It is almost that time of year again for buying your yearly supply of Girlscout cookies. Place your orders as soon as you can or wait until the end of February and go out and find a booth where the girls are selling them.
Since 1917, Girlscout cookies have been very popular and except for the years during World War II, when the girls were forced to sell calendars to fund their activities. The first batches ever made were made by the girls themselves with their mothers guiding them the entire way.
There were no brightly colored boxes back then either, each dozen cookies was placed in a waxed paper bag, sealed with a sticker, and the girls sold them door to door for 0.25 cents to 0.35 cents per dozen.
In today’s common term, you could say that in very short order these yearly treats went viral and in 1922 the first ever recipe for these yummy morsels was published in The American Girl magazine and distributed to all 2000 members. (You can get the original sugar cookie recipe on the official website.)
It wasn’t until 1936 that the organization began looking around for a baker to bake the cookies commercially. This helped the cookies become more uniform and enabled more councils to sell more cookies, therefore, raising more money in the process.
After the war, sales continued and rose steadily year after year and in 1948, 29 different baking companies all over the country made the cookies for the yearly sales.
By 1956, you had your pick of four different kinds of cookies, vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies, the traditional shortbread, and the cookie we all know and love as the Thin Mints. Certain bakers may have also offered a fifth cookie type of their choice.
During the 60’s, the number of baking companies was reduced to 14 nationwide to save money even though sales numbers were skyrocketing due to the expanding baby boomers generation. The 60’s also introduced the peanut butter sandwich cookie to the available flavors customers could buy.
The 70’s brought about a more uniform, streamlined process of packaging, quality and distribution, not to mention decreasing the number of baking companies to four nationwide. Each company was supplied with a standardized version for the boxes to be used to hold the cookies. And now you could choose from seven different kinds.
Not much changed in the 80’s although some «gift tins» were made as samplers for the girls to sell. The 90’s reduced the number of baking companies to two to make all the cookies the girls needed to sell until 1998 when they added one more baking company to the mix.
The year 2000 brought about another change to the cookie boxes with bright new colors while they continue to show the girls in action, having fun, staying fit, and helping the community.
The average number of boxes of Girlscout cookies sold each year is roughly around 200 million at approximately $3.50 per box. Be sure to order as early as you can so you do not miss out!