Chloe Effron for mental_floss
Chloe Effron for mental_floss

Do You Remember These 15 Discontinued Girl Scout Cookies?

Chloe Effron for mental_floss
Chloe Effron for mental_floss

It’s been over 100 years since the Girl Scouts sold their first cookies—which the troopers and their moms made from scratch in their kitchens and wrapped in wax paper—for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. And since then, the Girl Scouts have built a veritable cookie empire, populated with an assortment of delectable cookie varieties. Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos (to name a few) are a far cry from the simple vanilla shortbread cookies sold in the 1920s.

Unfortunately for some cookies, in with the new means out with the old. Through the years, we've also had to bid adieu to a long line of good cookies, including the Dulce de Leche and Thank You Berry Munch. Here are 15 Girl Scout Cookie varieties that live on only in our memories (and dreams—I’m lookin’ at you, Juliettes).

1. VAN'CHOS

Available from 1974 to 1983, these chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies—which came in an assorted box—were a throwback to Girl Scout Cookies’ early flavors. In the 1950s, only four types of cookies existed: the original shortbread, chocolate-filled cookie, vanilla-filled cookie, and the first iteration of the Thin Mint (then called Chocolate Mint).

2. KOOKABURRAS

Like the lovechild of a Rice Krispies treat and a Twix bar, the Kookaburras, fleetingly available in the early ‘80s, sounded like heaven. Rectangular cookies with crispy rice, caramel, and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do. One nostalgia-plagued baker concocted her own recipe for these delightful morsels.

3. GOLDEN YANGLES

Not really cookies at all, Golden Yangles (available in the 1980s and discontinued in 1992*) were cheddar cheese crackers. What can I say, the ‘80s were a weird time.

4. PRALINE ROYALES

In 1992, the Praline Royale—a soft vanilla cookie with praline filling, pecans, coconut, and chocolate drizzled on top—replaced the Golden Yangle. The packaging for both the Praline Royal and the Golden Yangle touted “Building Bridges: One of many Girl Scout experiences that helps girls create their own futures.”

5. GOLDEN NUT CLUSTERS

From 1991 to 1992, the Golden Nut Cluster—a pecan cookie covered in caramel—was found amongst the Girl Scout Cookies’ ranks.

6. JULIETTES

Named after Girl Scouts founder Juliette Low, the Juliette (available from 1984 to1985 and then resurrected from 1993 to 1996) was the Golden Nut Cluster 2.0. Also boasting caramel and pecans, this dreamy cookie was also covered in milk chocolate—like the Girl Scouts’ version of a chocolate turtle.

7. SNAPS

Available from 1993 to 1997, these iced oatmeal raisin cookies seemed straight from Grandma’s kitchen.

8. UPSIDE DOWNS

In 1999, the Girl Scouts took on Little Debbie with an oatmeal cookie sandwich of their own. But, unlike Little Debbie’s soft Oatmeal Creme Pies, Upside Downs were crunchy.

9. LE CHIPS

In the late ‘90s, the Girl Scouts introduced Le Chip, a chocolate-dipped, chocolate chip hazelnut cookie. Debuting before America got on the Nutella bandwagon, these cookies were short-lived.

10. ALOHA CHIPS

Around for a short time in the early 2000s, they were the gussied up version of everyone’s least favorite cafeteria cookie: white chocolate macadamia nut.

11. APPLE CINNAMONS

Available from 1997 to 2001, Apple Cinnamons were sugar cookies dusted with cinnamon sugar. The apple part? Their shape. In keeping with the diet trend du jour, they were reduced fat.

12. OLÉ OLÉS

Another reduced fat cookie from the early aughts, Olé Olés were powdered sugar cookies with pecans and coconut and were available from 2001 to 2003.

13. CINNA-SPINS

Hopping on the latest fitness fad, these crispy, cinnamon swirl cookies were sold in 100-calorie packs in 2008.

14. LEMON CHALET CREMES

The defining characteristic of these lemon sandwich cookies (with a touch of cinnamon-ginger) was the image of a Swiss Chalet imprinted on the front. The Chalet, which exists in real life, is the first World Center of WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

15. MANGO CREMES

These “healthy” treats debuted in 2013. The crispy vanilla and coconut sandwich cookie was filled with “a tangy mango flavored crème enhanced with the nutrients found in fruits.” Made by a company called Nutrifusion, the filling was made from rehydrated apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranate, limes, strawberries, and—wait for it—shiitake mushrooms (for Vitamin D).

Illustrations by Chloe Effron for mental_floss.

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Big Questions
Why Does Asparagus Make Your Pee Smell Funny?
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The asparagus has a long and storied history. It was mentioned in the myths and the scholarly writings of ancient Greece, and its cultivation was the subject of a detailed lesson in Cato the Elder's treatise, On Agriculture. But it wasn't until the turn of the 18th century that discussion of the link between asparagus and odorous urine emerged. In 1731, John Arbuthnot, physician to Queen Anne, noted in a book about food that asparagus "affects the urine with a foetid smell ... and therefore have been suspected by some physicians as not friendly to the kidneys." Benjamin Franklin also noticed that eating asparagus "shall give our urine a disagreeable odor."

Since then, there has been debate over what is responsible for the stinky pee phenomenon. Polish chemist and doctor Marceli Nencki identified a compound called methanethiol as the cause in 1891, after a study that involved four men eating about three and a half pounds of asparagus apiece. In 1975, Robert H. White, a chemist at the University of California at San Diego, used gas chromatography to pin down several compounds known as S-methyl thioesters as the culprits. Other researchers have blamed various "sulfur-containing compounds" and, simply, "metabolites."

More recently, a study demonstrated that asparagusic acid taken orally by subjects known to produce stinky asparagus pee produced odorous urine, which contained the same volatile compounds found in their asparagus-induced odorous urine. Other subjects, who normally didn't experience asparagus-induced odorous urine, likewise were spared stinky pee after taking asparagusic acid.

The researchers concluded that asparagusic acid and its derivatives are the precursors of urinary odor (compared, in different scientific papers, to the smell of "rotten cabbage," "boiling cabbage" and "vegetable soup"). The various compounds that contribute to the distinct smell—and were sometimes blamed as the sole cause in the past—are metabolized from asparagusic acid.

Exactly how these compounds are produced as we digest asparagus remains unclear, so let's turn to an equally compelling, but more answerable question:

WHY DOESN'T ASPARAGUS MAKE YOUR PEE SMELL FUNNY?

Remember when I said that some people don't produce stinky asparagus pee? Several studies have shown that only some of us experience stinky pee (ranging from 20 to 40 percent of the subjects taking part in the study, depending on which paper you read), while the majority have never had the pleasure.

For a while, the world was divided into those whose pee stank after eating asparagus and those whose didn't. Then in 1980, a study complicated matters: Subjects whose pee stank sniffed the urine of subjects whose pee didn't. Guess what? The pee stank. It turns out we're not only divided by the ability to produce odorous asparagus pee, but the ability to smell it.

An anosmia—an inability to perceive a smell—keeps certain people from smelling the compounds that make up even the most offensive asparagus pee, and like the stinky pee non-producers, they're in the majority.

Producing and perceiving asparagus pee don't go hand-in-hand, either. The 1980 study found that some people who don't produce stinky pee could detect the rotten cabbage smell in another person's urine. On the flip side, some stink producers aren't able to pick up the scent in their own urine or the urine of others.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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15 Rich Facts About Fudge
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You probably know the basics about this decadent dessert: It's rich, it's creamy, and it comes in a variety of mouth-watering flavors. (Red velvet cake batter fudge? Yes please!) But there is plenty more fun trivia to digest. In honor of National Fudge Day, we’re serving up the sweetest morsels.

1. WHEN THE DESSERT WAS INVENTED, IT CHANGED THE PREVIOUS MEANING OF FUDGE.

In the late 17th century, fudge was a verb meaning "to fit together or adjust [clumsily]." Then around 1800, the word was used to mean a hoax or cheat. By mid-century, the use of the term “Oh, fudge!” as a kid-friendly expletive had come into favor, and was often used when something had been messed up. It’s believed that the first batch of fudge was created when someone was trying to make caramels and “fudged” up. The name stuck.

2. IT HAS STRONG TIES TO BALTIMORE.

The earliest origin story for fudge dates back to 1921, when Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a former Vassar student, wrote a letter describing her introduction to the treat. She claims that while attending classes in 1886, a classmate's cousin living in Baltimore made the dessert, and this was her first knowledge of it. She also mentions a grocery store, probably in Baltimore, that sold fudge for 40 cents a pound.

3. THE TREAT BECAME WILDLY POPULAR AT VASSAR.

Two years after discovering fudge, Battersby Hartridge got ahold of the recipe and made 30 pounds of it for the Vassar Senior Auction. In Vassar, The Alumnae/i Quarterly, they claim the sweet became so favored that “students would make it in the middle of the night, dangerously diverting the gas from their lamps for the task.”

4. STILL, IT TOOK A WHILE FOR COMPANIES TO MASS-PRODUCE IT.

Skuse’s Complete Confectioner was known as a guide for all things dessert—but the first editions of the book, printed in the late 1800s, didn’t include any recipes for fudge. In later editions, they made up for lost time, including recipes for rainbow fudge (food colorings), Mexican fudge (raisins, nuts, and coconut), maple fudge, and three types of chocolate fudge.

5. AMERICANS MAY HAVE STOLEN THE CONCEPT FROM THE SCOTS.

Fudge is thought to be a descendent of tablet—a medium-hard confection from Scotland. The two treats use similar ingredients, but fudge is richer, softer, and slightly less grainy than its European cousin.

6. THERE'S A WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST SLAB.

The 5760-pound behemoth was crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. It reportedly took a full week to make, and while ingredients aren't available for this record, the previous record holder contained 705 pounds of butter, 2800 pounds of chocolate, and 305 gallons of condensed milk.

7. MAKING FUDGE TAKES SOME SCIENCE.

Early fudge recipes were prone to disaster, with one 1902 magazine explaining "fudge is one of the most difficult confections to make properly." With candy thermometers not becoming commonplace for several years, most recipes required boiling and hoping for the best. Eventually more foolproof recipes were created that included corn syrup (which helps prevent the crystallization that can result in a gritty texture) and condensed milk or marshmallow crème.

8. IT'S NOT ALL THAT DIFFERENT THAN FONDANT.

Fudge is actually a drier version of fondant—not the stiff, malleable kind so often seen on cake decorating shows, but the kind found in candies like peppermint patties and cherry cordials. 

9. A TINY ISLAND IN MICHIGAN CONSIDERS ITSELF THE FUDGE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

There are upwards of a dozen fudge shops on 4.35-square mile Mackinac Island in northern Michigan. (Permanent population on the tourist destination: just shy of 500, per the 2010 census.) The oldest candy shop on the island, Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, opened in 1887, while May's Candy claims to be the oldest fudge shop.

10. MACKINAC ISLAND CRANKS OUT OVER 10,000 POUNDS OF FUDGE DAILY DURING PEAK SEASON.

For production, fudge makers ship in about 10 tons of sugar each week and roughly 10 tons of butter each year. Every August, the island hosts the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, complete with events like Fudge on the Rocks, where local bartenders craft fudge-y libations.

11. FIRST LADY MAMIE EISENHOWER WAS A HUGE FUDGE FAN.

She even crafted her own recipe—named Mamie’s Million-Dollar Fudge—which her husband, Ike, quite liked. It included chopped nuts and marshmallow crème.

12. THE HOT FUDGE SUNDAE WAS CREATED IN HOLLYWOOD.

C.C. Brown’s, an iconic ice cream parlor on Hollywood Boulevard, was credited for dreaming up the idea to drizzle melted fudge over ice cream in 1906 (earlier sundaes had other syrups, like cherry). Sadly, the shop closed in 1996, but the treat remains popular.

13. THE BRITS HAD A SWEET NAME FOR FUDGE.

A description of fudge, found in the 1920 tome Harmsworth’s Household Encyclopedia, read, “A sweetmeat that hails from America, but is now popular in other countries.” (To be fair, in the UK the term "sweetmeat” is applied to a variety of sweet treats.)

14. AT ONE POINT, YOU COULD BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF FUDGE.

Harry Ryba, known as the fudge king of Mackinac Island, once offered to mail out a lifetime supply of the candy—three pounds a month—to any customer willing to pay $2250 upfront. “A lifetime, being yours or mine, whichever ends sooner,” he said, per The New York Times. Not a bad deal, considering he passed away at age 88.

15. FUDGE CAN KEEP FOR A LONG TIME.

Airtight packages of the confection can be frozen and stored up to a year without losing any flavor, which means that you can feel free to give in to temptation and buy a larger chunk while on vacation this year. And about that lifetime supply…

All images via iStock.

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