It's the cookie equivalent of Reese's Pieces, a chocolate-coated cookie with creamy peanut butter smeared on it. Do I have to say more? (N.B. The peanut butter here is smooth and silky, in contrast to the graininess of that of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.) This was in the running for first place — it's a great cookie in its own right but also lends itself to the sacred art of Cookie Deconstruction, the hedonist act of consuming layers of a cookie one by one. Examples include eating the middle out of an Oreo first, or biting off individual layers of Kit Kat.
Thin Mints, perhaps the most iconic cookie in this pantheon, have gone through a number of name changes over the years according to Time magazine, including Cooky-Mints, Chocolate Mints and Cookie Mints. But since its debut in 1939, the idea has remained the same: Chocolate and mint taste great together. Naturally, this cookie is a winner.
S'more, short for "some more," sure is a funny little name for a snack. But if anyone has earned the right to make some money off it, it's the Girl Scouts — a recipe for s'mores was included in the 1927 scouting manual "Tramping and Trailing With the Girl Scouts" alongside classic dishes like "Spotted Dog" and "Ring Tum Tiddy."
These crispy lemon-flavored cookies are imprinted with "inspiring messages," according to the packaging; in honor of my new quarantine gut, I ate the one that said "I AM GUTSY." The cookie is light and vaguely citrusy, avoiding falling into Lysol territory, a pitfall that sometimes befalls lemon-flavored things.
This is something of a flagship cookie, the standard-bearer on which the Girl Scout logo is emblazoned. It's also the one cookie where the difference between ABC and Little Brownie bakeries is fairly pronounced. The Shortbread cookie is noticeably superior to the Trefoil — crispy and light, not exactly buttery but milky, and with a slight saltiness to contrast with the sugar.
This cookie from ABC Bakers is by far the inferior S'more. The first ingredient in the other cookie is graham flour. The first ingredient in this one is sugar, and the difference shows. This one is too sweet, and lacks the nutty graham flavor of its cousin.
This cookie, designed to look like a cross-section of a lemon, didn't deliver. The lesser of the two lemon-themed cookies, this barely smacks of citrus and tastes an awful lot like the sweet, vanilla-heavy Trefoils. There's a layer of frosting on the bottom that gives a slight lemony sweetness but there's little tartness or tanginess, and not much flavor, either.
This wasn't what I was hoping for. In my mind, this would be some sort of cookie version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch — light and airy with a sugary, spicy sweetness. Instead it's like a tile from the bathroom counter, a stiff slab that smells like syrup. This cookie actually improves with freezing, however — the coating of icing hardens and turns this into a maple-y lollipop.
In my attempt to have a more positive attitude in 2021 — a resolution I tried, and failed, to adopt in 2020 — I'm going to start with what's good about this: This is the only cookie that really embraces salt. The addition of sea salt adds a good counterbalance to this gluten-free cookie's sweetness.
I was trying to figure out a way to serve up a hot take and pronounce that this was not the best Girl Scout cookie, but I would have been kidding myself and doing you a disservice. This is, simply, a stellar cookie, and superior to the others if only because there are so many different things going on.
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