Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LID: C is for #Cookies and Cookies are for me!

Cookies by John Smith

December 17

National Bake Cookie Day

Don't those cookies just look delicious? Whoever decided National Bake Cookie Day was a genuis. There's just nothing better than eating fresly baked homemade cookies. Yum!

Cookies come in all shapes, sizes and are known throughout the world by various names. In the United States our cookies tend to be hand held, flour based sweet cakes that are either crisp or soft. My favorite kind of cookie is a soft one. There are nine different kinds of cookies. These have been identifed by wikipedia as:

  • Bar cookies consist of batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan (sometimes in multiple layers), and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking. In British English, bar cookies are known as "tray bakes". Examples include brownies, fruit squares, and bars such as date squares.
  • Drop cookies are made from a relatively soft dough that is dropped by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. During baking, the mounds of dough spread and flatten. Chocolate chip cookies (Toll House cookies), oatmeal (or oatmeal raisin) cookies and rock cakes are popular examples of drop cookies.
  • Filled cookies are made from a rolled cookie dough filled with a fruit or confectionery filling before baking. Hamantash are a filled cookie.
  • Molded cookies are also made from a stiffer dough that is molded into balls or cookie shapes by hand before baking. Snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies are examples of molded cookies. Some cookies, such as hermits or biscotti, are molded into large flattened loaves that are later cut into smaller cookies.
  • No-bake cookies are made by mixing a filler, such as cereal or nuts, into a melted confectionery binder, shaping into cookies or bars, and allowing to cool or harden. Oatmeal clusters, Rice Krispies Treats and Rum balls are all no-bake cookies.
  • Pressed cookies are made from a soft dough that is extruded from a cookie press into various decorative shapes before baking. Spritzgebäck are an example of a pressed cookie.
  • Refrigerator cookies (also known as icebox cookies) are made from a stiff dough that is refrigerated to become even stiffer. The dough is typically shaped into cylinders which are sliced into round cookies before baking. Pinwheel cookies are representative.
  • Rolled cookies are made from a stiffer dough that is rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Gingerbread men are an example.
  • Sandwich cookies are rolled or pressed cookies that are assembled as a sandwich with a sweet filling. Fillings include marshmallow, jam, and icing. The Oreo cookie, made of two chocolate cookies with a vanilla icing filling, is an example.

It All Started With Some Sugar

I can't imagine a world without sugar, can you? But it did exist.

sugar cane by Ton Rulkens@
Sugarcane grew abundantly in the Indian subcontient but was not being produced for sugar until around the 5th century AD during the Indian Gupta Empire.  During that time, the Indians had discovered how to turn sugarcane juice into granulated crystals. Once it was processed they could store the granulated sugar without worrying about the sugar spoiling. Indian sailors would carry it along with clarifed butter whenever they travelled. As they travelled along their various trade routes the existence of sugar became known to various traders. Although the knowledge of sugar's existence became common knowledge along the trade routes the Indians kept how they made it a very closly kept secret. 

According to whatscookingamerica.net "In 510 BC , hungry soldiers of the Emperor Darius were near the river Indus, when they discovered some "reeds which produce honey without bees." Evidently this early contact with the Asian sources of sugar cane made no great impression, so it was left to be re-discovered in 327 BC by Alexander the Great, who spread it's culture through Persia and introduced it in the Mediterranean. This was the beginning of one of the best documented products of the Middle Ages." 

An Accidental Discovery
During the 7th century AD,  Persians created sweet cakes by adding sugar to their bread recipes. The Persians used a clay oven fueld by a fire made of dry wood. It was hard to determine the oven tempurature. The Persians solved this problem by takinga a small amount of their cake batter and placing it on a pan. They would then place the pan into the oven. They would repeast this process until the batter was baked to the consistency they had wanted for their cake. Thus the cookie was born. Eventually the cookies became a special treat. 

American Cookies - Colonial Recipes


2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a mixing bowl cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in milk and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; stir into creamed mixture. Form dough into one-inch balls. Place balls two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten balls with the sugared bottom of a tumbler. Bake at 375 until done. 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 8 dozen. 

Gingerbread Men

2 cups of packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, softened


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Currants raisins, licorice etc. for decorating 

Cream sugar and butter; add egg. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir flour with spices and baking soda; add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Cover; chill dough for about 2 hours. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 thickness. Cut with a gingerbread man cutter. Place on un-greased cookie sheet, decorate by pressing ingredients lightly into the cut-out figures. Bake at 350 until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 1 to 2 minutes; remove to rack. Makes about 72. 

What is your favorite cookie recipe?

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