Do You Remember These 15 Discontinued Girl Scout Cookies?

Chloe Effron for mental_floss
Chloe Effron for mental_floss

It’s been over 100 years since the Girl Scouts sold their first cookies—which the troopers and their moms made from scratch in their kitchens and wrapped in wax paper—for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. And since then, the Girl Scouts have built a veritable cookie empire, populated with an assortment of delectable cookie varieties. Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos (to name a few) are a far cry from the simple vanilla shortbread cookies sold in the 1920s.

Unfortunately for some cookies, in with the new means out with the old. Through the years, we've also had to bid adieu to a long line of good cookies, including the Dulce de Leche and Thank You Berry Munch. Here are 15 Girl Scout Cookie varieties that live on only in our memories (and dreams—I’m lookin’ at you, Juliettes).

1. VAN'CHOS

Available from 1974 to 1983, these chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies—which came in an assorted box—were a throwback to Girl Scout Cookies’ early flavors. In the 1950s, only four types of cookies existed: the original shortbread, chocolate-filled cookie, vanilla-filled cookie, and the first iteration of the Thin Mint (then called Chocolate Mint).

2. KOOKABURRAS

Like the lovechild of a Rice Krispies treat and a Twix bar, the Kookaburras, fleetingly available in the early ‘80s, sounded like heaven. Rectangular cookies with crispy rice, caramel, and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do. One nostalgia-plagued baker concocted her own recipe for these delightful morsels.

3. GOLDEN YANGLES

Not really cookies at all, Golden Yangles (available in the 1980s and discontinued in 1992*) were cheddar cheese crackers. What can I say, the ‘80s were a weird time.

4. PRALINE ROYALES

In 1992, the Praline Royale—a soft vanilla cookie with praline filling, pecans, coconut, and chocolate drizzled on top—replaced the Golden Yangle. The packaging for both the Praline Royal and the Golden Yangle touted “Building Bridges: One of many Girl Scout experiences that helps girls create their own futures.”

5. GOLDEN NUT CLUSTERS

From 1991 to 1992, the Golden Nut Cluster—a pecan cookie covered in caramel—was found amongst the Girl Scout Cookies’ ranks.

6. JULIETTES

Named after Girl Scouts founder Juliette Low, the Juliette (available from 1984 to1985 and then resurrected from 1993 to 1996) was the Golden Nut Cluster 2.0. Also boasting caramel and pecans, this dreamy cookie was also covered in milk chocolate—like the Girl Scouts’ version of a chocolate turtle.

7. SNAPS

Available from 1993 to 1997, these iced oatmeal raisin cookies seemed straight from Grandma’s kitchen.

8. UPSIDE DOWNS

In 1999, the Girl Scouts took on Little Debbie with an oatmeal cookie sandwich of their own. But, unlike Little Debbie’s soft Oatmeal Creme Pies, Upside Downs were crunchy.

9. LE CHIPS

In the late ‘90s, the Girl Scouts introduced Le Chip, a chocolate-dipped, chocolate chip hazelnut cookie. Debuting before America got on the Nutella bandwagon, these cookies were short-lived.

10. ALOHA CHIPS

Around for a short time in the early 2000s, they were the gussied up version of everyone’s least favorite cafeteria cookie: white chocolate macadamia nut.

11. APPLE CINNAMONS

Available from 1997 to 2001, Apple Cinnamons were sugar cookies dusted with cinnamon sugar. The apple part? Their shape. In keeping with the diet trend du jour, they were reduced fat.

12. OLÉ OLÉS

Another reduced fat cookie from the early aughts, Olé Olés were powdered sugar cookies with pecans and coconut and were available from 2001 to 2003.

13. CINNA-SPINS

Hopping on the latest fitness fad, these crispy, cinnamon swirl cookies were sold in 100-calorie packs in 2008.

14. LEMON CHALET CREMES

The defining characteristic of these lemon sandwich cookies (with a touch of cinnamon-ginger) was the image of a Swiss Chalet imprinted on the front. The Chalet, which exists in real life, is the first World Center of WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

15. MANGO CREMES

These “healthy” treats debuted in 2013. The crispy vanilla and coconut sandwich cookie was filled with “a tangy mango flavored crème enhanced with the nutrients found in fruits.” Made by a company called Nutrifusion, the filling was made from rehydrated apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranate, limes, strawberries, and—wait for it—shiitake mushrooms (for Vitamin D).

Illustrations by Chloe Effron for mental_floss.

The Most Popular Christmas Cookie in Each State

Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images
Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images

While opinions about peppermint bark, reindeer corn, and other Christmas candies are important enough to warrant a map of their own, we all know that the real crown jewel of any kitchen counter during the holidays is an enormous platter of homemade cookies.

In a festive endeavor to guess which type of cookie is most likely to be on your counter this Christmas, General Mills collected search data from BettyCrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, and Tablespoon.com, and created a map that shows which recipes are clicked most often in each state.

Those universally adored Hershey Kiss-topped peanut butter cookies, known on Betty Crocker’s website as Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms, took the top spot in seven states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wyoming. And people don’t just love peanut butter in blossom form—Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies, and 2-Ingredient PB-Chocolate Truffles also made appearances on the list.

general mills christmas cookies map
General Mills

Peanut butter treats are definitely a popular choice among holiday bakers in general, and cookie decorators are likely responsible for the prevalence of plain old sugar cookies across the nation. Sugar Cookie Cutouts, Easy Spritz Cookies, and Easy Italian Christmas Cookies all offer a deliciously blank slate for your artistic aspirations.

Apart from peanut butter- and plain sugar-based desserts, the rest of the results were pretty scattered. Iowa most often opts for the figure eight-shaped Swedish Kringla, while Michigan loves a good jam-filled Polish Kolaczki. Surprisingly, Hawaii was the only state to choose gingerbread cookies as their seasonal favorite.

If you’re thinking classic chocolate chip cookies are suspiciously absent from this map altogether, you have great dessert-related detective skills: General Mills decided to omit them from the study, since they’re Betty Crocker’s most-searched cookie recipe all year long, and they would’ve dominated in a staggering 22 states.

Whether you’re looking for a new show-stopping cookie recipe or just wondering how your long-standing family traditions compare to others’, you can read more on the study—and see all the recipes in full—here.

[h/t General Mills]

Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

iStock
iStock

Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

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