Girl Scout cookie season is nearly over, so many of us are stocking up like squirrels for the long, cookie-less months ahead. Reader SarcasmSiempre discovered, however, that you can buy almost the same exact cookies all year round in your local grocery stores. We did a taste test to see how they compared to the real deal.
Blast from the past is a new weekly feature at Lifehacker, in which we revive old, but still relevant, posts for your reading and hacking pleasure. This week, as the end of Girl Scout cookie season nears, we’re reminding you that you can buy these cookies all year round.
You may scoff at the idea, but the grocery store brands aren’t just generic knockoffs. In fact, they’re made by the exact same people that make the Girl Scout versions. Girl Scout cookies come from one of two bakers, depending on your location, and one of them is actually a subsidary of Keebler—yeah, that company with the elves. So, we put on our journalist hats, bought the Keebler equivalents of Thin Mints and Samoas, and put together the most important story of our careers. You know, by eating them.
Where to Buy Them
If you’re a Thin Mint fan, look for Keebler cookies called Grasshoppers, and if Samoas are your thing, pick up the Keebler Coconut Dreams. The Tagalong equivalent is called the Fudge Shoppe Peanut Butter Filled, though they’re a little bit harder to find—we checked a few grocery stores, and didn’t see them anywhere (even at the stores promised by the Keebler web site). So, your mileage could vary depending on your area, but check out the individual product pages to see what grocery stores carry each cookie in your area.
How They Stack Up
Obviously, such things are very subjective—just see the above video for our taste test slash heated cookie debate for proof of that. But, the general consensus was that despite minor differences, most of them would probably satisfy your out-of-season cravings:
- The Grasshoppers are very similar to Thin Mints, but use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate. This gives them a slightly sweeter, more chocolatey taste, but they’re pretty comparable, and would certainly keep you from going through withdrawal of the crack-like Thin Mints.
- The Coconut Dreams also use milk chocolate instead of the usual dark, though it’s a bit harder to taste the difference than it is with the Thin Mints. I did notice that there is a slight difference in texture: the Coconut Dreams are a bit crunchier, while the Samoas are a bit chewier. The caramel-to-cookie to ratio just seems a bit higher on the Samoas. That said, the two are probably the most similar cookies we found in the taste test, and most people would probably have a hard time telling them apart.
- We couldn’t try the Peanut Butter Filled cookies, but after a bit of research, it seems they’re the most distant from their Girl Scout counterparts, Tagalongs. While Tagalongs use a white cookie in the center (topped with peanut butter and chocolate), the Keebler cookie uses a chocolate cookie on the inside instead. This is likely to produce a very different tasting cookie, though they might suffice if you’re hankering for some Tagalongs in the summer.
For the most part, we all preferred the Girl Scout cookie versions to the Keebler cookies, but it’s very subjective. If you prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate, or like chocolate cookies more than vanilla, you might like the Keebler versions fine (I won’t lie, I thought the Grasshoppers gave Thin Mints a run for their money). The bottom line, though, is that the Keebler cookies will probably be a suitable replacement when cookie season is over, and at about half the price—the Keebler cookies are around $ 2 a package, as opposed to the $ 4 Girl Scout cookies (though it’s worth mentioning that that $ 4 goes to support your local Girl Scout troops). I will say, though, that the Keebler packaging is not conducive to keeping their freshness—so I’d have some zip-top bags around. Once you open that package, it’s hard to close back up.
Check out the video for our full taste test, and if you’ve tried these Keebler cookies before, let us know your thoughts in the comments.