one smart cookie

a smart cookie AND one smart cookie (someone who is clever and good at dealing with difficult situations) — толковый, хваткий, смекалистый; дельный; с умом; есть голова на плечах; || дошлый; себе на уме (контекст.)

Example 1: If anyone can make this company succeed / get a perfect grade on this test, it's Kim — she's one smart cookie. (CID)

Example 2: Kathy's really a smart cookie if you give her a chance. — Она тетка толковая, если только дать ей развернуться. (Gl)

Related vocabulary
[sharp as a tack]
[quick on the uptake]
[bright as a button]
[think on one's feet]

Although several slang dictionaries list the expression, none offer any etymology. Is it just one of those expressions as ‘a good egg,’ ‘a bad apple,’ etc. where an article of food is taken to represent a person? (English playwright, author, actor, and composer Noel Coward once wittily translated ‘a smart cookie’ into British as ‘a clever biscuit.’ )