The Best Girl Scout Cookies Are Not Thin Mints. They’re Trefoils.

Down with toothpaste-flavored cookies! Praise be shortbread!

Originally Published: 

Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, and with it comes the cookie flavor loyalists. On social media and in person, there are those who can’t stop gushing about how the Cookie of all Girl Scout Cookies is S’mores, or Tagalongs, or the Do-si-do’s. The loudest and most vocal of this group tend to be those who preach the gospel of Thin Mints. But, reader, I am here to tell you that they are all wrong.

The best Girl Scout cookie is also the least celebrated: the Trefoil. Yes, the cookie also known simply as shortbread and humbly formed into the shape of the Girl Scout’s iconic logo. It is one of the oldest, and it is the ideal cookie. It’s slightly sweet. It crumbles in your mouth. It doesn’t run the risk of melting or getting your fingers sticky. The Trefoil has been a best-seller for as long as the Thin Mint and let’s be honest: it tastes a lot better than that stale slab of peppermint and chocolate. If I wanted a mint cookie, I’d just eat an Oreo after brushing my teeth.

More to the point: In the world of over-the-top eating trends and constant one-upmanship, there’s something reassuringly stable about the Trefoil. Think about our Instagram-famous foods: Donuts deep-fried in bacon fat and covered in ice cream. Pancakes stuffed with brownies and drizzled in salted syrup. Hot chocolates that are 50 gallons. Sushi burritos. Sushi donuts. Waffles that wrap around ice cream and are covered in sprinkles. Burgers ensconced in ramen noodle patties. Pasta served in carved-out wheels of cheese.

When will we finally accept that no amount of putting weird foods on other foods doesn’t always mean that the thing is better? I don’t need an egg sandwich on a cinnamon roll! I just want the egg sandwich sometimes! And to me, that’s what the Trefoil represents. A regular egg sandwich, with cheese, hot sauce, and salt and pepper that you get at a deli, not some trendy food hall that also offers croissants stuffed with lump crab and honey butter.

In this age of flavor maximalism, minimalism is an asset. Which is why the Trefoil deserves acclaim. It is a constant comfort in an ever-changing world. It’s a cookie that dares to be simple and sweet without being over the top, and is okay with not being the most loved, or the most vocally favored. The Trefoil hasn’t evolved much and doesn’t need to. It doesn’t need to be sandwiched with chocolate or receive any fancy drizzlings or be infused with coconut or hint of lemon. The Trefoil is content to be a simple afternoon snack or texturally powerful dessert.

So keep your Do Si Dos and Samoas. Keep droning on and on about Thin Mints and S’mores. I’ll be happy with my many boxes of Trefoil. The cookie doesn’t need to be a social media star or even spoken of with high regard. It is not a cookie that requires such reverence. All it needs is what it offers: simplicity.

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