The obscure Belgian cookie took its first steps stateside in the mid-'80s, but that wouldn't have happened without Delta Air Lines. The company was the first to popularize the cookie and now hands out almost 80 million packages of the buttery, crumbly, warmly spiced cookies each year. Over the past 30 or so years, the shortcrust cookies have been served as the on-board snack of many domestic airlines and a few international carriers. Biscoff is now also available all over the country in grocery stores and as "cookie butter," a magical spread made from the cookies. But it hasn't always been so easy for Americans to get their hands on the now-beloved cookie.
Known in Europe as Lotus Speculoos, the cookie was invented in Belgium in 1932. And since then, every single Biscoff cookie has been baked there, according to the exact same recipe. (Though, in 2019, Biscoff's parent company, Lotus, will open a bakery in North Carolina and make the cookie outside of Belgium for the first time.) The spiced cookie rocketed to popularity in Europe after being served at the 1958 World's Fair in Belgium, but didn't make the leap across the pond until nearly three decades later in 1986. And when it did, the cookie took on a new name for North America. Lotus Speculoos became "Biscoff," a portmanteau of the words "biscuit" and "coffee" meant to show what this cookie did best: pair with a cup of joe.