The Serious Eats Guide to Girl Scout Cookies

[Photographs: Robyn Lee, unless otherwise noted]

The buying and eating of Girl Scout Cookies is undoubtedly an American pastime. We've been doing it since 1917, when Girl Scouts first sold boxes of cookies to raise money for their troops.

The earliest Girl Scout Cookie recipes were simple short breads and sugar cookies, all baked in the homes of the girls themselves. Over the years, the recipes have gotten more elaborate and everything from cheddar crackers to granola cookies have come and gone from the official roster. Now millions of the cookies are sold every year, and big commercial bakeries like Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Smart Cookies produce the Girl Scout Cookie stock.

Ever worry if your beloved Samoas or Lemonades will be sold this year? Here's the deal—the licensed bakeries can produce up to 8 varieties of cookie, though that must include 3 staple types: Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, and Trefoils. The Girl Scout troupes must also sell the standard three. They can choose their additional flavors from the 11 current varieties of Girl Scout Cookie: Thin Mints, Samoas (Caramel deLites), Do-Si-Dos (Peanut Butter Sandwiches), Trefoils (Shortbread), Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties), Savannah Smiles, Dulce de Leche, Thank You Berry Munch, Lemonades and Shout-Outs!

Ever wonder what differentiates a Do-Si-Do from a Tagalong? Always heard of Shout Outs! but never tried them for yourself? Take a peek at our guide to Girl Scout Cookies to learn about the entire line.