I sold them as a girl. I also ate them. I may have eaten more than I sold!
Girl Scout Cookies
I just read in a blog post that young scouts are starting to take orders on January 7 – the actual cookies don’t arrive until February. To mark the Girl Scouts’ 100-year anniversary the organization is introducing a new treat, Savannah Smiles. ”Every cookie has a mission. To help girls do great things.”
Here are some of the ingredients in Girl Scout cookies:
Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), sugar, whole grain oats, soybean and palm oil, peanut butter (roasted peanuts, hydrogenated rapeseed, cottonseed and/or soybean oil), dextrose, invert sugar, contains two percent or less of whey, salt, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), cornstarch, natural flavor, soy lecithin.
Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil (soybean and palm oil, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and/or cottonseed oil), enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), corn syrup, coconut, sweetened condensed milk (condensed milk, sugar), contains two percent or less of sorbitol, glycerin, cocoa, invert sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, cornstarch, salt, caramelized sugar, soy lecithin, dextrose, natural and artificial flavor, carrageenan, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate).
In the comments made about the blog post that I refer to above, one wrote, “Too much bitching about hydrogenated oils in these cookies. Sheesh, have some balance in your life. A little fat won’t kill you. Open a box at work (have a few), share them and enjoy the pleasure you get making your co-workers smile.” Another person admitted, “Thin Mints are my crack.” So for some, the notion of “a little” is not realistic.
With the exception of coconut listed as one of the cookie ingredients, I could write a very long blog about what is wrong with the list. I’ll focus on the statement made: “A little fat won’t kill you”. I would wholeheartedly agree and even assert that a lot of traditional fat will enliven you, except in this case …
Not all fats are created equal
Partially hydrogenated margarines and shortenings are even worse for you than the highly refined vegetable oils from which they are made because of chemical changes that occur during the hydrogenation process. Under high temperatures, the nickel catalyst causes the hydrogen atoms to change position on the fatty acid chain. Before hydrogenation, pairs of hydrogen atoms occur together on the chain, causing the chain to bend slightly and creating a concentration of electrons at the site of the double bond. This is called the cis formation, the configuration most commonly found in nature. With hydrogenation, one hydrogen atom of the pair is moved to the other side so that the molecule straightens. This is called the trans formation, rarely found in nature. Most of these man-made trans fats are toxins to the body, but unfortunately your digestive system does not recognize them as such. Instead of being eliminated, trans fats are incorporated into cell membranes as if they were cis fats—your cells actually become partially hydrogenated! Once in place, trans fatty acids with their misplaced hydrogen atoms wreak havoc in cell metabolism because chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns, which the hydrogenation process has disturbed.
I would love to see Girl Scouts of America offer nutritious cookies such as these:
I found this early Girl Scout cookie recipe from the 1930’s:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar plus additional amount for topping (optional)
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.
Do you think there is any chance that Girl Scouts of America will ever change their ingredient list and return to the whole, real food ingredients they started out with?!
Update – after this post, one of our community members offered us this: Nutrient Dense Girl Scout Cookies?! “Thin Mints”