Cookies are a delicious snack (one that you are familiar with if you are part of our subscription service) that many of us assume came about relatively recently in human history.
This is not quite true though. And, if you think about it, it makes sense.
What exactly is a cookie?
Pretty much just a portable dessert or cake, right?
After all, we have hard cookies, soft cookies, and cookies of all shapes and sizes and ingredients. If it is portable, sugary, and cakey, it must be a cookie, right?
The first known mentions of cookies are traced back to the Middle East, in the Persian empire during the 7th century.
The Persian empire at the time was the largest and most modern civilization, with trade routes stretching across Eurasia. Sugar originated from south east Asia, and when the Persians came across it, it quickly spread throughout their lands, and thus across much of the then modern world.
Sugar led to the creation of pastries, cakes, and cookies of all sorts, which Persia quickly became known for.
At that time, Muslims had conquered parts of Europe, bringing cookies with them. This staple dessert spread all across Europe. You could find cookies in the 14th century Europe in both street vendors and royal cuisine, as it was so common and popular.
However, if you went back in time with a time machine and were expecting cookies back then to be like the cookies of today, you would be disappointed. They were good and raved about, sure. But, they were prepared differently and generally crisp.
It was not until the 18th century that the butter and sugar combination for a less crisp cookie came about.
And, even then, the world favorite chocolate chip cookie was invented by accident, and not until the 1930s. The story goes that Ruth Wakefield, an innkeeper who made cookies at the Toll House Inn, and ran out of nuts and decided to pop in pieces of chocolate instead. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Now that refrigeration techniques have improved, and manufacturing processes are better, and we have ways to make all of these sensitive ingredients last, we are living during a cookie golden age right now.
Cookies have since become tiny, delicious portable cakes to enjoy on virtually any occasion at almost anytime of day.