Not long ago, I was searching through US City Directories on Ancestry.com to see if I could find my grandmother or great-grandparents. City Directories are wonderful because they provide little details that can turn a name into a person- for example, my great grandmother was listed as a dressmaker in 1897, giving me the address for where she worked. That building is still standing today! Now I know something about how she spent her time, earned her living, and even exactly where she did it. That makes my great-grandmother more than just dates on a page for me.
As I was doing my searching, I stumbled on a listing for my grandmother’s sister, Mabel Hawkins, in a 1928 directory. She was about 25 years old, her address was still the same as her parents, and her job is listed as “loc field capt Girl Scouts.” As the local field captain for the Girl Scouts in the Tacoma area of Washington State, she would have been in charge of organizing the many troops of girls getting badges and selling cookies.
I did a little googling to see what being part of the Girl Scouts in 1928 would have meant. I discovered that troops began selling cookies to raise money around 1917. It wasn’t until 1936 that a few bakeries started baking “official” Girl Scout Cookies. Before then, troops would bake the cookies themselves. And in 1922, an official recipe was released for a sugar cookie style recipe. Troops would bake these cookies and sell them for about 25 cents per dozen.
The recipe is available on the Girl Scouts website and obviously, I had to make the recipe. So I gathered up the ingredients and got ready to go.
That very day, I was sorting through a box of my father’s family memorabilia, when a picture caught my eye that I hadn’t noticed before. When I turned it over, I discovered it was a picture of my Great Aunt Mabel, in her Girl Scout uniform, as director of the Horsehead Bay Girl Scout Troop. It was a wonderful picture with even more wonderful timing. I couldn’t believe that the picture appeared on the day I was going to bake the cookies. It gave me shivers. And it made the cookies taste even better.
If you would like to make the cookies, here is the recipe. The ingredients are all common pantry items. I halved it, since the original is designed to make 60 to 70 cookies. I assume the halved recipe would make about 30 cookies, but I can’t tell you for sure, since I ate a lot of the dough before I could get them in the oven. It is really tasty!
I used a whisk as my only tool, combining each ingredient into the mix one at a time. Make sure the butter is softened before you start. And happy scouting!
An Early Girl Scout Cookie Recipe (halved)
- 1/2 cup butter [softened]
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
“Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.” From Girl Scouts Website.