This Is Every State's Favorite Christmas Cookie

At times it may seem as if we're living in a generic, strip-mall America, with carbon copies of the exact same Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, etc. on every street corner. We're all shopping at Costco, we're all drinking Coke or Pepsi, and we're all eating exactly the same things for dinner each day (except for hipster foodies, who seem to subsist entirely on a diet of pork belly and beet salad). Still, regional differences do persist as a testament to the diversity that makes our nation what it is. (Cue the flag-waving and patriotic anthems.)

Our regional differences are never so apparent as when it comes to food preferences, particularly as they relate to holiday traditions. If there's frog eye salad on the table, you know it's Thanksgiving in the Mountain West. If your turkey comes with a side of sauerkraut, then welcome to Bawlmer, Hon! Each state has its own particular Thanksgiving preferences, and this goes for what they like to eat at Christmastime, too. 

USA Today recently published data from Google that purports to tell us the favorite — or at least, the most-searched – Christmas cookie for each state and one District (that being the one of Columbia, a.k.a. our nation's capital). As is usual with such analytics-based information, some of it makes sense, while some of it makes us wonder a bit. (New Yorkers, are you really all that fond of anise?)

Some states stick to the basics

If there's one archetypal Christmas cookie (besides gingerbread, which, oddly enough, didn't make the list), it would probably be something that's pretty plain and vanilla-flavored. Plain cookies, after all, are the best ones to accompany a mug of hot chocolate (or wassail, should you be channeling your 18th-century forebears). USA Today finds that 7 different states did, in fact, pick a plain-vanilla type of Christmas cookie as their favorite.

Arkansas and Nevada went for sugar cookies, while Michigan and Ohio picked those powdered sugar-covered snowballs. Arizona went for cream cheese cookies — good luck making those this year when the main ingredient's in such short supply! Virginia picked something called "ooey gooey" cookies, which turn out to be butter cookies made with cake mix and more cream cheese (via Betty Crocker). California — such a practical state! — went for Snoopy Christmas cookies, which are available in ready-to-bake form from the fine folks at Pillsbury.

Other states are all about flavorful cookies

Other states — 13 in all, as per USA Today – are kind of "meh" about those sugar/butter/vanilla cookies. Instead, they prefer cookies with a bit more flavor. 

Alaska, New Hampshire, and West Virginia all say "gimme the chocolate," while Delaware and Illinois specify that theirs need to be chocolate crinkle cookies. Florida and Kansas prefer candy add-ins: Hershey's Kisses for the Sunshine State and M&Ms for the Sunflower State. Utah, we're not quite sure about — are "Oreo Christmas Cookies" something made with Oreos, or are they one-upping California with the simplest recipe ever? (Step 1: Buy Oreos. Step 2: Open package. Optional Step 3: Put on plate.)

In Idaho and New Mexico, their preference is for peppermint-flavored cookies, while Hawaii goes for cherry (what, no pineapple/Spam cookies?) and Oregon loves lemon. New York, as we already mentioned, seems to exhibit an inexplicable passion for anise. (We bet they're the most popular guests at the annual Christmas cookie exchange. Not.)

Quite a few states have specific dietary preferences

We've all got loved ones with specific dietary preferences or restrictions, and many of us have them ourselves. In 9 states, people's Christmas cookie recipe searching takes these needs into account. The top Christmas cookie recipes for 4 different states are all gluten-free ones, those states being Maine, Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin. (It's mere coincidence, of course, that the list consists of 3 "M"'s and an upside-down "M.")

In 4 different states, however, the most-wanted cookies were ones that could fit into a keto diet: Colorado, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Interestingly enough, none of those states is one where the keto diet is tops. According to an infographic complied by the website Ketogenic, keto is the most popular diet only in Idaho and North Dakota, with Colorado favoring the MIND diet, Iowa preferring DASH, South Dakota sticking with South Beach, and Wyoming choosing Mediterranean. The diet infographic did, however, manage to align with the cookie preferences of another state. 

It seems a vegetarian diet is the most popular one in Washington state, and as USA Today reveals, Washington's residents have been busy Googling vegan Christmas cookies this year.

Certain states prefer European-inspired cookies

In the great American melting pot, many of us have a certain amount of European ancestry. Whether or not we're in touch with (or even have any) European roots, though, we're all shopping at Aldi and stuffing our baskets with bargain-priced imported goodies. It comes as little surprise, then, to learn from USA Today that 9 different states go for Euro-style Christmas cookies. (Interestingly enough, none of these most-Googled recipes are German — but why bake German Christmas cookies when we can buy the Winternacht ones instead?

Several Mid-Atlantic and New England states want to mangia mangia Italian cookies this Christmas, as this was the top cookie search in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The District of Columbia, for some reason, chose to add the term "old-fashioned" to their search for Italian Christmas cookies — DC is having none of your new-fangled cookie recipes, Italy! 

In Maryland, they want Greek Christmas cookies, while North Dakota prefers Norwegian ones and Massachusetts wants their Christmas cookies to be Swedish ones. (Ikea's food market can probably help out in this regard.)

Some renegade states go for non-cookie options

There are always some states that just don't get with the program — or perhaps it's the fact that raw Google data sometimes needs additional context in order to make sense. 

Whatever the cause, USA Today's top "Christmas cookie" search results for 13 states came up with items that aren't exactly cookies. Well, we may make an exception for Georgia. Are Rice Krispies treats cookies? Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is "Die Hard" a holiday movie? In the spirit of the season, we'll say yes to all 3 questions and move on to those 12 states that prefer a different type of dessert.

In Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, what the people want is Christmas cookie fudge. While it may be made with sugar cookie mix (as per Taste of Home's recipe), this concoction is definitely candy. In Mississippi, both Carolinas (North and South), and Texas, Christmas cookie ice cream is what everyone seems to be searching for. Very likely Blue Bell's version, which is a favorite in the South according to Southern Living, and they ought to know. In Louisiana, they're looking for Christmas cookie cake, although it doesn't appear there's any one accepted version of this treat. In Missouri, however, they're all about Christmas cookie dip, which seems to be a cream-cheesed base recipe (via Food Network). Sorry about your luck, Missouri! That cream cheese shortage couldn't have come at a worse time.