Why the Girl Scouts can kiss my ass

In case you’ve never spent more than 30 seconds with me, I love sweets. I love junk food. I love dessert. I rationalize this bad habit of mine by trying to eat real sweets. Instead of Chips Ahoy, I’ll make cookies. Instead of some slow-churned low-fat ice cream, I like the basic Breyers’ flavors because the ingredients are actual foods instead of, say, acesulfame potassium and cellulose gum (actual ingredients in the Edy’s Slow Churned).  I’m not saying the sweets I’m eating are nutritious, because they’re not, but I’d rather have some fat than a little less fat and a million chemicals.

This is a problem when Girl Scout cookie time rolls around. Have you ever read the ingredients on them? It’s not pretty.

Mmmm, partially hydrogenated oils. Just like Grandma used to make!

In different parts of the country they’re not called Do-si-dos but Peanut Butter Sandwiches and they also have three different kinds of high fructose corn syrup.

But there’s good news! Back to Nature, a food company based in Wisconsin that uses pretty sustainable packaging and works with lots of environmental charities, make cookies that are JUST LIKE Girl Scout cookies, but better. You can find them at Whole Foods, but I also saw a pretty big selection in the organic section at Stop & Shop.

For example, their peanut butter cookies are a total (and welcome) rip-off of Girl Scout Do-si-dos with no hydrogenated oil.

Even as “natural cookies” go, these could be healthier. They have enriched flour which isn’t the best and they’re a little fattening, but they make up for it when you dip them in milk. Wow.

I haven’t tried all of Back to Nature’s products, but I’ve tasted a lot of them and been very happy. Their Fudge Mint Cookies (Girl Scout Thin Mints) are amazing, especially if you put them in the fridge.

Happy fattening (but not toxic) snacking!

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Chocolate chip bars, where have you been all my life?

At an after school meeting I helped myself to two chocolate chip squares prepared by the Home and Careers teacher. That night I emailed her demanding (delicately requesting) the recipe and on Friday it arrived on my desk. Three batches later I am HOOKED. It’s like a blondie with chocolate chips and it’s chewy and salty and practically perfect. Make them immediately.

Ingredients:

1 stick of salted butter (softened)

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 egg

1 1/4 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

6 ounces of chocolate chips

1/2 cup of chopped nuts (if you want)

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease an 8×8 pan.

The butter needs to be softened so ideally you would have left it on the counter for a day. If you didn’t, cut it into thirds and microwave for ten-second increments until it’s soft. While some of it may melt, you do NOT want a stick of melted butter. That would be bad.

Combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and beat for a minute until the ingredients are combined and the dough is fluffy.

Add one egg and the teaspoon of vanilla and beat on low speed to combine.

In thirds, add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Wait for each third to incorporate before adding the next.

With a large spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips (I only had chunks in the house).  Spread the dough into the pan and sprinkle on a few more chips. Bake for 14-18 minutes. It should be lightly browned and  a toothpick tester should come out clean.

I should have added more chips on top to this one. Let it cool for 20-30 minutes and then cut into squares. Get ready to have a lot more friends after you make these.