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8 things you didn't know about Atlanta’s Great American Cookies

Great American Cookies has one goal: to bake the best cookies ever made.

If you're an Atlanta native, you know this to be true. Many of the malls across metro Atlanta have these scrumptious stores and at some point in time you have stopped to buy one whether your kid begged or your inner-kid couldn't resist. There's a reason you keep going back, and that's because Great American Cookies has ensured that their roots and recipes have remained the same - from their cookies, cookie cakes and brownies.

»RELATED: Is this the best chocolate chip cookie you can buy in Georgia?

We know they have the best cookie around, but here are 8 things you didn't know about Great American Cookies, Atlanta's homegrown cookie company:

Great American Cookies proud history

Founded in 1977, the company started as a chocolate chip cookie recipe passed on by the grandmother of one of the founders. When the company began looking for real estate, many landlords passed on leasing to the company believing standalone cookie stores couldn't make enough money. But the group persevered and eventually found success at their first location at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta. That flagship store is still successfully slinging cookies 41 years later.

"Home of the Original Cookie Cake"

Lots of companies market themselves as having "original" concepts, and generations-old family recipes, but, in the case of Great American Cookies, it's actually true; Great American Cookies cookie cakes are made using their classic chocolate chip cookie family recipe that is the same as it's been for generations, and each cookie cake is baked fresh that day in the local neighborhood stores.

Great American Cookies isn't just found in shopping malls

While Great American Cookies enjoys a strong presence in American shopping malls, and David Kaiser, vice president of the cookie enterprise, remains committed to the shopping malls that made them famous, he is also not a fan of "cookie-cutter" growth strategies, according to an interview he gave to Franchise Gator. In recent years, Kaiser has begun to look to lifestyle and outlet centers, and to international markets as additional cookie-selling verticals.

"What we're finding is we don't have to be in the malls," he said in the article. "We can be outside of the malls, and that's an opportunity and something positive as well.”

You can find Great American Cookies in locations across the United States, as well as internationally in Bahrain, Chile, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

They give away free cookies

Last year, Great American Cookies celebrated its 40th birthday by giving away free cookies to the first 40 customers at participating locations. The company also offered cookies for 40 cents all day in honor of the celebration. Great American Cookies have also given away free cookies on Tax DayNational Cookie Day and National Ditch Your New Year's Resolution Day. Stay tuned on their website for future free cookies.

They offer a gluten-free cookie

If you have Celiac Disease, can't have or just don't want gluten, Great American Cookies now makes and sells a "chewy chocolate supreme" gluten free cookie.

Great American Cookies hasn't always been Great American Cookies

Great American Cookies was originally named The Original Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Company − quite the mouthful. In 1985, the company renamed to Great American Cookies Company and later shortened even further, to Great American Cookies.

It's a must-have dessert in college recruiting

If you look at any top recruits social media between August and the end of January, you'll most likely find a cookie the size of pizza, bearing the name of a college in frosting. When a recruit arrives at a campus for an official visit, the hotel is usually stacked with goodies and almost always, a scrumptious cookie cake. The origins of this tasty tradition are clouded in mystery, but the few coaches who can remember say cookie cakes became a staple at Army in 1991.

"I think nobody probably knows where it started, but everybody has seen other schools doing it, so they started it," Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott told ESPN. "I think everybody in the country does that or something similar to it. Now it's a staple to pretty much all official visits."

(For the AJC)

They have an Instagram

Calling all social media moguls, you can now follow your favorite cookie on Instagram. Great American Cookies' IG feed is full of delicious treats and fun cookie ideas. Thinking of asking someone to prom? Or need a little something special for Father's Day? There's a cookie cake for that!

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