Make your own version of Girl Scout cookies at home

The main problem with Girl Scout cookies is the brief window you have to buy them. These treats are only available through your local council for a six- to eight-week period. That leaves a lot of weeks when the cookies aren’t available.

To determine if there was a way to get that irresistible Girl Scout cookie flavor the other 44 to 46 weeks of the year, we asked our baking expert, Andrea Boudewijn, whether Girl Scout cookies can be duped. In this article, Andrea answers that question and provides a recipe for a tantalizing Girl Scout cookie-themed dessert.

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Can Girl Scout cookies be duped?

When you can’t have something, you tend to want it even more. This is part of the reason why America loves Girl Scout cookies. The other part is because they are so yummy. Whether it’s the ever-popular Thin Mints, the Caramel deLites, or the classic Trefoils, just by thinking about your favorite Girl Scout cookie, you can probably already taste the flavor.

When asked if it would be possible to duplicate a Girl Scout cookie recipe, our expert responded, “I think it’d be impossible to replicate the actual cookie. We have a rough idea of the ingredients, but we don’t know the recipe.”

Another reason it might be tough to get that exact flavor when making fresh cookies is because Girl Scout cookies have to be shelf-stable so they can last a long time. That means there’s a lot of wax mixed in with the chocolate because a higher wax content facilitates longer shelf life.

How to get the “look” of a Girl Scout cookie

Just because you can’t get the exact recipe for Girl Scout cookies doesn’t mean you can’t get a very close approximation in both the look and the taste. Here are some ways to do that.

Chocolate-dipped cookies

To make chocolate-covered cookies, like Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and more, our expert said you can use any kind of chocolate except traditional Nestle chips because “they have special chemicals in there that make them hold their shape in chocolate chip cookies. So get something a little bit better — anything available at the store in bars.” Melt the chocolate, tip the cup sideways, and use a fork to dip the cookie in fully.

Andrea suggested scraping off the bottom layer of chocolate and placing the cookies on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. “Don’t make your cookies have ‘feet’ — that means there’s so much chocolate on it that when you set it down on the parchment paper, it runs off and makes a foot once it firms up. Put the cookies in the fridge and let them sit in there for maybe 10 minutes, not overnight, because the cookies will absorb the moisture in the fridge and they will get soggy. Take them out and voila, you’ve got perfectly dipped cookies.”

Caramel-covered cookies

To get the scrumptious flaky caramel coconut found on Caramel deLites (also known as Samoas), after baking your cookies, use a pastry brush “to paint chocolate on your cookie and then turn your cookie upside down and dip it in coconut.” 

Lemon glaze cookies

Reproducing the lemon glaze found on Lemonade cookies is fairly simple. According to our expert, just mix up a lemon glaze using powdered sugar and lemon juice. 

Creative ways to use crushed Girl Scout cookies 

  • Use crushed lemon shortbread cookies to make a killer pie crust.
  • Crush up some Girl Scout cookies and add a little icing to make cake pops.
  • Use crushed Girl Scout cookies to decorate cakes.
  • Crushed Girl Scout cookies make a more interesting ingredient. “For example, if you make chocolate truffles, a really easy way to do the exterior is to roll them in cocoa. Imagine rolling or dipping them into crushed-up Girl Scout cookies.”

Recipe and baking tips for Thin Mint Cake 

A Thin Mint Cake is everything you love about Thin Mints, only in cake form. According to Andrea, this cake is a “cloud of peppermint, almost like a breath mint, without overwhelming the chocolate.” It takes advantage of the defining trait that makes the favorite Girl Scout cookie so special: there’s mint and there’s chocolate, but there’s no sharpness to it. It would be the perfect birthday cake for a chocolate lover or an impressive treat for a special occasion.

Recipe for Thin Mint Cake

Chocolate Cake:

Yield: One 6-inch round.

1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate chips

1 1/2 ounces black onyx cocoa

6 ounces boiling water

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 ounces sour cream

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces cake flour

8 1/2 ounces sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

4 ounces butter, room temperature

4 ounces vegetable oil

  1. Whisk boiling water with chips and cocoa until no lumps appear and place on a table to cool.
  2. In another bowl whisk eggs, yolks, sour cream and vanilla together.
  3. On the mixer, gently paddle flour, sugar, soda and salt to mix.
  4. Add butter and oil and mix on low to blend, then mix on medium for 1 minute. Scrape down the whole bowl.
  5. Add the egg mixture and beat on medium for 1 1/2 minutes until it’s lighter in color and well incorporated. Scrape down well.
  6. With the mixer on low, gradually add the chocolate mixture. Scrape down, then after all is added, beat the mixture on medium for 30 seconds. Scrape and blend the last edges by hand. Fill pans and bake.

Peppermint Buttercream:

Makes 6 cups. A half-recipe is enough to fill a four-layer, 6-inch round.

5 large egg whites

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 pound (4 sticks) of butter (room temperature)

1 tablespoon of peppermint extract

Green food coloring for pale-green color

  1. Whisk whites and sugar together over a pot of hot water (bain-marie) just until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Pour the warm mixture into the mixer bowl and whip on high until cooled (about 7 minutes).
  3. Pull pieces of butter off and slowly chunk them into the whipping sugar/egg white mixture. Watch your fingers and long hair!
  4. Switch off the whisk attachment and insert the paddle, then gently beat in the extract and color until just incorporated.

Decor items:

  • Tiny Reese’s cups
  • Chopped nuts
  • Edible flowers
  • Pirouette cookies 
  • Chocolate shavings (Shave a bar of Ghirardelli chocolate with a carrot peeler)
  • Sugar pearls

Thin Mint Cake baking tips

  • Use a special kind of cocoa called Black Onyx. “It’s incredibly dark and makes the cake crumb look like the color of an Oreo.” 
  • Use peppermint, not spearmint. You might not think much about it when grabbing a breath mint, but when making this cake, using the right flavor extract is crucial.
  • “Go easy when you’re adding the extract. Peppermint can be overwhelming.”
  • Adding a dropper of green food coloring sets expectations: people will see the color and think, “Oh, that’s probably either mint or pistachio.”
  • Put some additional peppermint around the edge of the crumb coat to add more flavor.
  • When decorating, our expert suggests letting your muse guide you. “I like to pile things on top of the cake. So there are Girl Scout cookies, and there are chocolate curls, and then maybe raspberries and flowers stuck in there. I’ll do drips down the side of vanilla or more chocolate or caramel. It just looks amazing.”

Essential kitchen tools for baking 

OXO Good Grips 1.5-inch Natural Pastry Brush

OXO Good Grips 1 1/2-inch Natural Pastry Brush

This dishwasher-safe pastry brush has an angled head to help keep the bristles off your countertop. The natural bristles retain pliability longer than synthetic bristles.

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Ozeri Pro Digital Food Scale

Ozeri Pro Digital Food Scale

With the Ozeri food scale, you can precisely weigh anything from 0.05 ounces to 12 pounds. The oversized buttons make it easy to operate, while the automatic shut-off maximizes battery life.

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Wilton Cake Decorating Icing Spatula Set

Wilton Cake Decorating Icing Spatula Set

This set of three spatulas features two offset spatulas (9- and 13-inch) to facilitate icing the top of a cake and a straight spatula (11-inch) for those who prefer it for the sides. All spatulas have an ergonomic grip and are top-rack dishwasher safe.

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Amco Professional Performance Measuring Cups and Spoons

Amco Professional Performance Measuring Cups and Spoons

You’ll find everything you need in this comprehensive measuring set. There are four measuring cups and four measuring spoons. Each is made from heavy-gauge, rust-resistant stainless steel.

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Classic Cuisine Wire Whisk Set

Classic Cuisine Wire Whisk Set

The three whisks in this set have a balloon shape with crisscross wires to evenly distribute dry ingredients. They are stainless steel for easy cleaning and feature a hook for hanging.

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OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scraper

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scraper

This bench scraper is ideal for scraping, chopping, cutting, and more. The stainless steel blade has markings every quarter inch for easy measuring, while the soft, nonslip handle offers a comfortable grip.

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