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The Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976

February 3, 2010

Betcha didn’t know that once upon a time I was a Girl Scout.    I didn’t last long in the scouts, unlike my husband who made it all the way to Eagle Scout.  (Yet, for some reason he refuses to indulge me in bedroom role playing where he wears his uniform (with neckerchief) and I’m a lost hiker in hot pants.)  Actually, I barely remember my brief forray into scouting, have no memorabilia, and there’s no photographic evidence to prove how adorable I was in my uniform, but I was, you can trust me on that.  In fact it is almost as though my participation was scrubbed from the annals of Girl Scouting as a result of the Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976. I did, after all violate several of the Girl Scout Laws, not to mention a few local statutes.

©1947 Girl Scouts (see enlarged)

Knowing how I am today, you can be sure I was a lazy Brownie and an even lazier Girl Scout. My sash was most likely devoid of the coveted badges that better scouts work so hard to attain.  You have to actually do things to get those as it turns out. From perusing my vintage Girl Scout Handbook tonight it turns out that I might be pretty close to qualifying for the Clerk, Cook, Handywoman, and Housekeeper badges.  If they’ll let me back in, that is.

Image Courtesy of

Back in the day, when I was a Brownie, my friend Wendy’s mom, a rather exasperated woman and one of the first single-mothers I ever met,  was the troop leader for Wendy’s sister’s troop. That spring Wendy invited me to tag along on a field trip to Catalina Island with “the big girls.”  I remember the place we stayed was freezing cold and my thin nightshirt, orange with an iron-on lion’s face on the chest, wasn’t enough to keep me warm. So, I put on my jeans when I went to bed.  As I recall Wendy and I were somewhat rowdy that night; we were having a bit of a noisy pillow fight, when the door to our room flew open and her mother was standing there, blonde hair in a teased disarray, and an expression of rage on her face.  She screamed at us to “Shut the hell up and go to bed!”  Before she left the room she noticed that I had my jeans on and told me to take them off.  When I tried to explain that I was cold, she shouted “Take those damn things off before I beat your ass bloody red!”  If only there was a badge for being berated by a frazzled troop leader.

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The next year I advanced into the Girl Scouts and swapped my Brownie beanie and orange tie for the festive green Girl Scout uniform.  It was also to be my last year as a scout.  The highlight of each scouting year is the annual cookie drive. Friendly competition amongst the girls and the troops, and diet challenges to anyone with a sweet tooth. Like all good scouts, I sold cookies to raise money in the annual drive.  I also ate more than my fair share of them.  Back then I loved the Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies,Do-Si-Dos, best of all. Too bad there isn’t a badge for binge eating.

 A few months after the annual drive was over, I discovered that I still had an order sheet for the cookies in my desk.  Being a clever girl with a knack for telling white lies and a bit short on cash, I decided to make a tour around the neighborhood with my order sheet and take orders for cookies and pocket the cash. One of the beautiful things about being a Girl Scout is that the uniform, coupled with a youthful grin, encourages adults to trust you. (See Girl Scout Law #1 – A Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted.) Even today, as a matter of routine orders for cookies are placed and checks and cash are proffered in anticipation of delivery of the cookies.  You can trust a Girl Scout to deliver. Unless that Girl Scout is me.

I went door to door in our neighborhood conning family friends and relative strangers all afternoon.  When I got home, just after dark, I had a wad of cash, which I explained to my marks was the preferred form of payment for these treasured morsels, and a handful of checks (utterly useless to a nine year old girl.)  My mother was waiting for me in the kitchen, hands on her hips, with a “What the fuck were you thinking?” expression.  It seems she had just hung up the phone with one of her friends (and one of my marks) who thought my story was a wee bit shifty and had called my mother to check it out.  I was marched right back out of the house and had to go to each person on the list and, under my mother’s withering gaze, confess my skullduggery, apologize profusely, and return their money. I also had to fess up to my troop leader.  Who knew that there is no Girl Scout badge for fraud?

As an adult, I have dutifully ordered Girl Scout cookies from the daughters of my friends and bought them from little scouts who set up stands in front of their homes and outside supermarkets.  When I can I double my order and ask the troop to donate them to their special cause (last year US soldiers abroad, this year a food bank.) Perhaps  as penance for The Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976.  I wonder if they have a badge for penance?

 Terrorized Tagalong Brownie Bars

1 box Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies
1 stick butter
2 cups chocolate chips (preferably dark chocolate)
2 cups sweetened coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put Tagalong cookies in food processor and pulse until they form crumbs. Melt butter in sauce pan, then combine with cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9″ x 11″ pan lined with parchment paper, and form a crust.


 Sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie crumb crust.  Then sprinkle the coconut to cover the layer of chocolate chips. Drizzle the contents of the can of evaporated milk over the chips and coconut in a zig-zag pattern until the can is empty and most of the coconut is saturated.

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until coconut is turning golden.  Remove from oven and cool.  Cut into squares. 


 You’ll love ’em.  On my Girl Scout’s honor!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 2, 2012 6:35 pm

    Wish I could “Like” this more than once. Laughed out loud multiple times. And each ingredient of that recipe alone makes me salivate like a rabid dog. I can’t even imagine the deliciousness of the combination. Will be searching for this recipe come cookie time.

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