Earlier this year it was announced that Nestlé would be teaming up with the Girl Scouts of the USA for a line of co-branded candy bars based on popular Girl Scouts cookies.  Back in May, the first run of these limited-edition treats were made available online through Nestlé’s Facebook page.  As of June 1, the bars are now available in stores through September.

The candymaker has made these bars available in 3 flavors; Caramel & Coconut (otherwise known as Samoas or Caramel deLites), Peanut Butter Créme (aka Peanut Butter Sandwiches or Do-si-dos) and Thin Mints and is manufacturing them under a national license from the Girl Scouts.  At a premium of $1.49 from my local Duane Reade drugstore, I figured these had to be good and so I picked up one of each flavor.  One side note, however, is that these are not traditional Nestlé Crunch bars, but are in fact wafer bars with the signature crispies on top.  The Crunch line has recently expanded to include variations on the theme, as in the Nestlé Crunch Crisp bars.

I started with the Caramel & Coconut bars.  Now each package comes with two mini-bars inside, and the first thing that struck me about these bars was the drizzle of caramel coloring on top, just like the cookies they are made after.

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On the first bite, the flavor was immediately evocative of the cookie itself, but frighteningly so because of the absence of one major factor!  Usually my complaint with most coconut products is the presence of coconut pieces in your mouth for what seems like hours after you’re finished eating.  This was not the case here with the candy bars which automatically made me fearful that like the Coconut M&Ms, that maybe there is no actual coconut in the bar itself.  A quick scan of the packaging revealed not only toasted coconut in the ingredients, but also hydrogenated coconut oil.

All in all, this was a very faithful recreation of the cookie itself.  It has the added bonus of the Nestlé Crunch crispies inside which do not detract from the experience of the candy bar itself.  Of all the flavors, this is probably the most faithful recreation in the bunch.

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Next up was the Peanut Butter Créme bars.  For whatever reason, these were a little melty when I got them, but mercifully not enough to mess with the ingredient balance.  The problem with these bars is that they are not as immediately evocative of the cookie as the Caramel & Coconut bars were.  This is partially because Nestlé has already released a Peanut Butter Crunch bar in the past, so it’s a bit harder to distinguish this from that entry.  One thing that was clear off the bat was the flavor of the peanut butter itself.  Not the same as the Reese’s peanut butter (by Hershey), this peanut butter tasted a lot closer to the variety used in the actual Girl Scout cookies.  And as you approached the aftertaste, there was a hint of cookie flavoring from the Do-si-dos inside.  This flavor didn’t leap out as much, though, which may have been for the best.  Too many overriding flavors may have done this bar in.  While it doesn’t stand out as much from previous Nestlé offerings, it is still a very tasty bar nonetheless and I do recommend it highly.

Finally I finished with the Thin Mints (after all, shouldn’t you cap every meal with a mint?)  The bars have a darker chocolate shell, just like the cookies.  Once again, the flavor of the cookie leaps right out at you at the first bite, but this time it is undercut by a rather strong chemical aftertaste.  As aftertastes go, this one is not subtle by any stretch and has a tendency to make this the most unpleasant experience of the three bars issued.

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That said, it is otherwise a careful recreation of the experience of eating the cookies.  The inside is filled with chocolate cookie and mint flavoring, and the bar itself is topped with crispies for the Crunch experience.  Bottom line, this bar is not terrible, but it might have used more work in the developmental stage to get rid of that aftertaste.

Now despite their limited-edition status and all around popularity, these bars quickly got into hot water from both the Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Center For Science In The Public Interest.  These groups have accused Nestlé of violating the terms of the candymaker’s agreement with the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.  Under this agreement with the CFBAI, Nestlé and other companies agreed to limit their child-directed advertising.  The Berkeley Group and CSPI argue that Nestlé is using the Girl Scouts logo to rope children in.  Mercifully, the CFBAI fell on Nestlé’s side on this one, saying that Nestlé is “not engaging in child-directed advertising for products with a Girl Scouts logo. Our program does not apply to packaging at point of sale because grocery stores are primarily adult-oriented venues.”  Now while I do find that last line a bit disingenuous, I find it equally as disingenuous as the claim that Nestlé was aiming it’s advertising at children just by having the logo.  After all, I do believe that Girl Scouts wind up selling their cookies primarily to adults. Regardless, it seems to me to be another symptom of the “nanny state,” which I am not fond of.

You might be wondering, by the way, how Nestlé was able to snag the monicker of “World’s Most Valuable Candy Bars” for this particular set.  As it turns out, just before their release, the first run of the three bars was put up for auction by Heritage Auctions.  Heritage appraised the bars at $500, about 200 times their retail price. Thus they were named the most valuable bars.  The bars sold at auction for $650.

In addition, a oil painting of the bars by Alexandre Renoir, great-grandson of Pierre-Auguste Renoir was also auctioned off.

I paid $1.49 for this

As I mentioned before, I paid a whopping $1.49 for each of the bars.  It’s unclear whether or not a portion of the proceeds goes to the Girl Scouts (though they did receive money from the auctions).  A request to Nestlé for more information on that point has not yet been answered.  While you could justify the money spent for just the flavor alone, it would feel much better to know that some of this extra premium is going to a good cause.

Act now to get your hands on these little its of confectionary goodness.  Remember, you have until September!