For years, my daughter sold Girl Scout cookies. That wasn’t the only reason she was a Girl Scout, but it may have been the only reason I encouraged her to be a Girl Scout. I needed my in-house hook up.
Y’all, Girl Scout cookies are GOOD. And maybe they teach girls about marketing and entrepreneurship and responsibility, or maybe they are just the world’s best sell-themselves fundraiser, but I will never turn down a girl trying to sell me a Samoa.
I can tell you from hours spent in not very good weather on sidewalks that the ooey-gooey cookies get the most attention. Chocolate and caramel and peanut butter and exotic add ons make for sales. Even Thin Mints, which are fairly standard cookies, combine flavors of mint and chocolate with the crunch of a sugar cookie.
My favorite Girl Scout Cookie, however, is the Trefoil. The humble, boring, ordinary Trefoil, shaped like the girl scout badge, outlined with some seriously 1970’s looking graphics of girls, in a recipe likely unchanged since Juliette Gordon Lowe got chased out of the kitchen in Savannah by an underpaid servant.
Trefoils are just shortbread cookies. I’m looking at a box now, and the ingredients are simply flour, oil, brown sugar, condensed milk, buttermilk, salt, and baking soda with a handful of preservatives and vitamins thrown in for good measure. There are a reasonable number (5) of cookies per serving.
Hear me out – and I can make the same argument for Vanilla Ice Cream, which I am disproportionately likely to buy when I have other choices – these plain flavors are the true measure of a cookie’s worth.
Anyone can dump a bunch of chocolate, coconut, and peanut butter into a bowl and have the outcome taste good. It’s really hard to screw up a cookie with 17 kinds of nuts and M&Ms and toffee chunks and a good amount of butter. Even the blandest milk-flavored ice cream is good with enough stuff thrown in it – sorry Ben, sorry Jerry, but there was no way ice cream with enough chunks of super fudge was going to be bad. Putting that together is not a skill. Making a sublime vanilla with no room to hide underneath ribbons of caramel? That is something not anyone can do.
It’s like this: peach cobbler is good, great even. So is peach pie and peach ice cream and even peach-flavored iced tea. But nothing can compare to sinking your teeth into the fuzz of a peach at the peak of ripeness with the juice dripping down your arm. The O.G. simple, basic, unadulterated peach, not a day too ripe or too green, without a bruise to be found. Hard to come across, but worth it when you find it.
I love a well-baked pound cake, a perfectly crisp hand-cut potato chip, a black cup of coffee with layers of flavor and yes, plain vanilla ice cream. And a box of Trefoil cookies, sold to me by a hopeful eight-year old who smiles like she gets a commission off the sale.
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