What is the Deal with all the Different Girl Scout Cookies?

The great heroes of science have long made brave sacrifices in the pursuit of knowledge. Marie Curie’s work with radioactive elements brought her two Nobel Prizes and led to her death. Galileo was condemned by the church and arrested because he dared to say the universe doesn’t revolve around us. Astronauts blast into space knowing that one small miscalculation could kill them in a variety of ways.

I… ate like two dozen Girl Scout cookies.

I’m sure the Nobel committee knows where to find me.

Last year, I wrote about the differences in a few of my favorite Girl Scout cookies. I discovered Girl Scout cookies are actually made in one of two different bakeries, depending on where you live. There is ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Some cookies are made exclusively at one or the other, some are made at both but with different names, and some keep their naming consistent. Here’s a handy chart. 

Most people seem to think it is an East coast vs West coast difference, but it’s actually much more random than that.

This year, I decided to recruit some actual Girl Scouts to do an extremely scientific comparison of all the cookies from both bakeries*.


Luckily, it was not too difficult to convince Lorelei and her friend Evelyn to help with my quest for ultimate Girl Scout cookie knowledge.

The set up was simple. We would eat some cookies and note the differences. Then we would pick our favorites. The sample size of the study was small, but I’ll be submitting it for peer review any day now.

girl scouts

First up

Peanut Butter Patties vs Tagalongs

Much like my test from last year, the Tagalongs had creamier peanut butter and more of it. Lorelei thought the peanut butter in the Tagalongs was a bit saltier. This year they seemed a little thinner than the Peanut Butter Patties, but that seemed to be more in the thickness of the cookie layer (above photo is from last year). The chocolate is slightly darker on the Tagalongs, as well.

Evelyn was staying loyal to ABC, Lorelei couldn’t decide, and I am very dedicated to Tagalongs.

So, final verdict? Tie. (Tagalongs are clearly superior, though)

ABC S’mores vs LBB S’mores

I’m a s’more connoisseur. The two bakeries went entirely different directions with my favorite confection. Why am I rhyming? The ABC cookies push the marshmallow to the back of the stage, but the graham cracker is more graham crackery (technical term). The LBB s’mores is closer to tradition, but the cookie tastes like some sort of mix of graham cracker and shortbread.

I give the nod to the traditional setup. Evelyn is holding loyal. And Lorelei still has no idea what she likes, she just wants to eat cookies.

Winner: Tie


Gluten Free: Trios vs Toffee-Tastic

Each bakery has their own version of a gluten-free cookie. The ABC cookie is a chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal concoction. To me, they taste like someone was ready to make cookies for a dinner party when their brother calls to say that his new girlfriend is gluten-free and so there was a rush through Pinterest to figure out what could be made to suit, using only the ingredients on hand. Basically, they’re mediocre. Sort of dry and dense.

The LBB cookie at least feels like someone at least asked their gluten-free best friend for a tried and true recipe. I didn’t find them to be the best girl scout cookie, but I won’t lie and say that I haven’t eaten at least five of them today. The shortbread base is a bit crumbly, and it could use a bit more toffee, but it’s still a damn decent cookie.

Lorelei preferred the Trios. Evelyn declared them both disgusting. And I’m Toffee-tastic.

Winner: Tie


Shortbread vs Trefoils

Lorelei took a bite of the ABC Shortbread cookie and said, “tastes like shortbread.” That could be the slogan for both of these cookies, really. They’re extremely similar in taste. I don’t think I could tell which was which if I was only given one type to try.

Lorelei preferred the Shortbreads, Evelyn was once again unimpressed with both.  I felt like that Trefoils were more buttery, which gave them the edge.

Winner: Yet another tie


Lemonades vs Savannah Smiles

I have no idea why ABC bakeries decided to go with the most boring names possible. I guess they are more descriptive of what you’re getting, but Savannah Smiles is such a cute name that it had a head start right out of the gate.

They’re both lemon-flavored, but otherwise different. The Lemonades are that typical Girl Scout shortbread cookie, with a lemon icing on the bottom. The Savannnah’s are a little more like wedding cookies, but not quite as melt-in-your-mouth amazing. They have a more intense and real lemon flavor, with the sweetness coming mostly from the powdered sugar on the outside of the cookie. The Lemonades are a little sweeter overall, with a more mellow lemon.

Lorelei liked the Lemonades. Evelyn went back and forth before landing on the Savannah Smiles, though she only tasted a tiny nibble of each. You can probably guess that I’m team Savannah.

Winner: Finally, an actual winner! Award goes to Savannah Smiles!


Caramel deLites vs Samoas

Seriously, ABC’s naming sounds like the generic store brand of Girl Scout cookies. I wasn’t really excited about this one, since I hate coconut. Evelyn refused to even participate, so to avoid putting all the pressure on Lorelei, I took one for the team.

There are obviously differences between the two. Caramel deLites have a milkier chocolate and more coconut. Samoas have darker chocolate and a very obvious, sticky, layer of caramel. If I liked coconut, Samoas would be the absolute winner. As it was, they both tasted like they had shredded beach-flavored waxed paper on top.

Winner: Samoas, I guess


ABC Thin Mints vs LBB Thin Mints


This is another one that I was indifferent about. I’m not a mint chocolate fan. I know, I know. I love chocolate, and I like mints, but the two don’t really need to go together. The ABC version was much more minty and had a crunchier cookie. The LBB version had slightly darker chocolate with a less pronounced mint flavor and a lighter cookie. I didn’t dislike the LBB version, which is saying something. Both the girls are fans of mint chocolate and voted for the ABCs.

Winner: ABC Thin Mints


Peanut Butter Sandwich vs Do-si-dos

By the time we got to the peanut butter sandwich cookies we were running out of steam. We’d lost 1/3 of our testing team and had collectively eaten what can only be described as “too many” cookies. This wasn’t something Lorelei even understood to be possible, and I had only heard of it in theory.

Nobody wants these cookies — though I’m sure I will now get hate mail from the die-hard peanut butter sandwich legion.

There is almost no difference between the two. Lorelei thought the Do-si-dos had slightly sweeter peanut butter and they had a little more peanut butter than the ABC version. Ultimately, Lorelei explained it best as, “these taste like peanut butter crackers.”

I’ll probably crush them up and use them as a pie crust or something.

Winner: Nobody wins with peanut butter sandwich cookies


Overall Impressions

*We didn’t test the ABC Thanks-a-lot cookies, since LBB doesn’t have an equivelant. And they are just the shortbread with some chocolate.

My first thought is, man, I just wasted a lot of time and money comparing cookies when most people are stuck with only one local choice. But if you were trying to decide if having cookies shipped from your cousin in Mississippi is worth it, maybe this will help. Hopefully our local council won’t kick us out, since we are an ABC region, and I voted for the LBB cookie in every single case (save for the PB sandwich, meh).

I have 16 open boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my kitchen.

So, what do you think? Have you gotten to try both versions of any of the cookies? Am I on some sort of watch list now for disliking Thin Mints?


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4 Comments on "What is the Deal with all the Different Girl Scout Cookies?"

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[…] For my 2018 cookie season run down on all the cookies from both bakeries, head over here. […]


1. Your test seems totally scientific.
2. Girl Scouts should distribute variety boxes of LBB and ABC cookies. Girl Scout tasting parties could become the February fundraiser idea of all time.
3. I just ate my first Thanks-A-Lot cookie, and it was the best GS cookie I’ve ever had.


I have fond memories of warm peanut butter sandwiches with milk at 2 am, bright to me by my mom, while working on a paper due that day (procrastinating? Never! )

I was telling Moira about this yesterday and you may have another tester available for any future food related comparisons. In fact, I’m anticipating her asking me to buy a box of each variety from both bakeries any day so that she can compare and contrast for herself. I also agree with Lynda that GS could totally use taste testing parties as another way to raise money with an existing product. I will say it here because I wish GS advertised it more, some of the varieties are vegan too. If you have a dairy allergy, check the boxes, I… Read more »
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