Ingredient of the Week, November 25: Cookies
The first cookies were created by accident. Cooks used a small amount of cake batter to test their oven temperature before baking a large cake. These little test cakes were called "koekje", meaning "little cake" in Dutch.
Perfect for snacking or as dessert, cookies are consumed in 95.2 percent of U.S. households. Americans alone consume over 2 billion cookies a year, or 300 cookies for each person annually.
There are six basic cookie styles, any of which can range from tender-crisp to soft. A drop cookie is made by dropping spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet.
Bar cookies are created when a batter or soft dough is spooned into a shallow pan, then baked, cooled and cut into bars.
Hand-formed (or molded) cookies are made by shaping dough by hand into small balls, logs, crescents and other shapes.
Pressed cookies are formed by pressing dough through a cookie press or pastry bag to form fancy shapes and designs.
Refrigerator (or icebox) cookies are made by shaping the dough into a log, which is refrigerated until firm, then sliced and baked.
Rolled cookies begin by using a rolling pin to roll the dough out flat; then it is cut into decorative shapes with cookie cutters or a pointed knife.
In England, cookies are called biscuits , in Spain they're galletas , Germans call them keks, in Italy they're biscotti and so on.
The first American cookie was originally brought to this country by the English, Scots, and Dutch immigrants. Our simple "butter cookies" strongly resemble the English tea cakes and the Scotch shortbread.
The Southern colonial housewife took great pride in her cookies, almost always called simply "tea cakes." These were often flavored with nothing more than the finest butter, sometimes with the addition of a few drops of rose water.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of cookie recipes in the United States. No one book could hold the recipes for all the various types of cookies.
What are your favorite cookies to make for Christmas?