Cookies today come in a large number of flavors and styles, ranging from chocolate chip to sugar. While many manufacturers now put their own twist on cookies, these delectable treats have come a long way since their humble beginnings.
The Origins of Cookies
If it seems like cookies have been around forever, your assumption is not far off - these tasty goodies date back to as far as 7 A.D., according to WhatsCookingAmerica.com. That's when natives of Persia began cultivating sugar, which was then eventually used for cakes and pastries throughout the region.
FoodTimeline.org reports that a more primitive form of cookies may date back as far as 10,000 years ago when people first began making paste out of grain and water. Needless to say, these treats were likely not as delectable as the Mrs. Fields cookies found on store shelves today.
TheNibble.com reports that cookies were likely originally created as "test cakes," rather than actual treats. Bakers used these "small cakes" to determine the flavor of their larger creations prior to scaling them to size.
Cookies in the United States
These delicious snacks are thought to have arrived in America around the 1600s, brought by Dutch and English immigrants. Originally, they were referred to as "koejke" - a Dutch word that simply translates into "little cake." Eventually, the word was transformed into "cookie" by the English.
"Etymologists note that by the early 1700s, koekje had been Anglicized into 'cookie" or 'cookey,' and the word clearly had become part of the American vernacular," Andrew Smith wrote in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. "Following the American Revolution, people from other parts of the country became familiar with the cookie when visiting New York City, the nation's first capitol, a factor that resulted in widespread use of the term."
The History of Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate chip cookies are perhaps the most popular variety in the U.S. today, but it was not always this way. Thanks to Ruth Graves Wakefield, chocolate chip cookies are now a staple in marketplaces. The Massachusetts native was baking Butter Drop Do cookies in her kitchen one day in 1937 when she realized she did not have the baker's chocolate required by the recipe. She substituted this with a bar of chocolate instead, crumbled into small pieces, resulting in the birth of chocolate chip cookies. Now, this is one of the most beloved treats in around the world.