A Favorite Comfort Food That Began As A Kitchen Test
Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. The cookie was actually just a test to see if primitive ovens were the right temperature to bake cakes. Rather than ruin an entire cake, a “little cake,” or cookie, was tested first.
At the time, no one thought the “test cake” would become a treat with charms of its own!
With the Muslim invasion of Spain, then the Crusades and the developing spice trade, the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia spread into Northern Europe. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.
With global travel becoming widespread at that time, cookies made a natural travel companion, a modernized equivalent of the travel cakes used throughout history. One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled especially well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made largely from nuts, sweetener, and water.
Cookies came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s. Its American name derives from the Dutch word “koekje” or more precisely its informal, which means little cake, and arrived in American English with the Dutch settlement of New Netherland, in the early 1600s.
In earlier American cook books, cookies were given no space of their own but were listed at the end of the cake chapter. They were called by such names as Jumbles, Plunkets and Cry Babies. The names were extremely puzzling and whimsical
The most common modern cookie, given its style by the creaming of butter and sugar, was not common until the 18th century.
The first Chocolate Chip cookie was invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977), of Whitman, Massachusetts, who ran the Toll House Restaurant.
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