The origin of the cookie appears to begin in Persia in the 7th century, soon after the use of sugar became common in the region. They were then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. Cookies were common at all levels of society throughout Europe by the 14th century, from the royal cuisine to the street vendors.
Cookies arrived in America in the 17th century. Macaroons and gingerbread cookies were among the popular early American cookies.
In most English-speaking countries outside of North America, the most common word for cookie is “biscuit.” In some regions, both terms, cookies and biscuits are used.
Cookies are classified into different categories, with the most common ones being:
Bar cookies – Drop cookies – Filled cookies
Molded cookies – No bake cookies
Pressed cookies – Refrigerator cookies
Rolled cookies – Sandwich cookies
In 1976, Sesame Street included National Cookie Day on its calendar for the first time on November 26. The Cookie Monster also proclaimed his own National Cookie Day in the 1980 book The Sesame Street Dictionary.
Then in 1987, Matt Nader of the Blue Chip Cookie Company out of San Francisco created Cookie Day celebrating it on December 4.
The first commercial cookie in the U.S. was the Animal Cracker, introduced in 1902.
- The Oreo, the best-selling cookie of the 20th century, was developed and introduced by the American company Nabisco, in 1912.
- The U.S. leads the world as the biggest cookie bakers and eaters, spending more than $550 million annually on Oreos alone.
- The Girl Scouts first began selling cookies In the 1920s.
- In 1989, New Mexico named the ‘bizcochito’ its official state cookie. Bizcochito, derived from the spanish word ‘bizcocho’ which means biscuit, is a delicious shortbread cookie flavored with anise and topped with cinnamon sugar.
- The U.S. has a National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum located within the Joplin Museum Complex in Joplin, Missouri.
- The official state cookie of both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania is the chocolate chip cookie.
- Early American tinsmiths began making cookie cutters by hand back in the 1700s.
- Christmas cookies date back to Medieval Europe.
- American cookie jars evolved from British biscuit jars and first appeared on the scene during the Depression in the 1930s when housewives began making more cookies at home, rather than buying them at the bakery, and needed containers for them.
The top 10 selling commercial cookies in the U.S. are:
- Nabisco Oreo
- Nabisco Chips Ahoy
- Nabisco Oreo Double Stuff
- Pepperidge Farm Milano
- Private Label Chocolate Chip
- Little Debbie Nutty Bar
- Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream
- Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chewy
- Nabisco Nilla Vanilla Wafers
- Private Label Sandwich Cookies