Most people adore cookies and once you start eating, you cannot stop. But have you ever wondered what the history of the cookie is? Here is some more information on cookie history :).
The dictionary definition for cookie is ‘a sweet baked food that is usually small, flat, round and made from flour and sugar’.
A cookie can be any of a variety of hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes, either crisp or soft. Every country has its own name for cookie; the British and Australians call it biscuits, in Spain they are called galletas and so forth. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning ‘small or little cake’. The word biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum which means, ‘twice baked’.
According to culinary historians, the first historic records of cookies are that they were test cakes, i.e. bakers would bake a small amount of cake batter to test the oven temperature.
The first cookies seem to date back to 7th Century Persia (Iran). Persia was also one of the first countries to cultivate sugar after it originated either in the lowlands of Bengal or elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Sugar use then spread to the Eastern Mediterranean. With the Muslim invasion of Spain, the Crusades and a developing spice trade, Arabian cooking techniques and ingredients were being used in Northern Europe too.
Biscuits, hardtack, subsequently became the travelers’ food of choice due to biscuits not going off and being easy to transport. From the original hardtack cookies developed into the different Northern European areas according to region. Their base ingredients were still flour, sugar and butter or oil.
English, Scottish and Dutch immigrants introduced Americans to cookies. Here they were varied to include rose water and were included in cookbooks as Jumbles, Plunkets and Cry Babies.
From here, recipes started to become more and more creative as technology gave regular middle class housewives more ability to make their own instead of having to buy from bakers. Animal crackers, biscotti, brownies and Anzac biscuits were gaining popularity as a tea-time snack.
In 1937 the first chocolate chip cookie was made… by accident. A lady called Ruth Graves Wakefield Whitman, Massachusetts lacked one ingredient for her cookie recipe. She decided to chop a chocolate bar and add that to the dough, the chocolate would then spread and all will be well. However, the chocolate didn’t melt but a star was born! Word about the ‘Toll house crunch cookies’ spread very fast and the recipe was published by a Boston newspaper. In 1939 Betty Crocker used the recipe in her ‘Famous Foods From Famous Eating Places’. In 1940 Ruth sold all her rights to Nestle, but Nestle lost this trademark in a federal court.
Here is a quick and easy chocolate chip cookie tutorial…
From there came the Fig Newton, the fortune cookie and Boudoirs to name but a few well-known cookies. Everyone has a favourite cookie and we can disagree for days on which is best, but the fact remains that cookies do make people happy. So here’s a toast to the little cake that could!