If I were to dig up my old sash from Girl Scouts, you’d find the badges still straight pinned to it. My mom never took the time to sew them on and make my hard-earned badges a permanent fixture of my childhood. I assume this is partially because who the hell wants to take the time to sew those tiny ass badges on that cheap sash, and also partially because my mom knew my time in the scouts was fleeting.

If that’s what she thought, she wasn’t wrong. Like everything else I tried as a kid, I quickly gave up on the Scouts. What my mom lacked in badge sewing, she surely made up for in making sure I took cookie sales seriously. It wasn’t hard; after all, the top prize was a stuffed animal, and I just knew it had to be mine (even the year when the theme was “wolves,” which I’m pretty sure was just residual prizes from Boy Scouts because how the hell do you figure little girls are going to bust their cookie selling asses to earn wolf merch?). This salesmanship (saleswomanship?) stuck with me, and I later went on to work in retail and outside sales, excelling at both. Today, I’ve sold you on this essay, and you’ve managed to make it to the end of paragraph two, so it’s obvious I know what I’m doing.

While the badges faded (and likely fell off; they really weren’t affixed properly) and the stuffed animal prizes were (begrudgingly) donated, what persevered is my love of Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout cookies is a season. It means it’s time to take a break from whatever new-year, new-me bullshit I agreed to four weeks prior. It means it’s time to allow myself to have cookies for breakfast and justify it as a thing that happens only once a year (HA!). Many of you are probably sitting on a crisp $50 you have ear-marked for cookies (am I the only one with a Girl Scout cookie budget?) but are feeling lost with the plethora of choices, so I’ve taken it upon myself to rank these cookies for you (you’re welcome). In order of importance:

1. Tagalong: The Tagalong is by far the best Girl Scout cookie. Some of you may know them as Peanut Butter Patties, but you obviously live in a part of the country that makes you wrong because we all know they’re called Tagalongs.

Tagalongs have perfected the cookie trifecta: peanut butter, chocolate, and crunch. The fact that there’s peanut butter involved is enough in and of itself to make these the best, but if that’s not good enough for you, consider the versatility of this cookie. This cookie is perfect to eat in one bite, in multiple bites to savor, or to meticulously peel apart and enjoy in layers. Furthermore, the Tagalong is delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast, a wonderful mid-day pick-me-up at your desk while you take your requisite 30 minute internet surfing break, or to get really crazy, try them frozen.

You’ll want to order at least four boxes of these. Trust.

2. Thin Mint: The Thin Mint is the quintessential Girl Scout cookie. She’s timeless and classic in the Audrey Hepburn kind of way, but is also like a really cool middle aged aunt you’d invite to a sorority mixer because you just know she’s going to be the life of the party.

Thin Mints are also great frozen. Thin Mints are great on their own, but do best when paired with others. By “others” I mean ice cream, hot fudge, pudding, cake, or used as a pie crust. They’re basically like an Oreo, but way more delicious and don’t make you feel like white trash for loving them (also, no cream filling, so not really like an Oreo at all, I guess).

Order at least three boxes. And don’t feel guilty about that because at least one of those boxes will be used in a recipe, so it doesn’t count.

3. Caramel Delites: For a while these were called Samoas, but that seems kind of racially charged, so Girl Scouts started calling them Caramel Delites. They’re back to calling them Samoas again, but once you’re woke, you’re woke, so I’m sticking with Caramel Delites.

These motherfuckers are seriously good. There’s no peanut butter, so that obviously knocks them out of the running for first place, and they’re not as versatile as their sister the Thin Mint, but they’re just as amazing.

I hate coconut, but I’d eat all of these at once if I could (Okay, so I have, and I’d do it again. You can’t shame me). The gooeyness from the caramel makes these fuckers addicting. They’re best when you tear them open immediately after purchase and strap them into your front passenger seat (if you’re in the car with other people, make them get in the back. Cookies always ride shotgun) and eat half a sleeve on the drive home. They’re a great road trip snack. They’re also great paired with an oatmeal stout and eaten for dinner (recommended serving size: 1 box). Like Thin Mints and Tagalongs, Caramel Delites excel when frozen. They become a whole other cookie. What was once delightful caramel gooeyness is now a cold, crunchy snap  (honestly, I don’t even have the time to tell you about all the candies and cookies that are really great after a few hours in the freezer; there’s just not enough time in the day. Take the time to experiment; you won’t be sorry.

Order four boxes- one to eat on the way home from purchase, one to eat later, and two to be transformed by the freezer.

 

4. Trefoils: Again, you might call these by another name. Again, you’re wrong. Some people have taken to call these “shortbreads,” but that really demeans this classic cookie. The Trefoil is the grandmother of the Girl Scout cookie lineup. She’s warm, inviting, smells good, and you can her take in small doses.

The Trefoil is best eaten in the morning. Half a sleeve with a cup of warm coffee is best. Even better if you can do so while reading a magazine while sitting on a lanai. Don’t have a lanai? It’s okay; they’ll still taste fine, but you’ll be sadder while eating them because your house is lacking a really great cookie eating locale. I shouldn’t have to explain the merits of a breakfast cookie. The Donner Party didn’t have breakfast cookies so they had to one another. This is how important the Trefoil is to American history.

Order one box. Though paramount to the survival of humanity, you’ll only eat a few at a time.

5. Do-si-Do:

The number five spot in this lineup is purely superficial. This cookie tastes stale as shit, but it’s made with peanut butter so it’s ranked higher than many others.

When I was hocking cookies for plush toys, they were all represented as cartoon characters. Whoever lead that marketing campaign was a damn genius because those renditions were spot. on.  Do-si-Do is depicted as the Dolly Parton of the cookie world, and there’s not a better analogy. A little older, kind of stale, predictable and steady, you can’t go wrong with the Do-si-Do, but you’re going to be much happier with the Tagalong, just like you can’t go wrong with picking Islands in the Stream as your karaoke song, but you’re going to get more free drinks if you sing Wannabe (If I tell you what I want, what I really, really want, it’s to eat a case of frozen Tagalongs and still be able to zip my pants).

Order one box. Really.

6. S’mores: 2017 is the first year for the S’mores cookie, which means I haven’t had her yet, but I took the plunge and ordered two boxes because I’ve rarely met a cookie I don’t like (with the exception of the Taco Bell of the cookie world, the Oreo). Though I’ve never had her, I have high hopes. Next to peanut butter, marshmallow fluff is the greatest taste on the planet.

Naturally, the S’mores have two different varieties because Girl Scouts insists on using two different bakeries and two different formulas. These two cookies are drastically different so it’s in god’s hands what the experience will be like, but I have faith.

Order one box. They’re worth a try. Plus, it’s for the Girl Scouts!

7. Toffee-Tastic: Billed as “rich” and “buttery,” I tried Toffee-Tastic when they first arrived on the scene because I’ll really try anything you tell me is rich and buttery (case in point: Rumchata. More like Vomata).

Trust me when I say these cookies are so fine. They’re the Millennials’ Do-si-do but without the historical context that makes you not buy a box when the girls selling cookies outside of Walgreens in the rain and are all out of Tagalongs and Caramel Delites.

Don’t order any of these. Just ask someone you know who was suckered into ordering them to try one. Your curiosity will be satisfied, and you’ll be happy you dropped a twenty on peanut buttery goodness instead.

8. Thanks A Lot: These are probably fine, but I usually tap out my $50 budget before I come to these on the ordering form. These are supposed to teach young girls about “business ethics,” which I find a bit sexist since the Boy Scouts are taught to be heterosexual popcorn hustlers without regard for hostile mergers and acquisitions (see: leftover wolf prizes).

Order these or don’t.

9. Savannah Smiles/Lemonade: Ya’ll, I will almost always drop my money on anything with the word Savannah in the title. Savannah=Paula Deen=My heart (minus that really weird racial tension). But they put lemon in these cookies. Lemon does not belong in a cookie. Lemon belongs in liquor, water, and whole lemons belong in Kate Spade crystal bowls on your breakfast bar, not in cookies.

To add insult to injury, these assholes made TWO lemon cookies. The difference? Dust. Savannah Smiles are dusted in powdered sugar to make you feel like you’re still eating a cookie while your senses are assaulted with the nostalgia of Pledge.

Don’t order these. Unless you like lemon cookies, in which case you need to leave these poor young girls alone; you’re an awful role model.

 

So there you have it! Whether you spend $50 or $5 (Honestly, I don’t even know if you can get a box for $5, so don’t quote me when bartering with these badged bitches), you can’t go wrong during Girl Scout cookie season. I get to fill a small walk-in freezer full of cookies and have an excuse to eat them for breakfast while some young girl whose mama is just praying she’ll quit soon so she doesn’t have to take her to Monday night meetings anymore gets to win the top prize. Let’s just hope it’s not wolves again.

 

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