to discuss the cyclical nature of these types of stories.

 

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