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It’s Cookie Time

by Sara Sullivan | February 24, 2010 at 5:53 a.m.
Josie McFarland, 10, with Girl Scout Troop 5389 in Rogers, sells cookies outside the Bentonville Sam’s Club while dressed as a Trefoil cookie on Sunday. Booth sales will continue on the weekends through mid-March.

— Let’s try some classic American word associations today. Ready?

Peanut butter - jelly, right?

Apples - oranges.

Cowboys - Indians.

Stars - stripes.

Girl Scouts - cookies.

They’re inseparable in our nation’s collective consciousness.

To almost every red-blooded American you’ll ever meet, those little green vests dotted with colored badges can only mean that cookies - most likely Thin Mints - are on the way.

“Everybody loves a cookie,” said Kris Mauck, one of the leaders of Troop 5389 in Rogers. And its 30 juniors and cadettes are no exception. “We get very excited about the cookies! It’s cookie time!”

But there’s much more to love about them than just their taste.

“The girls really do understand that this is how we can buy badges;

this is how we can go camping and buy hotdogs; this is how we fund what we do,” Mauck explained.

Order-taking for Girl Scout cookies is already over, but weekend booth sales are just getting started and will continue through mid-March. Cookie booths are being set up at big local stores like Walmart, Harps, Sam’s Club and Lowe’s.

And booth sales are typically pretty swift. “People will tell us, ‘You know, I used up the last box I had in the freezer, so it’s time to get stocked up again,’” Mauck said.

The most-loved Girl Scout Cookies are easily Thin Mints, which account for 25 percent of sales, according to the nearly 100-year-old character-building organization’s Web site, www.

girlscouts.org. Other best-selling favorites are Samoas or Caramel deLites (which make up 19 percent of sales), Peanut Butter Patties/ Tagalongs (13 percent), Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-Si-Dos (11 percent) and Shortbread/ Trefoils (9 percent).

The regional difference in names for nearly identical cookies stems from the fact that two bakeries produce cookies for the Girl Scouts, and each is allowed to name its own products.

(The local council’s baker, Little Brownie Bakers, produces Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos and Trefoils; their other, non-contested offerings are Thin Mints, Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch and Lemon Chalet Cremes.)

But, regardless of the name, it’s more than a cookie that makes the sales attractive.

“It’s the shine of the kids,” Mauck said. “They’re just so awesome to be out there, working for a good cause.” The 9- to 13-year-old girls in Troop 5389 have taken a special interest in the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter and do lots of projects to help out its residents, such as holding a pajama drive, crocheting scarves and friendship bracelets and making blankets, Mauck said. “And that’s all driven by the girls.”

“Obviously they’re doing something great, they’re working on good things,” Mauck said as she got a little choked up. “They could be doing other things, but they choose to do this,” helping their community - all the while learning self-confidence, courteousness and leadership skills.

“And when you see that sweet, smiley face with their uniform on, how can you turn that down?” asked the mother,who has two daughters in Girl Scouts.

“And then there’s always the thought of that chocolate Thin Mint arriving and you get to settle down with that.” Original Girl Scout Cookies

The first Girl Scouts baked their own simple sugar cookies and sold them door-todoor for 25 or 30 cents a dozen. Here’s an early recipe from 1922.

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar, plus more for topping (optional)

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream the butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, fl our, salt and baking powder.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough out thin, cut into trefoil shapes (like the Girl Scout emblem), and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired.

Bake in a quick oven (375 degrees) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Makes 6-7 dozen.

Life, Pages 6 on 02/24/2010

Print Headline: ‘it’s COOKIE time ’

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