Gluten-free dreams really do come true. The Girl Scouts have added a new cookie to their lineup — bite-size, certified gluten-free Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies. The good news for many parents of gluten-intolerant kids is that their Girl-Scout-badge-carrying daughters can now actually eat the cookies they sell as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which generates $700 million annually based on 200 million boxes sold.
Made with a basic gluten-free flour blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum and guar gum, the new cookies contain no artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils — unlike most of the Girl Scout cookies. However, the cookies do contain other common food allergens, like dairy, egg and corn, as well as GMOs.
The buzz on social media outlets like Facebook is that while many feel the gluten-free Girl Scout cookies are a coup for the estimated 18 million Americans with non-celiac gluten intolerance, others wonder why the 100-year-old organization didn’t jump into the billion-dollar gluten-free food industry with one of their bestselling classics, like Thin Mints or Samoas. After all, there are plenty of tasty gluten-free chocolate chip cookie options already lining supermarket shelves, including those from established brands such as Tate’s Bake Shop, Amy’s and Pamela’s.
The cookie season kicks off nationwide on February 7, but the gluten-free cookies will only be available in 20 test markets, which do not include major cities on the East and West Coasts, including New York or Los Angeles. Potential buyers can see if the new gluten-free cookies are available near them by downloading the Official Girl Scout Cookie Finder App. And for those who want to make their own gluten-free Thin Mints? Here’s my unofficial knockoff recipe.
Silvana Nardone is the author of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals.