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Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs

Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties, seem to be one of the less remarkable Girl Scout cookies. Everyone likes them, but no one ever seems to call them out as their favorite. My feeling is that these cookies are very reminiscent of candies like peanut butter cups and I think we can all agree that they are a hard act to follow because the combination is such a good one.

So, while I don’t think that this homemade version of Tagalongs is going to replace classic peanut butter cups, they are still really good cookies. The cookie is crisp and a bit plain, although the hint of vanilla in it highlights the peanut butter filling. The chocolate is best in a thin layer, holding everything together in a neat package. I got the ultra-smooth cut in the photo above by using a hot knife; the filling does have a bit more texture to it than that pic might lead you to believe, especially if you use natural peanut butter.

The cookie base for these is the same one that I used to make my homemade Samoas: a tender and crisp shortbread-type cookie. The cookies are about the same size, although since they don’t have a hole in the center, they do need a tiny bit longer in the oven than the other cookies did. I shaped all of these by hand, but you can certainly use a cookie cutter to make them. By hand, simply take a tablespoon-sized ball and flatten it into a 1/4-inch thick disc on the baking sheet. To use a cookie cutter, simply opt for a 1 or 1 1/2 inch round and cut circles on rolled dough. I actually prefer the hand-shaped cookies for these because I felt they had a better shape. The edges spread ever so slightly and the center rose a small amount, too, creating a nice target for the “thumbprints” (the hole for the peanut butter created by pressing a thumb or the back of a spoon into the still hot-from-the-oven cookies).

I used the same peanut butter filling that I used for my homemade peanut butter cups, substituting all creamy peanut butter for the crunchy. It is a stiffer filling than I used for my Do-Si-Dos and works much better in this cookie. These would be nice with crunchy peanut butter, but are somewhat more authentic without it. I increased the amount I used in this batch and did have a bit of peanut butter left over, but the beauty of leftovers with this recipe is that you actually can make the peanut butter cups with leftover chocolate and filling. I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of that pleasure, so being extremely precise wasn’t a huge concern of mine. Besides, you can always pile up the peanut butter in your cookies if you want to improve on the GS version. Chill the peanut butter filling before dipping the cookies in chocolate to prevent it from softening and losing shape.

The only problem I encountered with these cookies was that the chocolate coating turned out to be quite thick, somewhat overwhelming the flavor of the peanut butter when I used dark chocolate. Semisweet produced a better contrast and, if you like milk chocolate, you might want to try half-and-half. Also, keep the melted chocolate in a glass or pyrex bowl so that it can be set on top of a pan of hot water (like a double boiler) while you work on dipping the cookies. This will keep the chocolate very fluid without the risk of burning it and will enable you to get a nice thin coating.

Homemade Tagalongs (a.k.a. Peanut Butter Patties)
1 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk. The dough should come together into a soft ball.
Take a tablespoon full of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Cookies will not spread too much, so you can squeeze them in more than you would for chocolate chip cookies. (Alternatively, you can use a cookie cutter, as described in the post above).
Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.
Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use your thumb or a small spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie
Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (natural or regular)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar*
generous pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 8-oz semisweet chocolate

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave (again in short intervals, stirring frequently), until it is very, very soft. Working carefully with the hot filling, transfer it to a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a generous dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint”.
Chill cookies with filling for 20-30 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm.
Melt the chocolate in a small, heat-resistant bowl. This can be done in a microwave (with frequent stirring) or on a double boiler, but the bowl of melted chocolate should ultimately be placed above a pan of hot, but not boiling, water to keep it fluid while you work.
Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to let the cookies set up. The setting process can be accelerated by putting the cookies into the refrigerator once they have been coated.

Makes about 3-dozen

*You might need slightly less sugar if you’re using the conventional peanut butter, as it tends to be a bit sweeter. Taste the filling before using to make sure you like the sweet/savory balance.

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  • Samantha
    February 27, 2010

    Theses are actually my husband’s favorite GS cookies but I hate them so I will have to try these homemade versions (they looks supremely better!) and see how they rank with him.

  • iq
    March 6, 2010

    Tagalongs – I am glad i foundt his recipe. i will have to try it.

  • w890i
    March 6, 2010

    Tag-a-longs are MY favorite!

  • fitness nutrition degree
    March 7, 2010

    It’s not very healthy but looks so tasty!

  • Meaghan
    April 14, 2010

    i made these cookies and, i’ve got to say, SO SO SO AMAZING!

    thank you so much for posting and sharing. these were simply astoundingly delicious and had me blogging them myself, although I lack your flair. thanks so much again! here’s my post if you’re interested http://clutzycooking.blogspot.com/2010/04/you-can-make-your-own-girlscout-cookies.html

    thank you so much again! love you and love your blog!

  • Agile AL2500
    April 29, 2010

    Those are just delicious…

  • Tampa Rental Furniture
    May 14, 2010

    I have tried all kind of cookies in this blog.. everything worked both taste and easy…

  • Shoshanna Lee
    October 4, 2010

    Looks so tempting and Yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Shelli
    January 2, 2011

    I just made these yesterday & the recipe is terrific. I do have a few recommendations, though. 1) I used a #70 disher/scoop for the the cookie dough & for the peanutbutter filling. It worked really well. 2) I needed closer to 16 oz. of chocolate to cover the whole batch. I also used 2T & 2t of vegetable shortening in the chocolate, so I didn’t need to temper it & it looks great. 3) Fleur de sel is a fabulous salt to use in these. 4) There’s nothing like dark chocolate! The problem with manufactured peanut butter patties is that they almost always use milk chocolate, which is often dull tasting (to me, obviously). Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I’m sure I’ll be sharing it with many 🙂

  • Ann
    January 28, 2011

    Wow, so glad I tried these. I will test them again using Shelli’s suggestion about adding vegetable shortening to the chocolate. It was too think so I ended up just spreading it on the top and leaving the bottoms plain. Tasted great but they didn’t look pretty.

  • Casey
    April 27, 2011

    Tagalongs are my absolute favorite!! Something about the soft peanut and the crisp cookie really do me in, but i tried making my own homemade ones with a recipe similar to this. Sooo good, possibly better than the real ones?

  • Annaochi
    May 26, 2011

    I made these today, and they came out great except that I ended up with a lot of leftover peanut butter filling.

    A bit of advice for others like me, who don’t have a microwave – heat up the peanut butter on the stove and get it all melty before you add the powdered sugar.

  • Shay
    July 26, 2011

    I am a girl scout. Cookie season is the only way I can make money to go to Girl Scout camp. I really hate it when people find ways to make the cookies as It ruins our sales.
    🙁 This just tells me I probably won’t be going to camp next year.

  • Kear
    August 12, 2011

    I wish GSC’s were available more than just once per year. I don’t have any children so it’s rare I even get any GSC’s. This sounds like a good alternative for those times you crave one but I’d still rather buy cookies from a GS to support them since I was a GS myself.

  • Cheryl
    August 25, 2011

    Hi Shay,

    The reason people would make these at home is because the Girl Scouts do not make an allergy-friendly, vegan-friendly version of their tagalong cookies. These are my favorites, but because I have a milk allergy, I cannot eat the ones from the Girl Scouts. These are a vegan version that allow those who cannot have Girl Scout cookies anyway to enjoy some of the flavors of them.

  • Jen
    December 15, 2011

    I for one appreciate this recipe. The girl scouts do not own the rights to chocolate peanut butter cookies.

  • Amber
    January 11, 2012


    In the past few years, I have seen a heavy increase in the price of GSC and a heavy DECREASE in the actual size and amount of cookies.

    It is the fault of the Girl Scouts of America that you cannot go to camp. Not people who find recipes.

  • Ashley
    January 25, 2012

    Tagalogs actually are my favorite (I only like them and the Thin Mints), so I will DEFINITELY be giving these a try soon:D

  • Kahalia
    January 26, 2012

    I knew some genius mom would recreate this recipe! I told my daughter that I would find it online. Can’t wait to make these with my daughter! Thanks.

  • Erin
    January 31, 2012

    I love having found this (yay pintrest!) But lets not start bashing the girls scouts, especially if there is a child on here. Shay, this will be an awesome way to get them year round, however, plenty of people don’t have the time to make them or just flat out can’t bake worth anything, so you should still get a good number of sales. We only buy a few boxes a year, but I’m sure we still will 🙂

  • Jennifer
    February 19, 2012

    Shay: For as long as their have been Girl Scout cookies, there have been people who discovered similar recipes and shared them with others. Just because you didn’t see a website with a Girl Scout cookie recipe last year doesn’t mean one wasn’t out there. This year’s sales will be no different than last year’s for you because nothing has changed in regards to awareness of cookie recipes. And believe me, even if people can make similar cookies at home, they will still buy from the Girl Scouts (as long as there are troupes in their area). You’ll get to go to camp.

  • Rachel
    February 20, 2012

    As a girl scout leader, I can assure you that this recipe shouldn’t inhibit sales. It just gives us an opportunity to enjoy them year round. Plus it made me personally buy an extra box to compare recipes!

  • Haley Ford
    March 16, 2012

    These are by far my favorite girl scout cookie ever!!

  • Haley Ford
    March 16, 2012

    Also, if we can make them, we appreciate the real thing when it comes around since it only does come around only once a year!!

  • karen
    April 2, 2012

    Hi. My 2 daughters were both in the Girl Scouts. We had a great time. But please check w/the Scouts re: sales/revenue/profit from the sale of these cookies. I think it was like 10 cents per box actually went to the Scouts.

    Sad…:( So if you need to sell these to pay for your camp, I think you have a “few” boxes to sell.

    Good luck!

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