For years the only way to get your hands on authentic Girl Scouts Cookies was to find a troop perched outside a mall, or hope they came knocking at your door. But that’s all about to change now that the Scouts have licensed their brand, and addictive cookies, to a tiny oven that lets you bake your own.
Thanks to the shrewd negotiators at Wicked Cool Toys, now anyone (although probably mostly kids) can bake up their favorite Girl Scouts treat in a miniature appliance that’s reminiscent of Hasbro’s iconic Easy-Bake oven. And not just the Scouts’ addictive Thin Mints, either. Do-it-yourself mixes are available for Peanut Butter Sandwich, Caramel Coconut, Lemon, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Trefoils, and Oatmeal too.
However, you’ll need to keep reminding yourself that the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven is a toy, designed for kids with well-fuelled imaginations. Because if you have dreams of churning out an endless supply of Girl Scouts Cookies on your drive to work, or toppling the Scouts’ vast cookie empire, you’re going to be a little disappointed.
What Is It?
It’s a tiny toy oven designed to work with a collection of Girl Scouts-approved cookie mixes that let anyone—be they a member of a troop or not—whip up a batch of those famous treats. It works exactly like the toy ovens that kids have been playing with for decades, but with improved and safer electronics on the inside so there’s no risk of kids getting burned or hurt while they’re baking.
Plastic, plastic, plastic is the name of the game here. Is it really a surprise that you won’t find a lick of stainless steel on a $60 toy appliance? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven feels cheap.
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The plastic used for the oven’s housing actually feels satisfyingly thick and durable, and the appliance has some good heft to it. Were it to be accidentally knocked off a table, the fall might damage the oven’s internal mechanisms, but the rest of it would easily survive with just a scratch or two. And isn’t that exactly what you want in a toy designed for eight-year-olds?
The oven also features the highly recognizable bright shade of green you’ll find on the Girl Scouts’ official uniforms, and on their cookie boxes. But the addition of purple and pink accents makes the oven feel targeted a little more towards girls than it really needs to be. The last time we checked boys also loved cookies, and there’s no reason they can’t be encouraged to dabble in baking at a young age too. So a more neutral color scheme might have resulted in more boys feeling comfortable about putting the cookie oven on their Christmas wish lists.
The simplicity of operating the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven is where this toy really shines. The process is not unlike baking cookies destined for a real oven, it’s just been streamlined to the point where it’s completely foolproof. As long as you follow the directions, it’s almost impossible to ruin a batch of cookies, which should help build a kid’s confidence when it comes to helping out in the kitchen. It might even put them on the path to becoming a great pastry chef one day.
You’ll just want to make sure that you’ve set aside a solid morning or afternoon for your kids to play with the oven, and that they have some way to kill time in-between steps so they don’t lose interest—because they’re going to spend quite a bit of time waiting.
The actual baking process differs slightly depending on the type of Girl Scouts cookies you’re making, but follow along as we tried our hand at a batch of the classic Thin Mints.
The first step has you simply turning the oven on using a plastic dial on the front, as it requires about five minutes to thoroughly pre-heat.
The oven’s heating element and baking area is illuminated with an LED on the inside so that you know when it’s on and warm, but also so you can keep an eye on your treats while they bake. However, the LEDs could certainly be a bit brighter because it’s almost impossible to see all the way inside the oven while they’re on.
While you’re waiting for the oven to pre-heat, you can actually get started on prepping the ingredients and tools. An included baking pan, which feels like it’s made from really, really thick aluminum foil, first needs to be blasted with a non-stick cooking spray like Pam—and this is a step you definitely do not want to skip. It’s also important to note that in-between every batch of cookies you’ll need to wash this pan by hand, as it won’t survive a trip through a dishwasher.
Moving on to the ingredients, the different varieties of Girl Scouts cookies come in pre-packaged powdered mixes that can simply be dumped into a bowl with a little bit of water. But the amount of water you use is crucial to how well your treats will turn out.
So to ensure you’re using the exact amount, the oven includes a syringe instead of a measuring cup, so you can precisely suck up as much water as the instructions calls for. For the Thin Mints we needed just nine ml of H2O.
The syringe does make it easier to measure out exactly how much water is needed (I actually wouldn’t mind a larger version for my kitchen) but you should strongly caution kids against blasting it into a bowl full of dry powder mix because everything is going to go everywhere. The instructions did not mention this, by the way, it was learned the hard way.
Once the water and powdered mix has been thoroughly combined, you’ll end up with something that looks more like brownie batter than cookie dough.
Your bowl of cookie batter is then carefully spooned out onto the baking tray you greased earlier. Prepping the cookie mix took about ten minutes, which means that by the time you’re done the oven should be properly pre-heated. But you’ll still want to keep an eye on the clock, or keep a timer handy to make sure it’s been five minutes, because the oven doesn’t have one built-in. (Elapsed time: ~10 minutes.)
The next step is to slide your tiny baking sheet into the open end of the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven as far as it will go in, but it will still end up sticking out a bit.
In order to get your tray of cookies all the way into the oven’s baking chamber, you’ll need to slide this handle mechanism all the way over to the right which moves the tray into position.
As mentioned before, the tiny window on the front of the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven does let you peek inside to keep an eye on your treats as they bake, but the dim LED lighting means you can really only make out one or two cookies in there. So you’ll need to reach for that timer once again to make sure they spend about nine minutes in the heat. (Elapsed time: ~19 minutes.)
For safety reasons, when the cookies are done baking you then slide the tray back towards the left, but not all the way out of the oven. An arrow indicates where to position the handle so that the freshly baked treats can spend ten minutes inside the oven’s cooling chamber before they’re handled. So grab that timer again, grab a magazine, and sit back for another ten minutes of waiting. (Elapsed time: ~29 minutes.)
Once the cookies have cooled you can then slide the tray the rest of the way out of the oven, but it’s still going to be warm to the touch. It’s recommended that kids use the oven’s other included tool, a bright pink spatula with a gripper on the end of the handle, to remove the tray completely. But an oven mitt works just as well.
The freshly baked cookies are then transferred to a wax paper-covered plate using the pink spatula. And it’s this step that really drives home the need for hitting the baking sheet with a good coating of non-stick cooking spray at the start. If you don’t, the cookies will be a nightmare to remove since the included baking tray definitely isn’t made of a non-stick material.
The Thin Mints recipe we were following also required us to prepare a chocolate topping for the cookies which were spending an additional five minutes in the fridge to further cool. Preparing the topping simply required you to dump a small pouch of chocolate chips onto the metal baking tray, and then placing it onto a warming station atop the oven.
That was the easy part. The hard part was then waiting until all the chocolate chips melted. For safety’s sake, the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven doesn’t get anywhere near hot to the touch on the outside. And while the warming station is less insulated to allow heat to escape, it still took about 25 minutes for the chocolate chips to get even close to melted.
As an adult with plenty of work to do, the wait wasn’t terribly difficult. But for kids desperate to wolf down a batch of cookies, you’re going to need to find some way to keep them interested while they wait for a bunch of chocolate chips to melt. The next time around, we’ll probably just toss them in the microwave for 30 seconds. (Elapsed time: ~54 minutes.)
Once the chocolate chips are melted, you can then cover your Thin Mints cookies, let them cool for a few more minutes, and dig in. (Elapsed time: ~60 minutes.)
Can you tell which are the authentic factory-made Thin Mints cookies and which came from a toy oven? With a little more patience you could certainly completely cover the cookies you made with the chocolate topping, so they look more like the real thing. But after almost an hour of prep and ‘baking’ we decided to let aesthetics slide and just slap some chocolate on top.
Is anyone going to mistake your home-made Thin Mints for the real thing? Absolutely not. They’re going to look like they were made by an eight-year-old, not a trained pastry chef. And the mix we used only yielded about five quarter-sized cookies. So you’re not going to fool anyone.
As far as taste goes, the cookies had a consistency that was closer to a spongey brownie than a cookie, but definitely had a decent mint and chocolate flavor. As a snack they didn’t disappoint, but they also didn’t come anywhere close to the joy (and shame) of downing an entire box of Thin Mints.
A toy oven that can be used to bake actual edible versions of the Girl Scouts’ famous cookies? What isn’t there to like about that? Play-Doh can churn out as many pretend food sets as they want, but there isn’t a kid alive who wouldn’t rather spend their time making real cookies than plasticine ones.
Using the oven, and the various cookies mixes, is also incredibly easy. As long as a kid is willing to closely follow the steps in the recipe/instruction manual, their adventure in baking is going to be a success.
It might be branded as a Girl Scouts Cookie Oven, but the treats it bakes up will never be mistaken for the real deal. A decent imagination will go a long way to helping kids overcome that, but as long as the oven keeps churning out sugar-filled sweets, few eight-year-olds are going to care about authenticity.
What they might care about, though, is how long it takes to make a handful of cookies. A full hour for a batch of five, quarter-sized cookies is a big time commitment for not a lot of payoff. Kids are also easily distractible, so parents might have a hard time convincing them to see a recipe all the way through if they’re being required to wait five to ten minutes between steps. To a child, that is like an eternity.
Should You Buy It
If the image of Homer Simpson baking treats in the front seat of his car on the drive home from the toy store is the first thing that popped into your mind after seeing the Girl Scouts Cookie Oven, we’ve got some bad news for you: that dream isn’t going to happen.
And if you’ve ever dropped a small fortune on a few boxes of Girls Scouts cookies and wondered how you could get in on that racket, unfortunately the Girls Scouts Cookie Oven isn’t going to be your golden gateway to riches.
It’s first and foremost a toy, and comes with all the limitations that you’d expect a $60 plastic oven to come with. But to a kid with dreams of becoming a chef one day, it could very well be an important first step towards a promising career.
The straightforward recipes are all pretty much a mix and stir affair when it comes to building kitchen skills. Which also means that kids won’t really learn anything about ingredients, ratios, or cooking times and temperatures. But it’s easy to use, and as kids bake up batch after batch of cookies, they’ll build confidence that might eventually push them into the kitchen to experiment more. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll even come up with a cookie more delicious than Thin Mints.