Girl Scout Slayer

Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies

Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies

I Paid: $4.99 for a 6.4-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Could anybody possibly compete with the legendary Girl Scouts Thin Mint? Why would anyone bother? The crispy, chocolaty, truly inhale-able stalwart of seasonal binge eating is an American confectionary legend, enthroned as a classic, unassailable as Charlemagne or Jay-Z. And yet—with its Fudge Mint Cookies, natural foods company Back to Nature has made a credible run at it, right down to the green box.

Before we cut to the chase, a bit about this “nature” business. First, the good news: The cookies claim no hydrogenated oils, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The bad news: “Palm kernel and/or palm oil” is right up top of the ingredient list, bringing with it the delicious taste and texture of saturated fat, as well as a residue of deforestation, species damage, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

So, search your conscience and diet accordingly. In fact: Why not heed your conscience and diet and just never, ever put one of these cookies into your mouth? That’s the smart move, because they are—no qualification here—better than Thin Mints. Better. Hands down. No argument. All fronts. Thin Mints are a bit mintier and grainier, and have a harsher finish. Back to Nature Fudge Mint Cookies are smoother, more deeply chocolaty, crunchier, more balanced, and, incredibly, more addictive. Each box has about 900 calories, and that’s the figure you really need to get your head around—once the damn thing is open, you’d better have a spouse or children or roommates fighting you for the cookies, or all 900 calories’ worth will be sucked down over the course of an evening.

In conclusion, if you value your self-respect, do not let a box of these horrifically good cookies into your house. They will mess you up. (And now the chefs in CHOW.com’s test kitchen have created a version of the Thin Mint that’s even better!)

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.