Great moments in cookie history

Each country has its own word for “cookie.”  What we know as cookies are called biscuits in England and Australia, in Spain they are galletas, Germans call them Keks (or Plätzchen for Christmas cookies), Romanians call them fursecuri (there is nothing furry in them) and in Italy they are called amaretti and biscotti.

Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked.” According to culinary historians, the first historical record of cookies was their use as test cakes.  A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature.  Here are some fun facts from cookies’ history to enjoy:

1730 – According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word “cookie” is used in a Scottish reference to Dutch “koekje” (cookies) – a diminutive of koek (cake).

1796 – In the 1796 cookbook American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, she includes two recipes for cookies.  One simply called “Cookies” and the other called “Chriftmas Cookey”.  This was the first cookbook authored by an American and published in the United States.

1897 – The first mention of brownies appears in the Sears, Roebuck catalog.  No one knows where they came from but they are thoroughly American.  According to cookbook author and culinary historian, Jean Anderson, the two earliest published recipes for chocolate brownies appear in Boston-based cookbooks – the first in a 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book edited by Fannie Merritt Farmer and the second recipe, appeared in the 1907 Lowney’s Cook Book, written by Maria Willet Howard.

Nabisco building
1902 – Nabisco introduces Barnum’s Animal Crackers, one of its all-time best-selling cookies.

March 6, 1912 – Nabisco introduces Oreo sandwich cookies.

1930- Ruth Wakefield introduces chocolate chip cookies by cutting a chocolate bar into chips and adding them to the cookie dough at her Toll House Inn in Whiteman, Massachusetts.

Cookie Recipe
1939 – The Nestle Company introduces chocolate morsels, changing American cookies forever.

1956 – Margaret Rudkin introduces her Pepperidge Farm line of “Distinctive Cookies”.  Her insistence on high-quality ingredients such as real butter was a rarity in commercially baked cookies of that time.

Cookie Monster
November 1969 – A star is born: Cookie Monster appears on Sesame Street’s first broadcast by Children’s Television Workshop.

You can read more at the History of Cookies website or in Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax.

-Ms. Andreea

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