10 Things You Didn't Know About Girl Scout Cookies

girl scout cookies
Sarah Anderson/Thrillist
Sarah Anderson/Thrillist

It's Girl Scout Cookie season, and it couldn't have come sooner. Your freezer is empty of Thin Mints. You freebased your last Samoa a month ago. Now's your chance to hit up your not-at-all-aggressive coworker and score a stash from her niece. But where do these magical cookies come from (Hint: they aren't made of or by Girl Scouts)? Who holds the sales record? Check out some little-known facts below, and then go order 20 boxes. That should get you through March.

old girl scout troop

1. These Cookies are older than your Grandma

The tradition of Girl Scout Cookie sales began in 1917, when the Mistletoe Troop from Muskogee, OK stopped kissing people and began selling simple sugar cookies in their high school cafeteria as a service project. Another fun fact: apparently Maggie Gyllenhaal was a Girl Scout in 1917.

sugar cookie

2. You can make the original recipe at home

If you feel like taking a trip back in time and baking some boring stuff, you can try the authentic, original Girl Scout Cookie recipe here. It's not in the recipe, but they taste better if you dress up as a Girl Scout when making them.


3. Only two companies make all the Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies are made by two licensed bakers: ABC Smart Cookies and Little Brownie Bakers. Each Girl Scout council can choose who they want to provide their beloved biscuits, just like each baker gets to choose what to call their Cookies and what recipe to use. That’s why you wept that time you wanted Tagalongs, but thought you could only get Peanut Butter Patties before realizing they were the same thing.

Honey Boo Boo girl scout cookie ad
Alana Thompson

4. Honey Boo Boo is banned from selling them

American sweetheart Honey Boo Boo was banned from selling the Cookies by the Girl Scouts of the USA, because, well, she’s not an actual Scout and was also selling signed boxes online. Even though she was just tryna help her local troop, y'all, the GSUSA was not having it, which is weird, because she’s the kind of great feminist role model the organization typically praises.

thin mint trefoil do si do
Girl Scouts

5. Thin Mints aren't just delicious, they're mandatory

All proposed Cookies must be approved by the national Girl Scout organization, and can change each year, but three are actually non-negotiable: Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Trefoils/Shortbreads. Yes, this does mean these bakers have more power than Obama, as they can decide whether or not to renew Samoas, which taste great with sparkling wine, by the way.

girl scout cookies
Flickr/Katherine Johnson

6. There is a Cookie Queen, and she's a master saleswoman

Elizabeth Brinton, often called the "Cookie Queen," holds the record for selling the most Cookies during her days as a Scout. During her monarchy, she sold more than 100,000 boxes, with clients that included Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Sandra Day O'Connor.

girl scout cookies strain
YouTube user TokeDaddySlim

7. There's a (non-sanctioned) Girl Scout Cookies weed strain

There's a strain of weed called Girl Scout Cookies, but it has zero relation to the actual Cookies themselves (despite its creator's gardening merit badge), except in its ability to make you eat an entire box of Tagalongs.

philadelphia girl scout sign
Flickr/Jim, the Photographer

8. Girl Scout Cookies used to cost less than a quarter

In Philly back in 1933, where the first official sale took place, you could snag a box of 44 Cookies for a cool $.23, or dish out the big bucks ($1.24!) for six boxes. It was a simpler, fatter time.

girl scout war poster

9. There was a Cookie shortage during WWII

During World War II, due to shortages of key ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter, Scouts supplemented their Cookies by selling calendars too. Deficits were so bad that at points customers were limited to purchasing a very sad two boxes, adding to the collective national nightmare of living in a war-torn world of horrible calendars.

mango creme girl scout cookie
ABC Smart Cookies

10. Not every Cookie made the grade

And now, a moment of silence for the Cookies that crumbled under the pressure, couldn't take the heat, and got burned. Fruity Mango Cremes, jam-filled Iced Berry Pinatas, zesty, chip-studded Lemon Drops... we'll never forget.

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Rachel Freeman is a Food/Drink editorial assistant at Thrillist and was a Girl Scout back in the day, but still didn't know any of these facts before writing this. She used to laugh at the word 'duty' (get it?) when reciting the Girl Scout version of "On My Honor." Follow her to the cookie jar: @rachelifreeman.