Cookies are sweet and full of all sorts of delicious goodness, from nuts to fruit to chocolate. They can be either delightfully crumbly or sinfully chewy. Not to mention that they keep forever if they are stored properly…well, this may not actually be true but, honestly, they will probably never last long enough to find out!
There’s no doubt about it: cookies more than deserve their own day, and that’s why National Cookie Day is celebrated around the world in order to pay tribute to these delicious little treats. So grab some flour, butter, and sugar, and let’s get to celebrating, shall we?
The History of National Cookie Day
Cookies, themselves, can be traced back much further than most people would imagine. It is estimated that in the 7th century AD, Persians were some of the first to grow and harvest sugar cane, which would have eventually been turned into baked goods. The movement of people for trade and war led the glory of sugar to be brought into Europe and, by the 14th century, cookies had come there as well.
Then, when Europeans migrated over to the Americas, they brought with them their sugar as well as their cookie recipes. Americans eventually began developing their own types of cookies, the Chocolate Chip Cookie being one of the most famous of all.
In 1987 Matt Nader of the San Francisco-based Blue Chip Cookie Company created National Cookie Day, saying: “It’s just like having National Secretaries Day… It will just be a fun thing to do.” This fun and sweet holiday have also been championed by The Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, obviously a supporter of all things that are cookie-related.
Although the day did not originate with him, some details about National Cookie Day can be found in Random House’s The Sesame Street Dictionary, which was published back in the 1980s. Since then, the word got around the globe that there was much tasty fun to be had on December 4th, and people from various countries all around the world began to celebrate National Cookie Day.
In fact, a number of variations on National Cookie Day are also celebrated around the world, such as Oatmeal National Cookie Day and Bake Cookies Day. This is likely due to one of the greatest things about cookies: they come in hundreds of shapes and sizes and are relatively simple to make.
So get ready to celebrate everything that has to do with cookies–baking them and eating them!
National Cookie Day Timeline
1st Century AD
While some might argue this started out as a version of bread, what they turned into is something that is certainly very close to resembling a cookie! They were often used by traveling clansmen as a staple of their diet.
7th Century AD
Mini cakes are used to test ovens
When testing to see if the temperatures were right, ancient Persians (some of the first to grow and harvest sugar cane) may have used tiny “cakes” to check their ovens. These little cakes may be the ancient ancestors to today’s cookies.
Lady Fingers emerge
These delicate little spongy cakes actually resemble something like cookies and were first made in France. The first recipe hails from the House of Savoy.
Cookies become commonplace
With the growth of access to sugar, many residents of European cities find small treats such as cookies are fairly accessible. In fact, most of the earliest baking cookbooks from this time contained recipes for cookies. Of course, in England, they may have taken on the name “biscuit”.
First published American cookbook includes cookie recipes
Just 20 years after the independence of the country, the first American cookbook is published. It contains recipes for regular butter cookies as well as a “Christmas Cookey”.
Nabisco makes Barnum Animal Crackers
Although they are named “crackers”, everyone knows they taste sweet like cookies! These, produced by American company, Nabisco, are in the shapes of animals and named after the famous circus showman, P.T. Barnum.
Chocolate chip cookies are invented
In what began as a happy ‘accident’, Ruth Wakefield of Massachusetts, USA, was baking butter cookies and wanted to make them into chocolate cookies. She thought if she put tiny chocolate pieces into the dough, they would melt and turn into chocolate cookies. Wakefield ran the Tollhouse Restaurant, which she named the cookie after.
Cookie Dough ice cream is invented
When an anonymous fan suggested they add piles of unbaked cookie dough to their vanilla ice cream, Ben & Jerry were just crazy enough to try it!
Chocolate chip cookie represents Massachusetts
Following a bill proposed by a class of third graders from Somerset, Massachusetts adopts the chocolate chip cookie as the official cookie of the commonwealth. This gives a nod to the invention of this cookie at the Tollhouse Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts.
How to Celebrate National Cookie Day
So simple and easy, celebrating cookie day means enjoying a cookie–and perhaps sharing one with a friend. Try out these other ideas to make National Cookie Day special:
Enjoy Eating Cookies
While some people might consider cookies to be something to pack in a child’s lunchbox, they’re certainly delicious for adults to enjoy too! Small or big, cookies are inherently perfect for sharing. They’re the ideal treat for a family gathering or a kid’s soccer game. Stop by a bakery on the way to work and grab a few cookies to share at the office. Or bake some at home and pass them around to neighbors.
Whatever is happening on this day (or any day, for that matter) will obviously be much better if it happens with a cookie in hand!
Try a Unique Cookie Flavor
Make National Cookie Day memorable by stepping off the beaten path a bit and trying a cookie flavor that you normally wouldn’t have. Go beyond that typical chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie recipe. All sorts of unique and adventurous cookie flavors are out there just waiting to be tasted, and here just a few:
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Bacon Cookies. They say that everything is better with bacon. Why not try adding it to some delicious cookies? The blend of sweet and savory is absolutely to die for.
- Fruity Pebbles Cookies. Just for fun, these treats use a basic cookie recipe and add in a couple of cups of colorful, crispy Fruity Pebbles cereal.
- Savory Herb Shortbread Cookies. Almost like crackers, these cookies work nicely as an appetizer. Made with parmesan and freshly minced rosemary, these cookies pair well with a glass of red wine. And they can be just as tasty when made with asiago cheese and freshly cut thyme.
- Salted White Chocolate Lavender Cookies. Keep to the herb garden with the delicate edible lavender combined with white chocolate and
On National Cookie Day people can get together to bake cookies together, which can turn out to be a surprisingly good time. Parents can have fun baking the first batch of cookies their children will ever bake with them, which is also guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience (but, of course, be prepared to clean up a bit of a mess!).
What could be more fun than making some cute, sweet treats together with your children? For those unfamiliar with the art of cookie baking but would like to try, here is a simple recipe you can start your cookie adventure with!
Simple Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe (makes 20 cookies)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of teaspoon kosher salt
Heat your oven to 350° F. Beat the peanut butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, which should take about 2-3 minutes.
Then, reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt, beating constantly. To form cookies, roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, as the dough will spread out during baking.
Using a lightly floured fork, press the dough to a half-inch thickness, making a cute crisscross pattern on top of each cookie. Bake, remembering to rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking process, until the edges are set and golden-brown, for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before trying to remove them so they don’t crumble, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool them completely. Store these tasty cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days…but let’s be honest, they’ll never last that long!