Welcome to my blog, SCRIBBLING TO (IN)SANITY! First time here? I'm a romance writer who wants to believe most problems can be solved over coffee, a mixed drink or by anything covered in chocolate. I'm a believer in second chances and that it's always the right time to fall in love. As the saying goes, you're a guest in my house only once...then you're family. So I invite you to join the fun! I love comments but it's okay to lurk too - just know I'm glad you've found me and I hope you visit me again soon!

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Cookie History

It's that time of year when most of us venture into the kitchen to bake.  I have family and friends that make cookies that are so elaborate and perfect, they very well could have come from a local bakery.

Then there are the people like me - the ones that usually stick to the same old, tried and true recipes that I've been baking up for the holiday for years - the ones we pretty much KNOW will be edible.

So, just how long have people been baking cookies?

The earliest references to cookie style flat cakes dates back to 7th century Persia, where sugar is believed to have first been cultivated. Both large and small pastries are well documented in the Persian Empire. When the Muslims invaded Spain, sugar came along for the ride and then found it's way to Northern Europe as a result of the Crusades.

By the late 14th century, small filled wafers could be purchased on the streets of Paris.

As people traveled more and more, biscuits became a popular staple. Hardtack was found onboard every ocean going vessel for both it's ease of storage and because it stayed edible (barely...ick) for years.

During the early 17th century, the English, Scotch and Dutch immigrants brought the first cookies to the United States in the form of the simple butter cookie, or commonly known as the English teacake or Scottish Shortbread. Most early American cookbooks didn't call them cookies, but instead listed them at the end of the cake chapters (since they were really nothing more than small, flat cakes) and were given whimsical names like Cry Babies or Jumbles.

 During the 1800's (when my current WIP, Surrender to the Sheriff, is set) sugar was available in the local general stores, along with molasses and other spices to make even the most basic cookies.

Over the years as our fascination with the "cookie" has escalated, we now have cookbooks devoted to them! From simple to gourmet to even cookies for our pets, I think it's pretty safe to say that our society is enamored with this small baked treat.

Over the next few weeks I'll be baking up my time-tested cookies, but I also like to try out a new recipe or two. Here's one that I confess I haven't made but am thinking seriously about (the tequila in the recipe is kinda scary...)

Mexican Wedding Cake

1 Cup vegetable shortening
6 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon tequila
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup pecans, chopped
Powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, cream the shortening and the powdered sugar. Add in tequila. Gradually blend in the flour. Fold in the pecans. Pinch off walnut sized pieces and roll into balls. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Roll in powdered sugar and place on wire rack to cool.


Are you trying a new recipe this year for the holiday?


  1. I've just about stopped baking for the holidays. None of us need the added sugar and my granddaughter isn't old enough to notice. The word cookie is strictly North American. Everyone else uses either cake or biscuit.

    1. I hear you on the "extra" sugar, I've been trying to cut down some the sugar in some recipes if I can. :)

  2. It's only 1 teaspoon! LOL :D You can do it. I need to make sugar cookies soon. People are starting to revolt.

    1. I know...one teaspoon should be fine. It's just that it's tequila which usually knocks me for a loop :)

  3. How fun to learn about the history of cookies! Every year I plan to try something new, but once we've made and decorated the traditional sugar cookies and gingerbread men, I'm too worn out to try something else. Maybe I should make the new cookies first.

  4. Ooh, those wedding cake cookies sound delightful. I might have to try making them. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the interesting history of cookies.

  5. I had not known that about cookies, Debora. Great post. And that receipe (or as my grandmother would say, "Receipt")sounds yummy. I've made a similar one without the tequila, but I say that will make it head and shoulders above the old version LOL. I do think I'll increase the amount though. A cup of tequila. One teaspoon for the cookie, the rest for me :)

  6. I'm a sucker for food history blog posts. Loved this! We'll be making a browned butter cookie for the holiday. Fun historical tidbit. Women in Scandanavian who had limited resources for spices and things would brown their butter (cook the butter until the white little protein bits sink the the bottom of the pan and turn brown) to add a nutty flavor to their baked good. I discovered the recipe just a few years ago and it's quickly become a staple of our holiday baking. There are soooo yum!


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