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Does A Girl Scout Cookie By Any Other Name Taste As Sweet?

Lisa Ryan, WBOI News
ABC Bakers make cookies sold in Northeast Indiana.

You might be from Northeast Indiana if you can’t find Tagalong, Samoa and Trefoil Girl Scout cookies. Those cookies are better known as Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel deLites and Shortbread in this part of the state, and true connoisseurs might notice a slight difference in taste.

In this week’s segment of NorthEATS Indiana, WBOI’s Lisa Ryan looks at why the cookies have different names and flavors around the state.

Girl Scouts are selling cookies until March 8, and this past weekend they were at the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show. A troop of sixth graders from Leo Elementary talks about their favorite cookies.

Credit Lisa Ryan, WBOI News
From left to right: Vanessa Karr, Heather Elwood, Killian Creigh, Meghan Beverly.

“Well my favorite are the most three sold, but probably our very most-sold cookie is the Thin Mints,” said Vanessa Karr.

“My favorite is the Thin Mints,” Heather Elwood said.

“Mine is the peanut butter patties,” said Killian Creigh. “I don’t really like any of the other kinds.”

Meghan Beverly from Concordia Lutheran School is also in their troop. She tells me her favorite cookie are Thanks-a-lots, but I’ve never heard of those. I ask her if they're a new kind.

“Not really,” Beverly said. “It’s the teal box over there. It’s like a shortbread with chocolate on the bottom.”

I was a Girl Scout in Highland, Indiana. The reason I’ve never heard of Thanks-a-lots is because Northwest Indiana troops get their cookies from a different bakery.

There are two bakeries that are licensed to sell girl scout cookies in the United States. The Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiana sell cookies made by ABC Bakers out of Richmond, Virginia. The other bakery, Little Brownie Bakers, makes cookies sold in Ohio and parts of Indiana--including Indianapolis and Northwest Indiana, where I’m from.

The most noticeable differences are the names of the cookies. While customers in Ohio are used to names like Do-si-dos and Samoas, the equivalent cookies are called Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Caramel deLites in Northeast Indiana.

There are some cookies that don’t have an equivalent - that’s why you can buy Thanks-a-lots in Warsaw but not in Indianapolis. If you buy outside of Northeast Indiana, you can buy Rah-Rah-Raisins and Savannah Smiles.

The two bakeries also use different recipes - even for the cookies that share the same name, like Thin Mints. The Thin Mints in Northeast Indiana are a little crunchier, with slightly less chocolate covering the mint cookie.

"As Girl Scouts, we try to give back to the community a lot."

Whichever cookie you’re buying, it benefits the Girl Scouts. A box in Northeast Indiana costs $4. Seventy cents goes to the troop, $2.30 goes to the council, and the remaining dollar covers the cost of the cookie, according to communications manager Tony Belton.

The Girl Scouts in the troop from Leo Elementary use the money to fund projects, like setting up a recycling program at their school, says Karr.

“As Girl Scouts, we try to give back to the community a lot,” she said.

They also use the money to fund trips. Last year, they used their cookie money to go ziplining. They haven’t decided where to go this year. One of the girls wants to go to Scotland, but it’s probably not in the budget.

“We are supposed to do research on that so we can decide to do a trip that can fit our budget and is fun,” Karr said.

The girls say they learn a lot from selling cookies, like being able to talk to new people.

Most Girl Scouts sell door-to-door or with a cookie booth, but one Girl Scout troop from Los Angeles gained national attention selling to celebrities during Sunday’s Oscars ceremony. Two of the girls in the troop were host Chris Rock’s daughters.

And in case you were wondering, the cookies they sold were made by Little Brownie Bakers, the same bakery used by most of Ohio and central Indiana.

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