As March begins, Girl Scout Cookie selling season hits full speed. It’s a magical, delicious time of year, one where you can stuff Samoas and Tagalongs into your maw for the good of a great organization. Chances are you have hard opinions on your favorite. Whether you’re a proud member of Team Tagalong, the Samoa Squad, there’s something you should know: the cookies you enjoy are not the same from state to state.
Yes, your beloved Thin Mints are not the same. That’s because Girl Scout cookies are actually made by two different bakeries, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), that have their own cookie recipes, cookie names, and even cookie box design. Take a minute for this to sink in.
Okay, so what does that mean for you? Basically, you’e spent your whole life in the Samoas squad, not even realizing that millions of other Girl Scout cookie enthusiasts were chowing down on Caramel deLites. It’s not just Samoas, either; almost every type of cookie has a bizarro version from the other bakery, and which cookies you are familiar with appears to be based entirely on where you live, as the local Girl Scouts get to decide which bakers’ cookies they will be selling. The Los Angeles Times has a great interactive map of the cookie differences by region. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the bakeries’ different cookies, as well as a list of which states get which varieties.
The Girl Scout’s most popular cookie is made by both bakeries, but there are subtle differences between the two. ABC Bakers make their cookies crunchier and place more of an emphasis on the mint taste than the chocolate, while Little Brownie Bakers include a rich, smooth chocolate coating on their cookies. Their thin mints also have a peppermint flavor, as opposed to the mint flavor from ABC Bakers.
Samoas (LBB) vs. Caramel deLites (ABC)
These cookies are pretty similar but there a few key differences. Samoas are the more flavorful of the two, using a dark chocolate coating and a heavy caramel layer along with more toasted coconut. While Samoas put most of the emphasis on the toppings, Caramel deLites use them as a complement for the cookie. They include a milkier chocolate than Samoas and a light vanilla flavor that pairs with the coconut taste.
Despite having the same name, these cookies are entirely different in terms of taste and appearance. ABC Bakers’ S’mores put a chocolate coating around a graham cracker and a layer of marshmallow flavoring. Little Brownie Bakers’ S’mores look more like a traditional, sandwich-style s’more, placing a frosting and fudge layer between two mini graham crackers.
Tagalongs (LBB) vs. Peanut Butter Patties (ABC)
These two have almost no differences, as they both taste and look practically identical. The only real distinction is that the Tagalongs have more layers of peanut butter inside their chocolate coating, while Peanut Butter Patties have a vanilla layer to complement the peanut butter filling. Tagalongs, obviously, have a way better name.
Do-si-dos (LBB) vs. Peanut Butter Sandwich (ABC)
Little Brownie Bakers’ Do-si-dos are all about the peanut butter. They include thicker layers of peanut butter and are crunchier and more buttery than Peanut Butter Sandwiches, which have a more “well-rounded” flavor.
Trefoils (LBB) vs. Shortbread (ABC)
Almost exactly the same. Shortbread cookies are slightly sweeter, while Trefoils taste more buttery, but in all honesty, you probably won’t really notice the difference.
Savannah Smiles (LBB) vs. Lemonades (ABC)
Savannah Smiles are crisp, lemon-flavored cookies coated in powdered sugar, while Lemonades are Shortbread cookies with a lemon-flavored filling. For the most part, the Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers cookies have basically the exact same nutritional value, but Lemonades are significantly less healthy than Savannah Smiles. They include more than twice the calories, fat, and sugar in each cookie.
These gluten-free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from ABC Bakers currently have no equivalent from Little Brownie Bakers.
Once again, the Shortbread is used to create another cookie. This time, it has a light fudge flavor at the bottom. Little Brownie Bakers does not make any version of this cookie.
As the name suggests, these are mini cookies with crunchy toffee bites baked in. ABC Bakers does not have any version of this cookie. Bonus: They are gluten-free.
Little Brownie Bakers