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Published on 25 October 2022

The history of cookies


What is a cookie?

It is very unlikely that you have never heard of or ever had a cookie, but we will explain what they are just in case!

Cookies are a type of baked or cooked snack or dessert that are typically thin, tiny, and sweet. In most cases, it consists of flour, sugar, an egg, and either butter, oil, or another sort of fat. They often contain additional ingredients such as chocolate chips, sprinkles, caramel chunks, nuts, raisins, oats, and more.

The beginnings

Hard wafers that resemble cookies have been proven to have been around for as long as baking has been documented. Possibly because they carry very well and are easy to prepare. However, they were too different to be considered cookies according to modern standards. Cookies are thought to have originated in Persia sometime around the 7Th century AD. This might have been made possible by the explosion in sugar production and consumption in that region at the time.

It appears that the tiny cakes were actually manufactured to verify oven temperature rather than to be eaten as cookies. When there is no gas or power, you need to adapt. It is believed that the sweet treat was then spread to Europe as a result of travel, trade and multiple invasions.

End of the middle ages

By the 14th century, the ancestors of our modern cookies were commonplace in all tiers of society across Europe, from the cuisine served in royal courts to that sold by sellers on the street. Regional variants then started to appear.

At this time, bakery ovens were used to make the majority of cookies as common people did not have ovens in their homes yet. Cookies were still considered a luxury commodity in some ways despite their widespread popularity.

Cookies were so loved throughout Europe that Queen Elizabeth I of England commissioned some of her most significant guests' likenesses to be baked into gingerbread sculptures and then presented to them.

Conquering America

The Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s were the first to introduce cookies to the American colonists. "cookie" and "cooky" are both Anglicised forms of the Dutch word "koekje," which means "little cake.”. As you can imagine, they became so popular that they became an integral part of the culture there. So much so that cookies are still an extremely popular treat in America and are often synonymous with American cuisine. However, today’s cookies did not become widespread until the end of the 18th century/ beginning of the 19th century.

19th century

Thanks to the introduction of modern transportation options such as trains, ingredients could be shipped easily and be brought from far away. This means that bakers had new opportunities to create new and exciting recipes. This time also saw the arrival of the industrial revolution throughout Europe.

Companies such as Huntley & Palmers, McVitie’s, and Carr's were all established during this time period because all the conditions were reunited for cookies to be produced en masse.

In 1831, Huntley & Palmers came up with the idea for a stylish biscuit tin, which paved the way for the export of British cookies all over the world. Cadbury submitted a patent application for a chocolate-covered cookie in the year 1891.

20th Century

In the 20th century, another revolution happened: the arrival of electricity in homes! Thanks to a better-performing oven, refrigerators and ice boxes, cookies could now be kept for longer.

But the 20th century also saw the creation of the chocolate chip cookie It was created in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield, owner of Toll House Restaurant, and it forever transformed the world.

Last words

As you can see, cookies have a very rich and interesting history. They have travelled the world and undergone many modifications and improvements to become the treat we all know and love. If all this cookie talk has put you in the mood for a treat, check our website and discover our wide range of cakes, brownies and cookies!