A cookie is small, sweet and usually baked good.
Cookies are typically made with flour, egg, sugar, and some type of shortening such as butter or cooking oil.
Other ingredients may include dried fruits, oats, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, peanut butter, nuts, spices, etc.
Cookies are most commonly baked until crisp or just long enough that they remain soft, but some kinds of cookies are not baked at all.
There are eight basic types of cookies: bar cookies, drop cookies, fried cookies, molded cookies, no-bake cookies, refrigerator (ice box) cookies, rolled cookies and sandwich cookies.
The art of making cookies is that of turning simple ingredients into wonderful things.
Like cakes and pastries, cookies are the descendants of the earliest food cooked by man — grain-water-paste baked on hot stones by Neolithic farmers 10,000 years ago.
The development of cookies from these primitive beginnings is a history of refinements inspired by two different impulses – one plan and practical, the other luxurious and pleasure-loving.
The earliest cookies are thought to date back to 7th century AD Persia (now Iran), shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region.
They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.
By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.
As people started to explore the globe, cookies became the ideal traveling food because they stayed fresh for long periods.
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. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning “small or little cake.” The earliest reference to cookies in America is in 1703, when “The Dutch in New York provided…’in 1703…at a funeral 800 cookies…'”
The British took a liking to them in the 19th century, incorporating them into their daily tea service and calling them biscuits.
The chocolate chip cookie was invented by the American chef Ruth Graves Wakefield and chef Sue Brides in 1938. One day while making cookies, she realized she was out of an ingredient for the recipe she was using. She had run out of baker’s chocolate, so she substituted it with a semisweet chocolate bar from Nestle. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt and mix into the batter like Ruth thought it would. The small pieces of chocolate only softened and the chocolate chip cookie was born.
Fortune cookie is actually an American invention originating in California. There are many theories, and much speculation surrounding the mysterious origin of the fortune cookie. As to in which city the fortune cookie originated and as to who invented it, Chinese-American, Japanese-American or 14th century revolutionists, there has been much debate. In 1983, there was even a mock trial held in San Francisco’s pseudo-legal Court of Historical Review to determine the origins of the fortune cookie.
Gingerbread dates from the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. The first documented trade of gingerbread cookies (biscuits) dates to the 17th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies, and town square farmers’ markets. In Medieval England gingerbread was thought to have medicinal properties.
Christmas cookies or Christmas biscuits are traditionally sugar cookies or biscuits (though other flavours may be used based on family traditions and individual preferences) cut into various shapes related to Christmas. Modern Christmas cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval Europe biscuits, when many modern ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds and dried fruit were introduced into the west.
The Oreo cookie was first developed and produced by the National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco) in 1912. The origin of the name Oreo is unknown, but there are many hypotheses, including derivations from the French word ‘Or’, meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word “Ωραίο”, meaning tasty, beautiful, nice or well done. Since their introduction in 1912, the Oreo cookie has become the best-selling cookie in the United States.
Macaroons Haute Couture at $7,414 are the most expensive cookies in the world. The iconic Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé, offers clients a luxurious choice of ingredients, including fine balsamic vinegar, fleur de sel, red grape, and rare peanut butter among others. Not all of the macaroons on offer are crazy expensive, but depending upon the flavours selected, once could easily end up paying as much as $7,000 for a box of bespoke macaroons.
The largest cookie measured 754 square meters (8,120 square feet) and was made by the ImmaculateBaking Company (USA) in Flat Rock, North Carolina, USA on 17 May 2003. The chocolate chip cookieweighed 18 tonnes (40,000 lb) and had a diameter of 30.7 meters (101 feet).
The record for the largest bag of cookies is 3,200 kg (7054 lb) and was achieved by the Juniorchamber Veenendaal-Rijnvallei in Veenendaal, the Netherlands, on 19 November 2005. Length: 5.5 meters (18 feet), width: 2 meters (6.5 feet), height: 3 meters (9.8 feet), filled with 207.860 Bart Foundation cookies.
The record for the tallest pyramid of cookies is 1.49 m (4 ft 10 in) and was achieved by Jan Vinzenz Krause and members of the diocese Essen using 12180 Leibniz butter cookies at the Centro shopping centre in Oberhausen, Germany, on 16 September 2006.
The tallest cookie tower measured 1.83 m (6 ft 1/8 in) tall and was constructed by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County (USA) at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York, USA, on 9 January 2010. 22,800 cookies were used to build the tower.
Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year – about 300 cookies for each person.
The average American eats 35,000 cookies in a lifetime.
Half the cookies baked in American homes each year are chocolate chip.
In most English-speaking countries except for the US and Canada, crisp cookies are called biscuits. Chewier biscuits are sometimes called cookies even in the UK.
In Scotland the term cookie is sometimes used to describe a plain bun.