No matter who you are, nothing says happy like fresh and gooey chocolate chip cookies
-- or any cookie for that matter. In the United States, cookies are a staple treat found in most pantries across the country. In fact, over 2 billion cookies are eaten every year by roughly 92% of all American households. According to history books, cookies were first used as test cakes. From there, the art of cookie baking and eating hit the ground running, and we've been snacking ever since. Cookies aren't just good snack foods. For centuries, cookies have been used as festive desserts to mark specific holidays and joyous occasions like marriages. In the early 20th century, for example, children began leaving out cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas. Another common holiday tradition is cookie swaps, where people come together and trade various cookie flavors and varieties. But according to science, our love for cookies doesn't just come from centuries of tradition. Rather, our cravings are more psychologically rooted. In a recent study conducted in the journal Neuron, researchers found that people crave sweets after experiencing stress. For the study, the researchers made the participants run their hands under cold water for a certain period of time. Then, their brains were scanned with an MRI. Afterwards, the participants were asked to name what kinds of food they craved. Ultimately, the results showed that participants who exhibited higher levels of stress were inclined to crave sweet and salty foods, such as crackers and chocolate chip cookies. This research lines up with previous findings on the correlations between stress relief and comfort foods. According to Prevention, eating our favorite cookie recipes helps to reduce our body's response to chronic stress. So if you're feeling stressed out, reach for a delicious gourmet cookie for a little ooey, gooey, chewy 'lovin. While everything is best enjoyed in moderation, there's nothing wrong with indulging in a little cookie therapy every now and again!