Girl Scout Cookies: Thin Mints a Runaway Favorite Amid Thinning Competition

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Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 7:45 AM
click to enlarge MAIGH/FLICKR
  • Maigh/Flickr

Late last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that some Girl Scout councils are tightening their sashes this cookie season -- by bailing on a few peripheral varieties and cutting back on excessive packaging. Cookies sales garner the Girl Scouts of America a staggering $714 million annually, accounting for a reported two-thirds of most of the 112 councils' yearly budgets.

The season opens on February 5, and as folks contemplate shelling out a whopping $4 for a box, many may be trying to figure out which of the classic varieties to go with: Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Caramel deLites (also known as Samoas), Lemon Chalet Cremes, or Peanut Butter Patties (also known as Tagalongs). We can help with that...

For us, Girl Scout cookies are like Bon Jovi. We were never infatuated with the band. We don't know who played bass, drums, and keys. But we do know John Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. As far as we're concerned, Thin Mints are John and Peanut Butter Patties are Richie -- the only ones which really matter.

Trefoils are dull granny snacks. The lamely-named Samoas are cloying and overbearing. Batches of Lemon Chalet Cremes were recalled last year. Peanut Butter Patties make for a solid Sambora, or second fiddle--crisp shortbread that shatters, a shell of chocolate, and sweet, sticky peanut butter--but the runaway front-cookie of the Girl Scout fleet remains, in terms of taste and popularity, the unparalleled Thin Mint.

When we were young, a box of Thin Mints lived in our parents' freezer all spring. When ice cream was served, the Thin Mints usually ended up on top, smashed into a cool black powder. We've had them in milkshakes too and as pie shells, and of course, we've gobbled them straight like Pringles, our eyes glazed over. The Thin Mint's sleek simplicity is its greatest virtue. No fillings, chips, or nuts distort the message, one of mint, pure and clean, fused with rich chocolate. Better than the taste though is the sound half a dozen make when you chomp into them: a crunch like a thousand dishes breaking, shells beneath your feet, handclaps from an 808.

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