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Monday, March 12, 2012


MINT CONDITION--First of all you can’t see them coming. Our front door windows give us a look from shoulders up of whose knocking, but the Girl Scouts only send up the short cute ones when they go door-to-door during their annual cookie sale. When they ring the door bell it’s too late.

I tried an impromptu speech begging off buying cookies in favor of cutting them a donation check instead. Plus, I was wearing my latest birthday present a Please Do Not Feed the Bear t-shirt. I had all my will power in order.

It fell on deaf ears. “So, can we put you down for the usual, Mr. Shess?”

“This year, I gotta cut back on the sweets, doctor’s orders, I said brightly, “so here’s my donation instead.”

The trio of ten year olds stared at the check. “You do realize how many cookies you could have with this much money,” the young leader asked.

“Well, I’m under orders.”

The trio looked back to the sidewalk, where a couple of mom’s smiled fully knowing they were aiding and abetting the destruction of any will power I might have had. The troop held up the check like they heard that one before. “He doesn’t want any cookies.”

I interrupted, “Wait, wait. How many cookies will that buy me?”


I couldn’t get a straight answer. Now, I was curious. “OK, give me thin mints.”

“Great,” the leader said smiling as she flashed shiny braces on her teeth. “Mom, we need a case of thin mints,” she bellowed loud enough to be heard in Hillcrest at the 24-Hour Fitness Center, where I will soon be taking up residence.

Girl Scouts of America was founded 100 years ago today. By 1917, the GSA came up with the idea to sell cookies as a way to cover troop costs and activities. Give credit to Miss Florence Neil, a GSA leader in Chicago for coming up with the idea of baking cookies. She came up with the cookie recipe, which was given to Chicagoland’s 2,000 Girl Scouts to bake. Miss Neil’s recipe (see below) called for six-or-seven dozen cookies.

She figured the cost for 84 cookies would be 36 cents tops. Then, the girls would sell the cookies for 30 cents a dozen. The rest is pure American entrepreneurial genius.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we found the original recipe.

But why should anyone bake them, when you can come over to my garage, where I’m handing them out for free through mid-July?

An Early Girl Scout Cookie® Recipe

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

Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.

Image courtesy Girl Scouts of America circa 1930.

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