Santa Claus, Cocoa, Christmas Cookie

The British call them biscuits, originating from the Latin bis coctum (appears somewhat risque) and translates into”twice baked.” Food historians seem to agree that snacks, or compact cakes, were utilized to examine the temperature of an oven. A small spoonful of batter was dropped on a skillet and place to the hearth oven. If it came out properly, the warmth was ready for the whole cake or bread. Bakers and cooks used this method for centuries, usually tossing out the test cake, until they figured out they might be missing something.

Alexander the Great’s army took a crude sort of cookie in their many attempts, gobbling them as a speedy pick-me-up after trouncing and pillaging cities within their own route, around the year 327 BC. As they became embraced by much of Europe, there are lots of documents referring to what’s currently our modern biscuits (but no Oreos). Persians (now Iranians) cultivated sugar and began creating hamburgers and cookie-type sweets. The Chinese, always expecting to be first to the party, used honey and baked cakes that were smallish over an open fire in pots and little ovens. In the sixteenth century that they created the cookie cutter cookie, sometimes substituting abundant walnuts. Asian immigrants brought these cookies into the New World, and they joined our growing list of popular variations.

From the Middle East and the Mediterranean, this newfound concoction found its way into Spain during the Crusades, and since the spice trade enhanced, because of explorers like Marco Polo, fresh and flavorful versions developed jointly with fresh baking procedures. When it hit France, well, we know how French bakers loved sandwiches and desserts. Cookies were added to their growing repertoire, and by the end of the 14th century, a person could buy small stuffed wafers across the streets of Paris. Recipes began to look in Renaissance cookbooks. Most were simple creations made from butter or lard, honey or molasses, sometimes adding nuts and raisins. But when it comes to food, simple is not in the French language, so their fine pastry chefs raised the bar with Madeleines, macaroons, piroulines and meringue topping the list.

Biscuits (really hardtack) became the perfect traveling food, because they remained clean for extended periods. For centuries, a”ship’s biscuit,” that some described as an iron-like feel, was aboard any ship that left port because it may last for the entire voyage. (Hopefully you’d powerful teeth that would also last.)

It was only natural that early English, Scottish and Dutch immigrants brought the first cookies to America. Colonial housewives took great pride in their own biscuits, which have been known as”basic cakes” At the end, the Brits were enjoying afternoon tea with cakes and biscuits for centuries. In the early American cookbooks, cookies were relegated into the cake section and were called Plunkets, Jumbles and Cry Babies. All three were your basic sugar or molasses cookies, but nobody seems to know where these names originated. Definitely not to be left out of the mix, foodie president Thomas Jefferson served no shortage of biscuits and tea cakes for his guests, both in Monticello and the White House. Although more of an ice cream and pudding fan himself, he enjoyed treating and impressing his guests with a enormous array of sweets. Later presidents counted cookies as their favorite desserts, among these Teddy Roosevelt, who loved Fat Rascals (can I make that up?) Notwithstanding their odd names, these two ancient recipes are basic molasses drop cookies, with candied fruits, nuts and raisins. They’re still around, we just don’t call them anymore.

Brownies came about in a somewhat unusual way. In 1897, the Sears, Roebuck catalog sold the first brownie mix, introducing Americans to one of the favourite bar cookies.

Americans purchase over $7.2 billion worth of biscuits yearly, which clearly indicates a Cookie Monster nation.

Who could have predicted the wild popularity of the Oreo cookie, introduced in 1912 in the Nabisco Baking Company. Or the humble beginnings of the Toll House cookie in 1937 at a native Northeast restaurant. The U.S. leads the world in cookie production and consumption, spending over $675 million annually just on Oreos. Toll House cookies are a close second, both packaged and homemade. Americans eat them 24/7.

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