A cookie is a sweet dessert made from flour. Cookies are made in an oven. They are also called biscuits in many English-speaking countries. In the United States and Canada, many varieties of biscuit are called cookies as well.
Most cookies are flat and round like a disc. Cookies often have flavors added to them, like spices, chocolate, butter, peanut butter, nuts or dried fruits. Most cookies are very sweet. Today, many people think of cookies with warmth and love. Cookies may be used like chocolate and candy as a reward when children do good deeds.
Even though it is close to cakes and other sweetened breads, cookies usually do not use water for cohesion. Water in cakes makes the base (in the case of cakes called "batter") as thin as possible, which allows the bubbles to form better. Cookies do not have bubbles, so they do not need this. In cookies, some form of oil or fat is used for cohesion. Oils, like butter, egg yolks, vegetable oils or lard are much more viscous than water and evaporate freely at a much higher temperature than water. So a cake made with butter or eggs instead of water is more dense when cooked.
Cookies where made in Ancient Greece around 1200 BC. Hard wafers have been made for as long as baking existed. They were very popular because they last a long time and are not fragile, but they were normally not sweet enough to be called cookies today.
Cookies were made at first in 7th century AD Persia, just after the use of sugar became common there. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all parts of Europe, and could be found anywhere from royal cuisine to street vendors.
People started to travel around the world at that time, and cookies made a good travel snack; a sweeter version of the travel cakes used throughout history. One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled very well and became known on every continent, was the jumble, a hard cookie made mostly from nuts, sweetener, and water.
Common types of cookies:
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- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Merriam-Webster, Inc.: 1999.
- http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcookies.html Foodtimeline.org
- http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CookieHistory.htm Whatscookingamerica.net