Archive for: girl scout cookies
Girl Scout cookies are treats that many of us look forward to every year because not only are the cookies tasty, but you’re supporting local troops and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of young girls (even when you can bake your own Girl Scout cookies at home, year-round). It turns out that Girl Scout cookies can become a survival tool if you find yourself caught in a snowstorm, too. A Northern California couple was out for a scenic drive a few days ago when their car became caught in a snowdrift. They couldn’t reach help and had told no-one where they were going. They managed to survive for three days on some Girl Scout Cookies (and a few peanuts) that they had in their car, melting snow for drinking water. The cookies helped to fuel their spirits and stave off hunger until they were able to try and hike for help after a few days.
You probably don’t think of cookies in general as suvival food, but they pack in fat and carbs that can help keep you going when you’re facing tough conditions. They’re not going to provide the complete nutrition of one of those meal replacement protein bars, but they also taste a lot better.
It doesn’t say which variety of Girl Scout they had with them, but I’d guess that Thin Mints or Samoas are likeky, as they are the most popular types of cookies that the Girl Scouts sell. Any flavor of cookie – even if it was your least favorite Girl Scout Cookie flavor – would do in a situation like that, of course. Maybe I should start keeping a stash of Homemade Girl Scout Cookies in my car, just to be on the safe side!
The Girl Scouts of America are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and, to mark the occasion, have introduced a brand new cookieto the Girl Scout cookie lineup: Savannah Smiles. Savannah Smiles are sugar-dusted, lemon flavored cookies that are described as being “cool and crisp, with just the right number of lemon chips to deliver tiny bursts of flavor.” They look and sound very similar to a Lemon Coolers, a cookie that the Girl Scouts featured a few years back but have since discontinued, which were very popular because they were zesty and quite different from the rest of the cookie lineup.
It is worth noting that the Savannah Smiles do not contain any partially hydrogenated oils, as per their ingredient list, and that many of the other Girl Scout cookies have also eliminated partially hydrogenated oils. Thin Mints and Samoas still include them, however.
Most girl scouts will start taking preorders for cookies within the next couple of weeks, and you’ll probably start seeing girls “boothing” outside local markets starting next month. The rest of the cookie lineup includes Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Dulce de Leche and Thank You Berry Munch.
If you can’t wait the few weeks that it’ll take to get your Girl Scout cookies this year, start out the season by baking a few batches of Homemade Girl Scout Cookies. You can’t go wrong with all natural Homemade Thin Mints or Homemade Samoas, and Homemade Lemon Coolers will deliver a burst of citrus.
Several months ago, two Girl Scouts started a campaign to encourage the Girl Scout organization to remove palm oil from their cookies. Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva were working on a project to raise awareness of endangered orangutans and discovered that part of the reason that their habitat was being destroyed was to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is a popular fat for processed food products because it worked as a substitute for some of the partially hydrogenated oils that companies, including the bakeries that supply the Girl Scouts, used in their products.
The girls campaigned to get the Girl Scouts to either remove palm oil from their cookies or switch to sustainably farmed oil. Initially, Girl Scouts spokespeople say that there was no viable alternative to using this mass produced palm oil in their cookies because they need them to be “sturdy” and have a long shelf life. After the girls spent months on the campaign, raising awareness with other troops and through the media, the Girl Scouts have finally announced that they are making a change. In a statement released Wednesday (9/28), the Girl Scouts said that they have directed their bakers to use as little palm oil as possible, and that they want their bakers to move to a segregated, certified sustainable palm oil source by 2015. In the meantime, the Girl Scouts will buy GreenPalm certificates, which offer a premium price to producers of sustainably farmed oil, to support the sustainable production of palm oil.
The girls both say that they will continue their campaign to promote the use of sustainably farmed palm oil elsewhere in the food industry, but having the Girl Scouts change their policies is a milestone victory. It also means that Girl Scout cookies in the future will be just a little bit better for us and for the planet than they are now. Of course, so are palm-oil free, all natural homemade Girl Scout cookies if you’re looking to have an excuse to make some cookies between now and next cookie season.
If I were to meet them in person, I would give Girl Scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva each a big batch of my homemade Girl Scout cookies because they are trying to change the way that the Girl Scout organization bakes their iconic Girl Scout cookies. These two girls set to work on a project to raise awareness of endangered orangutans and how their habitats are being destroyed. They discovered that much of that land was being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in many different foods as a non-hydrogenated fat, but the one that stood out the most to these two girls is that palm oil was used to make Girl Scout cookies. It was a surprising realization and they decided to shift their campaign away from simply raising awareness and towards removing palm oil (or getting it from only sustainably grown sources) from Girl Scout cookies. Already, members of more than a few scout troops are saying that they no longer want to sell Girl Scout cookies.
Girl Scouts spokespeople say that there is no viable alternative to using palm oil in their cookies because they need them to be “sturdy” and have a long shelf life. Sustainably grown palm oil is simply too expensive and there isn’t enough of it to meet their demand. The bakeries began to make the switch to using palm oil from partially hydrogenated oils in 2006, after coming under fire for having trans fats in their baked goods.
Samoas are one of the most popular Girl Scout cookies for good reason: they have a fantastic combination of flavors. The cookies consist of a butter cookie base that is topped with a rich coating of caramel and coconut and drenched with chocolate. The Girl Scout cookie version – also known as Caramel de Lites – is good, but homemade might be even better because you can have them when you get a craving for Girl Scout cookies and they’re out of season and if you simply prefer homemade goodies to store-bought.
The other good thing about making your own homemade Girl Scout cookies is that it opens the door to use those same flavors in other treats, like a Thin Mint Cheesecake, Samoas Cheesecake Bars, Homemade Samoas Ice Cream or even a batch of Samoas Scones. These scones are my way of infusing the tastiness of Samoas into breakfast without admitting that sometimes I want a cookie with my coffee in the very early morning.
The scones are fairly plain on their own, slightly sweet and with a nice buttery flavor. They are topped with a combination of caramel and coconut, then dipped in and drizzled with semisweet chocolate. For my homemade Samoas cookies, I usually use a fairly firm caramel candy, but I recommend either using homemade caramel sauce or an ice cream topping-type of caramel because you want the scones to still be easy to bite into without the caramel on top getting too hard (better too gooey with these than too firm!). Prepare them about an hour or two before you want to serve them to give the chocolate time to set up, or pop them into the fridge for a couple of minutes before serving if you are cutting it close, timing-wise.