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21+ Fascinating Fun Facts About Cookies and Their History!

This is a photo of a chocolate chip cookie.

After all of our recent pizza-appreciation posts, we’ve decided to switch things up a bit—and sweeten things up a lot!

Cookies are an easy dessert, a convenient snack, and even a quick breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, but did you know that cookies are more than just delicious? That’s right. They’re also interesting to learn about, and we’re here with some fascinating fun facts about cookies and their history!

General Cookie Facts

  • People in the United States purchase over 2 billion cookies per year.
  • 95% of American households eat cookies (only 95%…?).
  • Half the cookies people bake at home are chocolate chip.
  • Over a lifetime, the average American eats 35,000 cookies (we think we can beat that!).
  • Santa Clause eats an estimated 336 million cookies on Christmas Eve.
  • Americans spend $550 million on Oreos each year—it was the best-selling cookie of the 20th century, and it’s still going strong!
  • Cookie jars became common during the 1930s as a result of Depression-era housewives baking at home to save money instead of buying bakery-made foods.
  • Cookie Monster has never eaten cookies. They’ve always been painted rice cakes.
  • Chocolate chips don’t melt because they contain less cocoa butter than chocolate bars—if you crush up candy bars to add to your cookies, expect them to be extra gooey from the melted chocolate!

Animal Cracker Facts

  • Introduced in 1902 by Nabisco, Animal Crackers were the first mass-produced, commercially available cookie in America.
  • The popularity of PT Barnham’s circus increased the popularity of Animal Crackers, and the iconic packaging is illustrated with circus animals and circus cage bars.
  • Animal Crackers have featured a total of 54 different animals over the years.

Biscotti Facts

  • The word biscotti translates from Italian to mean “twice cooked.” This is because the dough is shaped into loaves, baked until golden brown, sliced into individual cookies, and put back into the oven to bake again.
  • In German, this cookie is called zwieback (“twice baked”).
  • In Dutch, this type of cookie is called beschuit (or Dutch rusk). They are similarly baked as a loaf, then sliced, and the slices are baked again.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Facts

  • You may have heard chocolate chip cookies were invented by mistake, but we prefer to call it a happy accident! Ruth Graves Wakefield unintentionally created the best cookie when she ran out of cocoa powder and tried to substitute semisweet chocolate. Instead of melting into the dough, the pieces of chocolate held their shape, creating the chocolate chip cookie!
  • Massachusetts declared the chocolate chip cookie the official cookie of their commonwealth in 1997.
  • Chocolate chip cookies are America’s favorite by a wide margin. While 16% of American adults admit to preferring peanut butter cookies (go peanut butter!) and 15% of (wrong) American adults claim to enjoy oatmeal cookies, a whopping 53% like chocolate chip cookies the best (this is the right choice).

Cookie Records

  • The record for the most cookies baked in one hour is held by Hassett’s Bakery of Cork Island. They baked 4,695 cookies in one hour.
  • The record for the biggest cookie is held by Immaculate Baking Company of Flat Rock, NC. In 2003, they baked the record-setting cookie, which measured 102 feet wide and weighed over 40,000 pounds.
  • The record for the tallest tower of cookies is held by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. In 2010, they constructed a tower of cookies at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, NY. The tower measured 6 feet and ⅛-inch tall using 22,800 cookies to build the tower.

The History of Cookies

Ancient Cookies

Dating back to 7th Century Persia (now Iran), you’ll find the first record of cookies. Rather than a treat served on their own, these “cookies” were “test cakes” used to check the oven temperature and make sure it was ready for the day’s baking.

As people began traveling the globe and exploring other nations, they were about to obtain and experiment with new ingredients, like sugar. Once someone thought to add sugar to the recipe for their contemporary “cookies,” the race to develop the best cookie recipe had begun.

Modern Cookies

Thousands of years later, the basic recipe for cookies had been standardized: wheat flour, sugar, and fat (usually butter or oil), plus whatever other additions were available (dried fruit, spices, and nuts were popular choices).

The Industrial Revolution was a period of advanced technological achievements that had been previously unthinkable—and obviously part of this advancement focused on making cookies commercially available, in myriad varieties. 

No more were people limited to the types of cookies they themselves knew how to bake. No longer did wanting a cookie mean committing to a lengthy process of gathering ingredients, mixing cookie dough, trying not to eat too much cookie dough, baking the dough, and burning your tongue on molten chocolate chips bubbling up from freshly baked dough.

Now all people had to do was go to a bakery, and cookies could be had with much less effort!

Postmodern Cookies

We’re gloriously back to cookies being more of a general term than a specific recipe. Beyond using wheat flour, there are now cookies made with rice flour, coconut or almond flour, added protein, any type of fat, with or without eggs—and that’s not even getting to all of the clever mix-ins you can add to cookies!

Cookies and milk are the most iconic pairing, but hear us out while we make a case for serving pizza with your cookies! Actually, we’re not going to explain—we’re just going to say a pepperoni pizza and chocolate chip cookies is the way to go. Looking for the best pizza to pair with your favorite cookies? Then look for your favorite Dogtown Pizza in the freezer aisle of grocery stores in St. Louis. Enjoy!

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