When the Girl Guides of Canada come a-knockin’, the gut reaction for many Canadians is to pull out their wallet and loosen their belts. Few Canucks can resist a box (or two) of Girl Guide cookies, famed for their chocolate and vanilla icing, squeezed between crunchy cookie layers.
But did you know that the now famous cookies were invented on the Canadian Prairies? It started in 1927, when one Girl Guide leader in Regina, Saskatchewan baked and packaged batches of cookies for her troupe to sell, hoping to raise funds for uniforms and camping equipment. Little did she know that her tasty treats would kick off a feeding frenzy spanning close to a century! Seeing the sales of the Regina troupe, Girl Guides of Canada joined the party in 1929, making cookie sales the official fundraising activity for the organization.
However, the types of treats have evolved throughout the decades, starting with vanilla crème, maple cream and shortbread cookies in 1946. It wasn’t until 1953 that the classic chocolate and vanilla-flavoured sandwich cookies first made a cameo on the sweets scene. Finally, in 1995, a new kid on the block was born: crunchy, chocolatey cookies with a cool mint filling. But one thing hasn’t changed; the cookie craze across Canada continues almost 100 years later, with over 2.3 million boxes of cookies sold in Ontario alone, just in 2014 and 2015. If the boxes were laid down on a road, it would reach from Windsor to Timmins. That’s a lot of cookie love!
Ever since Girl Guides started selling door-to-door, Girl Guide cookies have become one of Canada’s best-loved food traditions — one that’s held a special place in Canada’s culinary history. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, every Canadian soldier was given a box of cookies upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, and there are photographs of Canadian astronaut (and former Girl Guide) Roberta Bondar juggling vanilla and chocolate cookies in space.
Nowadays, you can do more than gobble biscuits by the box, as Canadians are taking their love of Girl Guide cookies to the next level. There are a gazillion and one ways to make these cookies crumble in your home kitchen.
Try making this decadent No Bake Chai Cheesecake developed by Bal Arneson, host of the Food Network Canada’s Spice Goddess, using a dozen chocolate and vanilla cookies. On chilly days, warm up with a steaming mug of Minty Hot Chocolate paired with a moist slice of Chocolate Vanilla Coffee Cake, both made with GGC cookies. Got a bake sale coming up? Bake a batch of these decadent Girl Guide Brownie Cupcakes and watch ‘em disappear in seconds!
The best part? Snacking on these crunchy and creamy cookies benefits more than your belly. The dough (no pun intended) goes towards supporting Girl Guides of Canada’s programming, which provides opportunities for girls to discover, explore, be adventurous and make a difference, while building the leadership and life skills.