The Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, and five short years later, the Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma, started selling homemade cookies to fund their activities. The idea caught on with other troops around America by the 1920s, and in 1934, Girl Scout Cookies were commercially produced. Every year brings a new season of Girl Scout Cookies excitement, with troops setting up tables to greet endless happy customers, which have included Babe Ruth, astronauts, and Hollywood's finest at the 88th Academy Awards.
Girl Scout Cookies have come in so many flavors and fun names, but as of 2024, there are a total of 12 on the roster. This is where things get a bit confusing. There are two bakeries that produce Girl Scout Cookies, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers. Some of the cookies are only made by one of those factories, and for others, the two companies make the same-ish cookie -- but by different names. For example, Little Brownie Bakers make Samoas, Do-si-dos, and Tagalongs, while ABC Bakers' versions go by Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Peanut Butter Patties, respectively.
Daily Meal has already tackled the taste-testing topic of Little Brownie Bakers vs. ABC, but today we are stacking the 12 current Girl Scout Cookies against one another, regardless of what they're called. The following rankings are based on taste, touch, design, overall awesomeness, and a sense of nostalgia. A fuller explanation of our methodology can be found at the end of the article. Tough choices had to be made, as if we were choosing which was our favorite child.
Read more: 11 Discontinued Chocolates We Miss The Most
Introduced in 2014, Toffee-tastic was one of the first gluten-free cookies offered up by the Girl Scouts. Today, it remains one of two gluten-free options available. In lieu of using enriched flour, like most Girl Scout Cookies do, these guys utilize rice flour and tapioca starch. The super-thin, cool-blue box describes the contents within as "rich, buttery cookies with sweet, crunchy toffee bits." This certainly sounds like a recipe for success. Well, that is not the case with the Toffee-tastic cookies. By look and smell, they do hold promise. A whiff reveals a luscious, buttery aroma, and the eyes may even mistake these for Pecan Sandies by those Keebler elves. The cookies even have a sandy texture to them, where a simple touch will be met with a dusting of the cookie.
Sadly, it's all downhill from there. This is easily one of the most unenjoyable chewing experiences with a Girl Scout Cookie. The main problem is its consistency, which feels like eating a hardened pile of sand. If you've ever seen the movie "The NeverEnding Story," you now know what rock food must taste like to the Rock Biter. There are actual toffee bits in the cookie, but not even they can help save this bottom feeder. We'd actually love to see what a gluten-included Girl Scout take on this cookie would be. As is, however, this one falls below the rest of the options.
11. Caramel Chocolate Chip
The other gluten-free offering currently on the roster is the Caramel Chocolate Chip. This one, made with oat flour, tapioca flour, and chickpea flour, has been around since 2019. This is the only Girl Scout Cookie to come in a resealable bag, which is a practice that the other flavors would also benefit from. Unfortunately, there's no strong reason to worry about keeping these cookies sealed up and fresh, despite the boast on the bag that it's "a delicious cookie." It's not for a lack of trying, as gluten-free chocolate cookies can certainly be winners, and this one also has caramel and a dash of sea salt added for good measure.
Like its gluten-free rounded sister, Toffee-tastic, these also have a sandy exterior texture and a pleasant aroma. A nibble of Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie reveals it to be a chalky and dry yet mostly passable cookie. It falls somewhere between cookies that are Passover-friendly and the ones found in a box of Cookie Crisp cereal, which are aiming to be cookies but aren't really cookies.
If gluten-free is the only way you swing cookies, then this is the Girl Scout one to pick up. Otherwise, these should only be sought out if you're really jonesing for those boxed Chocolaty Chip cookies McDonald's discontinued years back.
10. Girl Scout S'mores
Melty marshmallow and chocolate housed in a sandwich of graham crackers has long been a staple of campfire fun. Did you know that one of the first to ever publish a recipe for S'mores was none other than the Girl Scouts? It first appeared in a 1925 issue of "Girl Scout Leader" magazine and originally went by the name "Some Mores." Fast-forward to 2016, and the Girl Scouts paid homage to that by turning it into a cookie. According to the organization itself, S'mores "quickly became the most popular new cookie to launch in our history."
These S'mores certainly have a nice cream-filled cookie look to them. They start with a pair of ribbed, elongated oval graham cookies. One side is embossed with the cookie's name, and on the flip side are hard-to-decipher hieroglyphics that feature outdoor badges. Taking a whiff of this hefty sandwich makes one want to wince. The nose is overtaken by the stench of artificial flavoring. Luckily, it does not taste like it smells. The cookie, without the cream, is like a sugarless, basic graham cracker. The white cream is more reminiscent of vanilla than it is marshmallow, and it probably serves the cookie better because of it. The chocolate is the more "melty" of the two creams and has a bittersweet bite to it. Overall, it's a decent cookie, but it's probably best to just hold off and wait for the real messy thing at the next campfire you light up.
While no one could mistake Samoas for Adventurefuls, the two Girl Scout Cookies do seem to share some similarities. On the current roster, they are the only two that are tiger-striped with chocolate. The Adventureful is still a relative newcomer, only having made it out of the woods in 2022. In a short span of time, it has already become a top-five seller, rubbing shoulders with titans like Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos.
Before we permanently etch its place in the Mount Rushmore of Girl Scout Cookies, let's determine how it stacks up as a cookie. This round little mound looks like a Keebler Fudge Stripe trapped in the exoskeleton of a Thin Mint. Indeed, a nibble of the chocolate shell is reminiscent of a Thin Mint, as well as the chocolate cookie base it surrounds, without a trace of mint. The cookie is supposed to have a brownie inspiration to it, but didn't really seem to inspire that matching taste, texture, or denseness. The inner circle contains a narrow layer of caramel-flavored crème, which is a nice way to offset all the chocolatiness. As a whole, the cookie may run a little too sweet for some, but for others, it will itch that sweet tooth just right.
Adventurefuls prove that the Girl Scouts can still come up with new and tasty cookies. If, for some reason, your local troop is fresh out of Samoas, this wouldn't be the worst second, like-minded choice to make.
As we've established, there are several Girl Scout Cookie flavors that share the same packaging, physical cookie look, and mostly the same exact ingredients but differ by name based on which of the two bakeries that produces them. When it comes to lemon cookies, there are two with similar packaging and common-ish names, yet they don't match up eye to eye. Both Lemonades and Lemon-Ups are listed as individual cookies on the Girl Scout Cookie roster, but which one you can purchase depends on where you live.
I wouldn't be able to tell you the name without the packaging in front of me, but the lesser spot of the two lemon-zesty cookies under the Girl Scouts banner belongs to the one called Lemon-Ups. It's no knock against the cookie at all. First, who doesn't enjoy a cookie imprinted with positive, inspirational messages on its rounded front that proudly yell "I Am A Leader," a "Risk Taker," a "Leader," an "Innovator," or "Gutsy?" They seem to be missing an exclamation point in the text.
The lemony smell they contain is both intoxicating and a bit nauseating. If you're ever in a stale room that needs a bit of a freshening up, perhaps open up the Lemon-Ups' bag, pull out the tray, and let them air out. The cookie is more palatable than the artificial citrus smell would indicate, and the light lemon-glazed bottom seals the deal as a solid treat. Still, if Lemonades are available in your area, that's the lemon cookie with more a-peel.
7. Tagalongs / Peanut Butter Patties
To many, including brothers Jason and Travis Kelce, out of all the Girl Scout Cookies, Tagalongs are held in the highest esteem. There is a reason the cookies are the third-best seller going. Even the name is fun to say. The "Tagalongs" name actually only came into being in 1976, as it was known for decades before by the more simplified "Peanut Butter Patties." The version sold today by ABC Bakers still goes by Peanut Butter Patties, which to some may seem blasphemous.
Here's another blasphemous thought -- while the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is hard to beat, Tagalongs, or whatever you want to call them, are good, but not great. The outside chocolate shell is super thin and quite often starts to get sweaty when held in hand. Beneath it lies a layer of peanut butter that isn't all that creamy or rich. In the center lives a crumby wafer-like cracker that doesn't even taste like much of anything. The three layers come together quite well in one bite, but they also leave a really odd aftertaste.
Reese's knows how to perfectly play chocolate and peanut butter off one another. Personally, I prefer the Reese's Pieces over the Peanut Butter Cup, but Tagalongs don't even come close to being in their league. There's even a way better peanut butter option made by the Girl Scouts that's way more worthy of a badge of honor.
Let's re-clarify something right off the bat: Lemonades and Lemon-Ups are not the same cookie. Sure, they're both all about sunshiny lemons and come in bright, yellow plastic bags that currently picture a trio of girls wearing hardhats and holding solar panels in their hands. The Lemonades have been puckering things up since 2006, and even if they don't have any inspirational messages printed on them, they continue to deliver a silent message season after season -- they're delicious. Their design is actually very pleasing, looking like the inside of a precisely cut lemon, and it could also pass for the petals of a daisy.
How these lemon cookies top the other lemon cookies is simple -- the less lemon essence, the better. The Lemonades have a milder lemon aroma to them, all stemming from their lemon-flavored, icing-laced bottom. With just the right amount of sweetness, the lemon plays a perfect supporting role to the rest of the cookie that has long proven to be a Girl Scout winner -- shortbread.
For those seeking a cookie with a bottom laced with incredible icing, but perhaps a little less tangy than what the Lemonades serve up, munch no further than Toast-Yay! I'm not exactly sure what the name of this French toast-flavored cookie means. Perhaps instead of calling it "Toasty," they added "ay!" to the mix to make it sound more irreverent, and fun to say! The bakers hope you have as much fun saying it as you do eating it. The good news is both are true.
This large cookie mimics the appearance of a nice, curvy piece of bread. Its homey design is made complete with an imprint of the classic Girl Scouts trefoil logo. Five dots live within that logo and could remind someone of a "five" side of dice or, at some angles, a bit of a creepy face. Toast-Yay! is one of the best-smelling Girl Scout Cookies. It's possible to just sit and enjoy its cozy essence by breathing in its cinnamon-apple fragrance, again and again.
Once you get to the actual eating of a Toast-Yay!, that's when the real fun begins. If you ever wanted Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sans dust, decked out in the shell of a jelly-less Pop Tart, then this is the one for you. If that's not something you've ever thought about or remotely want, then Toast Yay! will still bring you some form of eating joy!
4. Do-Si-Dos / Peanut Butter Sandwich
Back in 1940, the Girl Scouts introduced The Savannah, a new cookie sandwich where two oatmeal cookies played buns to an interior layer of peanut butter filling. In 1974, Little Brown Bakers' version was redubbed as Do-si-dos, and the ABC Bakers take is called exactly what it is -- a Peanut Butter Sandwich. In modern times, these fan-favorite cookies are housed in a comely burnt orange box that easily stands out from the rest of the flavors on a Girl Scout's selling table.
These cookies look like rocky wheels that would look right at home on Fred Flintstone's car. The peanut butter filling is recessed, keeping its deliciousness a secret. Taking a whiff of the Do-si-do, it smells more like one of those hip-to-be-square Toasty sandwich crackers by Lance than it does a cookie. Even though whole grain oats are on the list of ingredients, I'm not sure how the oatmeal taste even factors into this cookie. Instead, the Do-si-do dances a certain magic inside the mouth which seems more like a creamy granola bar than something that should be acting like a dessert snack. This is the quintessential peanut butter treat not only in the Girl Scouts' arsenal but also for all peanut butter-related cookies. Take a bow, Do-si-dos, and then swing your partner 'round and 'round. Now just imagine if they made a version of this cookie dipped in chocolate. Then the Tagalong would truly be a tagalong.
3. Samoas / Caramel deLites
Chocolate coconut cookies have been available for sale by the Girl Scouts since at least 1957, but 17 years later, they earned their true identity when they were named Samoas. That name is so synonymous with the cookie that fans worry that it's been discontinued when they see ABC Bakers' alter-ego version — Caramel deLites, which have been sold since 1982. Regardless of which box you end up with in your hands, there's no denying how great this cookie is. Even Tom Hanks has been photographed buying them.
Samoas look like a life preserver outfitted with the skin of a tiger. The bottom is a solid block of tasty chocolate, and the top is outfitted with additional stripes of that same good stuff. Those stripes line flakes of brown coconut that appear as though they're about to fall everywhere but always remain frozen in place. There's a cookie in the middle separating the two, and it's a solid bridge that stands between the chocolate and the coconut.
Coconut and chocolate are usually an acquired combo taste. Take a look at any Halloween candy haul, and the Mounds bars are usually the ones last to have their number called to be eaten. The beauty of Samoas is that they have a subtle amount of a coconut taste that enchants, not dominates, the cookies. Pro tip — if it's currently not Girl Scout Cookie season, grab a box of Coconut Dreams cookies, made by Little Brown Bakers' parent company, Keebler.
2. Thin Mints
Chocolate mint cookies are among the oldest cookies sold by the Girl Scouts. The original version dates back to at least the early 1940s and was shaped in the Scout's trefoil emblem. By 1951, these cookies were given a simple yet effective name -- Thin Mints. Oddly enough, they weren't even the first set of cookies to employ that name, as the grocery chain A&P's dessert label, Warwick, used it for its after-dinner mints.
As soon as a bag of Thin Mints is opened, the exhilarating smell of actual mint fills the air. Yale once did a study (via Crayola) of the most recognizable smells, and Vicks VapoRub finished third behind coffee and peanut butter. Thin Mints didn't make the list but are certainly similar, and you can indulge in them via both smell and taste. As for looks, the cookies are thin, as advertised, and coated with a bumpy chocolate that looks faded.
Unlike most of the Girl Scout Cookies, the strong flavor here isn't kept to a minimum but upped to a maximum. Once you start nibbling on one, you cannot escape the refreshing mint aspect of it. Long after the cookie has made it down your throat, the mint hangs around in the recesses of your gums, leaving a cooling sensation and nothing but smiles. The sensation is heightened further when the cookies are stored in a fridge or most eaters' favorite place -- the freezer.
It may come to a shock to some that the best Girl Scout Cookie of them all is neither Samoas nor Thin Mints. Those guys are both super awesome and are certainly worthy of endless love. However, the one cookie to rule them all is the most unassuming of the bunch -- Trefoils.
The word "trefoil" dates back to the 15th century and describes a trifoliolate leaf symbol, which Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low patented for the organization's badge in 1914. The trefoil symbol has been used as the shape of other Girl Scout Cookies in the past and today outlines the shortbread Trefoil cookie. The interior design embodies the silhouetted girls' faces logo that was created by Saul Bass in 1978 and was sadly retired in 2022.
Not only is the Trefoil a work of art to admire, but it's a flavorful sensation to divinely devour. A soft and crumbly cookie makes for a soft bite, and the glorious simplicity of a buttery and sugary combo taste makes the mouth scream for more. It is actually this very fact that proves that Trefoils are the best -- as it's very possible to eat an endless amount of them. The same cannot be said of the rest, which are too rich in chocolate, peanut butter, or other indulgences. There's a reason why the word "iconic" is used to describe these shortbread cookies on the Trefoils box. Shortbread is one of the longest-tenured Girl Scout Cookies, and long may it run.
This ranking examined all 12 flavors currently for sale by the Girl Scout organization as of February 2024. Two bakeries currently produce Girl Scout Cookies — ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Some of the cookies on the roster are made by both companies, with slightly different ingredients and different cookie names. This taste test was not based on which bakery makes the best version of that cookie but on the cookies in general, ranked against all the others.
I gathered a group of 10 taste testers, who ranged in ages from 4 to 75 years of age. As a group, we assessed the strengths and weakness of each cookie, based on taste, design, texture, lovability, and sense of nostalgia. The rankings took those opinions into consideration, with the ultimate decision left to the author of this article.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.