Most Girl Scout cookies go by two names because the cookies are made by two different bakeries.
The Girl Scouts of the USA were formed in 1912 as an organization for young girls to learn skills and build friendships. As a fundraiser in 1917 the Mistletoe Troop of Muskogee, Oklahoma began selling homemade cookies. Selling cookies was so successful troops nationwide began to do the same. In 1936 the Girl Scouts organization began to use commercial bakeries to produce the cookies more efficiently which the girls scouts would then sell, which is how it’s still done today.
Depending on where you are in the United States, your cookies are made by one of two commercial bakeries:
- ABC Bakers (a division of the Canadian corporation George Weston Limited), or
- Little Brownie Bakers (a division of the Italian Ferrero Group)
Because of the two bakeries the cookies have different recipes and different names. As a result, what some know as Samoas, others know as Caramel deLites. What some know as Tagalongs, others know as Peanut Butter Patties. Only two cookies retain the same name regardless of bakery: the Girl Scout S’mores and Thin Mint. As for the most popular Girl Scout cookie, at 25% of sales, it’s Thin Mint.
Also: The Girl Scout logo is framed in a shape known as a trefoil (basically three overlapping circles that sometimes also has a stylized tail at the bottom to emulate the look of clover, as the Girls Scouts logo does). The Little Brownie Bakers have labeled their version of shortbread cookies Trefoils as a nod to this branding. In the ABC Bakers version of the cookie, named Shortbread, the cookies’ form is less trefoil and more quatrefoil as it is basically four overlapping circles.