Is there any more welcome sign of spring than seeing little green sprouts? Not the botanical kind, but girls selling boxes—and cases—of Girl Scout cookies.

Cookie booths have been sprouting up all over the county for the past few weeks, but now procrastinators can’t put off their purchases. The cookie sale ends soon.

We can thank the recent inclement weather for having a silver, or at least chocolate, lining.

“The start of the cookie program included rough weather. Some troops had to cancel activities. We are extending this year’s cookie program by one week, and it will now end on March 31,” the San Jacinto Girl Scout Council announced last week. That gives cookie lovers two more weekends to find entrepreneurial girls in front of grocery stores, movie theaters and malls, though the supplies of the most popular varieties may run low toward the end of the selling period.

The best strategy is to buy early and extra, because they freeze well, and also can be used in a variety of recipes. Using the cookies as an ingredient in other desserts has become such a selling point that the Girl Scouts hold an annual contest to find the most creative ways to Cook with Girl Scout cookies.

Surprisingly, the cookie that has launched the most desserts is not the beloved Thin Mint, but rather the coconut and chocolate round known as either the Samoa or, in our area, the Caramel deLite. (Cookies are made by two baking companies, so the names of some cookies vary by region. The Tagalong is more prosaically called a Peanut Butter Pattie in Texas, but it’s the same chocolate-covered peanut butter cookie)

Enterprising Girl Scouts have added Caramel deLites to everything from pie to a variation on coconut-buttered shrimp. For those who find the cookies a bit too sweet, adding chunks of Caramel deLites to nuts and dried fruits makes a tasty trail mix, perfect for brining along on all those outdoor activities that many Scouts develop a lifelong enthusiasm for.

Adding crushed Thin Mints to brownie batter creates a different texture but keeps the classic chocolate-mint taste that generations of Girl Scouts have parlayed into trips to summer camp, service projects and learning adventures.

While the taste of Thin Mints and Shortbreads hasn’t changed, the Girl Scouts and the cookie sale have adapted to the times. It’s no surprise that the tech-savvy Scouts have developed an app to help customers find the nearest cookie booth. The free app, Girl Scout Cookie Finder, is available for download and will even map out the available options.

The Girl Scout website, girlscouts.org, also features a cookie finder and an online ordering platform at girlscouts.org/digitalcookie. The website indicates that Scouts will be out this weekend, and many weekday afternoons, at stores in Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, Santa Fe and La Marque.

Paying for the cookies has entered the 21st century as well, with each troop having a mobile credit card reader to make the transactions easy.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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