Could a Conspiracy Be Responsible for my Thin Mint Binge? Nope, They're Just Good Cookies.

Categories: Whimsy

girl scout cookies.jpg
They're here. I'm sure you've seen them. Colorful rectangular boxes touting Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Samoas and more are taking over households all over America as we speak. Three boxes made their way into my kitchen, and last night while sitting on my couch I was horrified to discover that an entire sleeve of Thin Mints disappeared before I finished one side of a Cannonball Adderley record. This, of course, was after I ate four Samoas.

I flipped the record and sat down looking at the spent cellophane in shame. This happens every year.

There's something special about the way Thin Mints disappear in your mouth, I'm sure of it. I thought perhaps the law of Vanishing Caloric Density I recently learned about from a New York Times Magazine article might have been behind the cookies' disappearance. Had food scientists been at work to "optimize" Thin Mints (much the way crack is "optimized" cocaine)? I called the Girl Scouts to find out.

Amanda Hamaker is the manager of product sales for the Girl Scouts. She shares my Thin Mint weakness, but denies there is any sinister cookie chemistry subconsciously forcing us to eat more boxes. "It's because they're really, really good," she told me. At this point I broke the cellophane of the second roll of Thin Mints and continued my interview. "Yes, they are very, very good," I replied.

Hamaker told me the cookies are baked at two different commercial bakeries. The cookies you buy here in Dallas are baked by Little Brownie Bakers, based in Louisville, Kentucky. ABC Bakers, which is owned by Kellogg Co. and oddly enough supplies cookies to the Girl Scouts based in Fort Worth, is the other bakery working for the Girl Scouts. The bakeries own their own recipes and develop the snacks using the "best ingredients available" Hamaker said.

"Still, they're just a little too addictive aren't they?" I asked as I picked the remaining crumbs from the second spent sleeve from my keyboard. I asked how the recipes were chosen (Girl Scout tasting). I asked how the cookies were marketed (to adults not children). I asked lots of questions and had a hard time finding a conspiracy behind the mission of financing the dreams of young girls.

Hamaker's answers were squeaky clean. Of course the cookies aren't healthy; they're cookies. "Girl Scout cookies are a once a year treat," she reminded me, when I asked her if the Girl Scouts were concerned about growing pressures and negative stigmas associated with processed snack foods. "We also focus on healthy snacks in the fall," she told me, putting the last nail in my cookie conspiracy coffin.

"Why mess with Girl Scout cookies?" she asked me. And I had no reasonable answer. My thoughts had shifted to box of Samoas I stashed in the cupboard. I'd had four the night before: that means there should be eight Samoas left. "Enjoy your cookie season!" Hamaker called out as she hung up the phone.

I hope this season is a short one, or I'm in big trouble.

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If the Dallas and Ft. Worth versions come from different bakeries doesn't that warrant an all out taste test of said cookies???

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Girl Scout Cookies are not as delicious as they once were.  I don't know if they've dumbed down the ingredients the way Tasty-Kake has or whether I have a more grown-up palate.  And that hydrogenated oil thing they have has concerned me for a long time.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I am sorely disappointed with my batch of Thin Mints this year.

Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like the inner cookie part was sort of, well, mushy this year. More like the consistency of the wafers that they use on Oreos than the crispy Thin Mint centers that I remember from years past.

I was quite concerned so I continued eating, and sure enough, the entire sleeve of cookies had the same mushy center. Worried that I might have gotten a bad sleeve, I immediately opened the other only to find that every last cookie in that sleeve contained the same mushy center.

Being a thorough investigator, I was compelled to continue this to it's inevitable end. You can see where this is going. . . Suffice to say that every cookie in all three boxes exhibited the same wimpy consistency as the very first cookie.

*mint flavored burp*


We all eat Thin Mints by the sleeve because they contain partially hydrogenated oil.

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), sugar, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil, soybean and palm oil), cocoa, caramel color, contains two percent or less of cocoa processed with alkali, invert sugar, whey, leavening, (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), cornstarch, salt, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, oil of peppermint.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I did a bit of research and this is the answer to my question:


Ingredients "then": Flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, real vanilla, salt, baking powder.

Ingredients now:   "Enriched flour, sugar, palm oil, whey, corn syrup, sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, natural and artificial flavor, corn starch, salt, soy lecithin."

scott.reitz moderator

@TheCredibleHulk "Mushy" could you be describing a sort of airy crunch, that dissipates into nothing as you chew?

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@scott.reitz @TheCredibleHulk 

 Good question. I really wasn't heavily into the analytics during this particular session (and it is a bit tongue-in-cheek), but that may be just the addictive sensation they're trying to provide. If so, I am disappointed because I really do prefer the crispy texture I remember.

It may also be because during the GSC off-season I was compelled to purchase an unnamed (Elvish) competitor's product to satisfy my mint-chocolate craving and that may be why I'm having this disorienting experience.

I'm pretty sure this calls for a head to head showdown between the Girl Scouts and the Elves.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@foodbiatch @TheCredibleHulk @dixiechickidie

Yep. They were already frozen - I wouldn't consider eating them any other way. Still not the crispy center I have come to expect, though.

 I think maybe they just need to bake the Girl Scouts a little bit longer before they add them to the cookie dough.



That's actually the only way I eat my Thin Mints. So delicious. I always hide a sleeve in the back of the freezer, hoping I will forget about it. The idea is that months from now, I'll stumble across it and oh the joy! That's the idea. Thin Mints don't last long in my house.


I support this Smackdown. It's for science, Scott.

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