A cookie is a thin, sweet, usually small cake. By definition, a cookie can be any of a variety of hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes, either crisp or soft. They are sometimes called biscuits. The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning ‘small or little cake’. Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means ‘twice baked’. According to culinary historians, the first historic record of cookies was their use as test cakes. A small amount of cake batter was baked to test the oven temperature.
The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia AD (now Iran). This was one of the first countries to cultivate sugar (luxurious cakes and pastries in large and small versions were well known in the Persian empire). According to historians, sugar originated either in the lowlands of Bengal or elsewhere in south east Asia. Sugar spread to Persia and then to the eastern Mediterranean.
As people started to explore the globe, biscuits (hardtack) became the ideal traveling food because they stayed fresh for long periods. For centuries, a ship’s biscuit, an iron-like cracker, was aboard any ship that left port because it could last for months (even years under the right conditions). During the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, baking was a carefully controlled profession, managed through a series of guilds or professional associations. To become a baker, people had to complete years of an apprenticeship – working through the ranks of apprentice, journeyman, and finally master baker. By having guilds, authorities could easily regulate the amount and quality of goods baked. As technology improved during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, so did the ability of bakers to make a wide range of sweet and savory biscuits for commercial consumption. Despite more varieties becoming available, the essential ingredients of biscuits didn’t change. These ingredients are ‘soft’ wheat flour, which contains less protein than the flour used to bake bread, sugar, and fats, such as butter and oil.
We have a delicious range of cookies in-store, so you can enjoy the freshest possible cookies straight from your oven.