The earliest record of cookie-type treats were small cakes that were made in seventh-century Persia. These small cakes spread to Europe during the Crusades, and by the fourteenth century cookies were well known in Italy and France, and their popularity had begun to spread to the rest of Europe.
In the 1600s immigrants brought cookies to America. The word “cookie” actually came from koekje, the Dutch word for “small cake.” Cookies were saved for holidays and special occasions because it was difficult and expensive to get the ingredients to make them. There weren’t many varieties of cookies, but many of them are still popular today:
Before vanilla was commonly available, cookies were flavored with rose water. The leavener that was most often used was a type of ammonia made from the antlers of a deer. While butter was used at times, it was more likely to be lard that provided the fat in the cookies. Lard was the more readily available of the two at this time.
In the late 1800s, technology was creating new ways of doing things. Sugar and certain spices were easier to get and women had a bit more leisure time. With the ability to more accurately regulate the temperature of their ovens, bakers were able to create different textures, shapes, and varieties of cookies. Bar cookies became popular among busy farm women in the early twentieth century as a way to make the family a treat quickly. During the depression, “no-bake” cookies allowed families to satisfy a sweet tooth with readily available dried fruits and nuts. The popularity of these cookies increased during the 1940s as rationing limited the availability of ingredients like sugar and chocolate.
Creating Memories and Building Relationships
The first baking that most people do is often some sort of cookie. Making a habit of baking cookies with your children is an excellent way to create memories and build relationships. Children as young as two or three enjoy helping by mixing ingredients, arranging the cooled cookies on a plate, or even using a cookie cutter to cut the dough. By age six, children love to decorate cookies with colored sugar, sprinkles, and frosting; they are able to use their creativity and create unique cookies. They can learn to measure the ingredients and help to mix the dough. Your children will have fun while building self-esteem and even increasing their math skills.
Don’t wait for a rainy day to make some cookies. Choose a recipe, gather your family together, and enjoy some quality time while creating a mouthwatering snack.