From left,  Christina Hart, owner of Foodology Cooking School in Plantsville, and Girl Scouts Claire, 10, and Aibhlinn, 9, both of Meriden, get ready to taste test varieties of Girl Scout cookies Monday at the Record-Journal office in Meriden. Photos by Dave Zajac, Record-Journal

Girl Scout Cookie tasting with Meriden Girl Scouts, local professional baker

Girl Scout Cookie tasting with Meriden Girl Scouts, local professional baker

Girl Scout Cookie tasting with Meriden Girl Scouts, local professional baker

reporter photo

MERIDEN — It’s that time of year again — time to place your order for Girl Scout cookies. 

You may have already seen a booth or order form floating around. Local scouts started taking orders in January and plan to run booths outside local stores through the end of the month. 

Meriden troops started selling outside of Stop & Shop stores earlier this month, however, as of Wednesdaythey will are no longer be able to set up there. 

Meriden Troop Leader and Service Unit Manager Leigh Neumon said Stop & Shop made the decision to suspend cookie-selling booths statewide due to COVID-19 concerns. 

“The situation is unprecedented,” she said. 

Neumon said some troop leaders have begun asking other businesses to allow the booths. As of Friday, booths outside Boscov's were proceeding as planned.

A Stop & Shop representative said that “out of an abundance of caution for our customers and to help prevent the spread of germs, Stop & Shop has canceled all community group solicitation at its stores across the Northeast until further notice.” 

Girl Scout booth locations changes can be found online, on the girl scout national website

Cookies can also be purchased online, through the Girl Scout Digital Cookie platform. To buy from a specific troop, you need a special code from the girl scout.

Cookie Tasting

Earlier this week, we asked two girl scouts from Meriden troops — Claire and Aibhlinn— to visit our office and let us know which cookies are the best.

Trying some of the cookies for the first time with them was local chef and baker Christina Hart, owner of Foodology Cooking School in Plantsville. Hart also shared some ideas on how to use the cookies to create new treats. 

The three taste-tested the new Lemon-ups, the crowd favorite Samoas, and the Girl Scout S’mores. 

Aibhlinn liked the Lemon-ups and usually goes for the peanut butter Do-si-dos or chocolate minty Thin Mints. 

For Claire and Hart, the Samoas came out on top. 

“So as a chef, there are so many things you can do with girl scout cookies besides just eat them, even though that's delicious,” Hart said.

Her suggestions included crushing up the Lemon-ups and using them as a crumb base for a lemon bar or cheesecake, or making peanut butter balls with the Tagalongs.

She said Thin Mints could be used as a substitute for Oreos in Oreo truffles, or crushed up and added to frosting for a cake filling.

New cookie

This year you’ll see a new cookie in the lineup: Lemon-ups, which replaced Savannah Smiles. 

Compared to the small, powdery Savannah Smiles, the Lemon-ups are larger and round, with a lemon glaze. 

The cookies also include unique inspirational messages like “I am a leader” and “I am a go-getter.” 

The other cookie flavors are: a gluten-free Toffee-tastic and Trefoils. 

Supporting the girls

Selling girl scout cookies is more than fundraising. It also teaches “essential life skills” like money management, goal setting, decision making, people skills and business ethics. 

“It definitely gives them confidence, I think to talk to people, to ask for a sale, and to know to work to a goal,” said Meriden troop leader Siobhan McLaughlin. 

Neumon said all the proceeds from cookie sales go to improve the scouting experience. 

“Everything goes right back to the girls— programs, badges, rewards, supplies,” she said. 

bwright@record-journal.com203-317-2316Twitter: @baileyfaywright