Girl Scout cookie season begins with a new store at MOA

It's that time of year again, when hordes of eight-year-old girls--and their parents--begin pushing boxes of those strangely addictive cookies. Girl Scouts in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin officially begin their cookies sales on Saturday, but to kick off the season the Scouts will stage a grand opening of a temporary Girl Scout Store at the Mall of America tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. The opening will feature samples of the cookies, including the newest brand, a lemon cookie called Savannah Smiles, created to help celebrate the Scouts' 100th anniversary.

You may not want to negotiate masses of Girl Scouts and their families just for a free sample tonight, but the Hot Dish was fortunate enough to score a box of the new Savannahs. Are they worth ordering when the Scouts come to your door? Here's what we found.

The new cookies don't quite rise to the level of the famous Thin Mints and Samoas, but they are a worthy addition to the Girl Scout lineup. The Savannahs are small, two-bite half moons with a surprisingly toothy, almost biscotti-like, vanilla-flavored cookie, a dusting of powdered sugar, and a pronounced lemony tang. And though this may be irrelevant information when it comes to cookies, each Savannah has just one gram of fat (compared to 4.5 for each Tagalong). On the Girl Scout cookie scale, if Samoas are a 10 (in our book), we'd rate the Savannah Smiles a solid 7.5.

The new Girl Scout store at MOA will be selling the cookies, of course, though not until February 20. Until then, the store will carry general Girl Scout-branded paraphernalia and gifs, including cookie T-shirts, sweatshirts, jewelry, and stickers. If you need your cookie fix before then, you can track them down here. The store will be open through Sunday, March 11.

Or you can just wait for the Girl Scouts to find you, which is more or less inevitable: Last year, the local River Valleys council of the Scouts says it sold 5.4 million packages of cookies.

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