The Cookie Trail

Its English name comes from the Dutch word koekje which means little cake. The Scots lay claim to the name as well but that argument seems futile given the trade that had long existed between the North Sea countries of Europe.

Like almost everything else, however, even the cookie appears to have its origins in the East, in 7th century Persia, to be precise, shortly after the use of sugar became common in the region. It spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.

Cookie-like hard wafers have existed for as long as baking is documented, in part because they deal with travel very well, but they were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern standards.
By the 14th century, cookies had become common in all levels of society, throughout Europe.

In the United States and Canada, a cookie is a small, flat, baked treat, usually containing fat, flour, eggs and sugar.

In most English-speaking countries outside North America, the most common word for this is biscuit; in many regions both terms are used, while in others the two words have different meanings.

A cookie is a plain bun in Scotland, while in the United States a biscuit is a kind of quick bread similar to a scone.

In the United Kingdom, a cookie is referred to as a biscuit, while in South Africa they are called biscuits, and the word cookie refers to cupcakes.

Cookies are most commonly baked until crisp or just long enough to remain soft. Cookies are made in a wide variety of styles, using various ingredients including sugars, spices, chocolate, nuts or dried fruits.

A general theory of cookie-baking goes like this: Instead of water, oil has become the agent of cohesion. Whether in the form of butter, egg, or vegetable oils, all these agents evaporate at a much higher temperature than water. Thus a cake made with butter or eggs instead of water is far denser after removal from the oven.

Rather than evaporating and thickening the mixture, they remain. This saturation produces the most texturally attractive feature of the cookie, and indeed all fried foods: crispness saturated with a moisture that does not sink into it.

The most common modern cookie, given its style by the creaming of butter and sugar, was not common until the 18th century. Such cookies may be decorated with chocolate or icing, and closely resemble a type of confectionery. Russian Cookie House has LOTS of these!

Cookies are broadly classified into at least these categories:
Drop cookies are made from a relatively soft dough that spreads and flattens during baking. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal (Russian Cookie House’ ANZAC cookies) are popular examples of drop cookies.

Refrigerator cookies are made from stiff dough that is refrigerated to become even stiffer.

Molded cookies are also made from a stiffer dough that is molded into balls or cookie shapes by hand before baking. Our Russian Tea Cookies are made in this way—yes, one by one!

Rolled cookies are made from stiffer dough that is rolled and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. (Russian Cookie House’ Lebkuchen and Lemon Hearts are an example).

Pressed cookies are made from a soft dough that is extruded from a cookie press into various decorative shapes.

Piped cookiesare made from a soft dough that is piped from a pastry bag into various shapes.(Russian Cookie House Vienna Fingers are an example of piped cookies).

Bar cookies consist of batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan and cut into cookie-sized piecesafter baking. (Russian Cookie House’ Linzer Schnitte is an example).

Sandwich cookies are rolled or
pressed cookies that are assembled as a sandwich with a sweet filling, often jam, or icing. (The Russian Cookie House Linzer Augen is an example).