Why are Girl Scout Cookies so good

No need to check the forecast. The only thing that matters right now is that the Girl Scout Cookie Season is upon us.

And at this magical time of year, when brightly colored boxes adorn employee desks and children selling candy appear at grocery stalls, camps inevitably form. Are you #TeamSamoa or a die-hard Thin Mint Stan? Does peanut butter trump lemon?

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To settle such disputes, we put together a jury that was more than up to the task. We have hired two professional pastry chefs: Claudia Barrovecchio from Fiola and Paola Velez from Kith and Kin. And since no one knows Girl Scout cookies better than the people who sell them, we've added three local Boy Scouts - 13-year-old Kimorra Buggs and Ross Donlan, and 10-year-old Mae Maney.

Clockwise from left: Boy Scouts Mae Maney, Kimorra Buggs and Ross Donlan as well as pastry chefs Claudia Barrovecchio (Fiola) and Paola Velez (Kith and Kin). (Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post)

We grabbed boxes or bags of all eight biscuits sold in the area - and added the local sodas we had on hand - and tried them at the Washington Post's food lab. What followed was an afternoon of nibbles, chuckles with sugar, and lots of expression. (As well as some brainstorming. Here's a suggestion for Girl Scouts: You should probably hire Kimorra to come up with new flavors for you as she has several promising ideas. A sample? "A biscuit that is like a brownie, but only the edges. ”)

However, to keep the recipes that have already passed the research and development phase, our panel rated the cookies as follows:

9. Toffee-Tastic

This point was unanimously rejected by the judges. "I don't like it at all," sniffed Ross.

The tasters agreed that these otherwise simple cookies didn't have enough pieces of toffee - but when they encountered a piece of the candy, they didn't like the sensation. “I thought my tooth was cracked,” said Kimorra.

Velez focused on the first ingredient listed, the rice flour, which swells because it absorbs water, because the biscuits grind their throat - and after the tasting was over, she conducted a science experiment to prove this and to crush the flour A biscuit on a plate, doused with water, watching it expand to the horror-slash delight of the panel.

8. Shamrocks

Predictably, the kids on the judging panel found that there just wasn't enough going on with this simple shortbread with the Girl Scout logo on it. "I think it tastes very simple," said Mae. "And it tastes better to me."

Its persistent taste left some judges with a bad taste.

"First it's good and then it's ..." Ross grimaced.

“What kind of aftertaste is that?” Kimorra wondered. "What is it?"

But the professionals also found it to be a kind of slumber. “Just boring,” Barrovecchio concluded.

7. Girl Scout S’mores

Kimorra offered a hack (which we didn't try out of fairness to all of the biscuit's competitors) to make the graham cracker-style sandwich biscuit more like the real campfire treat her troop enjoyed on scouting trips. “They're so good in the microwave,” she said. "Melt the marshmallows and chocolate."

“I like how sweet the filling is, but the cookie isn't exactly sweet,” Mae noted.

But overall, the panel found it a touch also sweet, and the faux marshmallow texture got medium marks. “I was amazed that they didn't actually put marshmallow fluff in it,” complained Velez. "It was like eating an oreo, but with graham crackers."

6. Lemon-ups

This Lemon Biscuit - A 2020 debut with positive messages like “I am a doer” was the Sahara dessert made from sweets, the crumbly texture of which makes everyone reach for their glasses. "Ugh, can I have more water?" Asked Ross.

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“This one kind dries out my whole mouth,” Velez said, though she said it could serve well, shredded and mixed with (much-needed) butter, as a crust for a lemon tart. Barrovecchio was also turned off by its “fake lemon aroma”.


Pastry chefs Claudia Barrovecchio to the left of Fiola and Paola Velez from Kith and Kin. (Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post)

5. Tagalongs

The chocolate coating on these peanut butter-coated cookies turned the judges off as soon as they picked them up from the plate.

“It's going to be chaotic,” Mae complained. "The second time I touched it, it started to melt in my hand," agreed Ross, who also had problems with the distribution of the peanut butter not reaching the outside edge of the biscuit, resulting in uneven bites.

Barrovecchio said this is something professional chefs think a lot about. “That's a very good point,” she said. "If you're making petit fours or cookies, you have to think about it - how will the customer eat that?"

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Mae suggested that a darker chocolate would be a better choice. And Velez didn't like the texture: "It felt like a gusher, but with peanut butter and I'm out."

4. Lemonades

The panel liked the look of this lemon peel, which shows the image of a citrus slice pressed into the top. "The design is pretty," said Ross.

However, some panelists put it on because it wasn't original. "It's a rip off from Savannah Smiles," Kimorra said, referring to a previous lemon biscuit the Girl Scouts had sold.

And the citrus flavor missed the mark. “I thought it tasted and smelled like made lemon,” said Mae - a comment that both Velez and Barrovecchio agreed with.

3. Do-Si-Dos

The adults in particular seemed to like the salty-sweet combo the peanut butter-on-peanut butter sandwich biscuit offered, and their high scores raised the ratings. “I like that they have real peanut pieces here,” noted Velez. "It aerates the biscuit and creates crispness."

“I like that it's salty and not too sweet,” Barrovecchio said, noting that she wasn't too familiar with the signature ingredient. "We don't have too much peanut butter in Italy!"

Kimorra thought the fill-to-cookie ratio was spot on, but ultimately the junior judges concluded that it was also a run. "It's good, but when all the thin mints and samoas are gone, I'll eat this," said Ross. Which brings us to ...


(Marvin Joseph / The Washington Post)

2. Samoas

The silence while serving this ring-shaped cookie with caramel, chocolate, and coconut was testament to its popularity. Instead of just nibbling, most of the panel nibbled. Coconut can be divisive: Mae loves it, but Ross “passionately despises it”.

But it won the high scores from enough tasters to finish second. Even so, it seems like Samoa is best enjoyed in moderation, even among its biggest fans. “You know how to buy Girl Scout cookies and some of them you can eat forever?” Asked Kimorra. “This is not one of them. They are pretty heavy. "

1. Thin peppermints

A sign that we wanted to meet the big winner: As we handed out the legendary slices of mint-enriched chocolate, we sang “Thin Mint Time! Thin mint time! “Went around the table.

Some tasters preferred the darker chocolate coating to the sweeter, milk-chocolate sisters (Tagalongs, we're looking at you!) "I like that it's really chocolaty," Mae said.

Kimorra and Ross liked that it was vegan (they both tried the animal product-free diet for a while). And the crispy crack was a hit. “It's good texture,” said Barrovecchio. She even found the mint taste more real than the others. "It's kind of refreshing."

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