Girl Scout cookie season gives me a certain feeling of unease: I call it post-traumatic Girl Scout cookie mom syndrome.
Being a cookie mom is the defining experience of the Girl Scout cookie lifestyle.
Nearly 20 years ago, in a season that caused me to doubt my life choices, I was a Girl Scout cookie sale chairwoman for my daughter’s troop. That means I ordered the cookies, picked up the cookies, counted the cookies and scheduled the sales at which big-eyed girl-children would beg you to support their efforts. At the end, I also wrote a big old check for our leftover inventory and promised myself never to deal with cookies again.
I had been eating the cookies since I myself was a Girl Scout, so long ago that mastodons roared across the plains of Lexington’s Main Street, when Girl Scout uniforms were purchased at Wolf Wile (in the building now housing Gray Construction) and included a set of white gloves to hide our grubby little paws.
My standards for ranking the cookies are simple: Peanut butter is the most important ingredient in a Girl Scout cookie, and if you think otherwise, I’m at email@example.com. Also: You’re wrong.
While there are other cookies — gluten-free and “healthy” varieties — I will only deal with the varieties that are most often sold in our area.
7. Caramel deLites. The Caramel deLite is a wafer pelted with caramel, coconut and chocolate coating. The deLite part of the name is apparently a joke, because two of these cookies is more than adequate for a single dessert. Amongst Girl Scout cookies, these are the double-wides.
All of the ingredients are delicious on their own. Together, they are over the top.
6. Shortbread. Shortbreads are likeable cookies, kind of like the turkey sandwich on white bread of cookie-dom: They won’t kill you, but you wouldn’t storm the barriers to get at them, either.
They don’t have the rich buttery taste of Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen, but they’re decent with milk. They define average. They can sit in your pantry for months without tempting you to devour them, while you pat yourself on the back because you supported a community cause by purchasing sugary treats you don’t really need.
(When I was a Girl Scout mom, people would occasionally give us money and not buy cookies. And we took it. I’m sure this violates some rule, but my daughter is now 26, so: statute of cookie limitations.)
6B. S’Mores. These are new this year, a graham cookie with marshmallow and dipped in chocolate. They are tasty, but appear to skimp on the marshmallow. My recommendation: Buy a sample box, line them up on a plate, scoop some marshmallow fluff on the top and microwave for 10 seconds.
5. Peanut Butter Sandwich. I would wager that the demographic profile of the buyers of this cookie edges into the “60-plus” category. They were my late father’s favorite, so I buy them every year. The peanut butter tastes like real peanut butter, unlike Nutter Butters, which are a bland desecration of all things peanut.
4. Thanks-A-Lot. These are shortbread circles with chocolate coating on the reverse side. They’re tasty. They’re not Kit Kat-addictive, but they are serviceable carbohydrates and can be used to quiet a children’s Sunday school class when you have prepared no lesson, not that I would know.
3. Lemonades. This is a wafer with a waxy lemon coating on the reverse side. I rank them high because one day I missed lunch and was driving out Tates Creek Road in a crowd and ate almost an entire box at the stoplights because it was all I had in the car. They wouldn’t be my top pick for sweets, but if you’re caught in the zombie apocalypse without a Twinkie, they’ll do.
2. Thin Mints. They are the perfect office breath-freshener for around 3 p.m. when everyone starts to feel a bit sluggish. A handful of Thin Mints pulls you through to 5 p.m.
They are also great for those evenings when you feel particularly sorry for yourself, because you start with three or four and then you’ve eaten 20. Then you have a sugar buzz and you feel sorry for yourself and you’re fat.
1. Peanut Butter Patties. These are the next best thing to a Reese’s Cup of a cookie, and that is a fine thing, indeed. It’s a glob of peanut butter on a wafer, covered in chocolate. I have eaten these for breakfast.
I am not proud of that. Really, the shortbread is a much better breakfast cookie.
What Girl Scout cookies sell the most? The three top sellers are Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties.