Cookies are the most beloved dessert worldwide. Eaten for breakfast or as a sweet dish, dunked in milk, coffee, or tea, or as a tasty snack.
Regarding the shape or preparation technique, these treats can be divided into many categories:
- Bars – poured or pressed into a pan and cut into squares or rectangles. Most famous baked bars are brownies. Moreover, there are fruit squares, date squares, chocolate chip bars, raw bars, and more.
- Drop cookies – are dropped by spoon onto the baking tray. The dough spread and flatten during the baking process, getting its signature shape. The most popular drop pastries are the chocolate chip ones, oatmeal raisin, thumbprint sweets, and rock cakes.
- Molded cakes – made from a harder dough and flattened or shaped into balls by hand. The best examples are the peanut butter ones and snickerdoodles. Furthermore, biscotti are molded and baked into loaves but are later cut into smaller pieces.
- Pressed pastry – the soft dough gets shaped by a press before baking. Spritz treats are the most popular ones, especially for Christmas.
- Rolled ones – these are made with a stiffer dough, which is rolled and cut into shapes. The most popular rolled sweets are the Gingerbread men, traditionally baked around Christmas.
- Filled cakes – most often with a filling of fruit or jam.
- No-bake treats – made with ingredients that require no baking, like nuts, cereals, and oats. Oatmeal or granola clusters, rum balls, or any other raw desserts are some good examples.
- Refrigerated cakes – the raw dough gets shaped into a roll, which is cut prior to serving. Pinwheel cakes are the most popular ones.
- Sandwich biscuits – two thin rolled or pressed pastries, with a filling between them. Fillings can be various: cream, jam, peanut butter, chocolate, ice cream, and more.
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Even though some types of wafers existed since ancient times, they were not as sweet as today’s treats.
However, in the 7th century AD in Persia, with the first known usage of sugar, the first cookies were born. Later they were spread to the European ground with the Muslim invasion of Spain, and by the 14th century were beloved by almost every European country.
They arrived at the American continent in the 1620s with the arrival of the Dutch in New Amsterdam. Their word for the dessert was “koekje” (or little cake) which was later adapted to the English language as “cookie”.
Still, the modern version of this beloved pastry got its texture and shape in the 18th century.
Moreover, in the 1930s American chef, Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the famous chocolate chip variety by accident.
While working at Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts, she added chopped semi-sweet chocolate in the original recipe wanting to create chocolate ones. Ruth believed the chocolate pieces would melt, but that didn’t happen. However, she served the newly invented treats to the guests and – they loved them!
Soon they became favorite treats in almost every US state.
Even though there are many varieties of this dessert, most baked (or no-bake) goods consist of:
- Flour – all-purpose flour is the most common choice. However, for gluten-free alternatives, gluten-free flour is used. Moreover, for keto and paleo varieties, low carb flour like almond or coconut flour is used.
- Sugar – mostly granulated (or powdered) white or brown sugar (or a combination of both). However, the sugar can be substituted with honey, coconut sugar, agave, or maple syrup as healthier sugar alternatives.
- Oil or fat (butter or shortening) – make the pastry both moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
- Eggs, baking soda, baking powder – are commonly used as leavening agents.
- Additional ingredients – peanut butter, chocolate chips, nuts, oats, raisins, and more, are added by preference.
There are many different types of cookies. Alongside chocolate chip, the most popular ones are:
- Peanut butter cookies – made with peanut butter as the main ingredient (smooth or crunchy), butter, white and brown sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, and baking soda, and a pinch of salt.
- Oatmeal cookies – made with the same ingredients as the latter, with added quick oats, and cinnamon. Vanilla extract, walnuts, or chocolate chips can be added, too.
- Sugar cookies – are also made with sugar, flour, eggs, butter, vanilla, baking powder, or baking soda. These treats are formed by hand or rolled and cut into different shapes. Usually, after baking they are decorated with sugar glaze, icing, and sprinkles. The most popular are the Christmas cookies, but they are made for Halloween, and Hanukkah, too.
Regarding ingredients (sugar and butter mostly), these desserts have a high-calorie count. For example, there are around 80 calories in sugar and in chocolate chip ones, and almost 100 calories in those made with oatmeal and peanut butter.
Most of the calories come from carbs (50%) and fat (45%).