History Biscuits Edition
Cookie-like hard wafers have existed for as long as baking is documented, in part because they deal with travel very well, but they were usually not sweet enough to be considered biscuits by modern standards. In many English-speaking countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, the most common word for a crisp cookie is biscuit. The term cookie is normally used to describe chewier ones. However, in many regions, both terms are used. The container used to store it may be called a cookie jar.
biscuits appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.
With global travel becoming widespread at that time, biscuits made a natural travel companion, a modernized equivalent of the travel cakes used throughout history. One of the most popular early biscuits, which travelled especially well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made largely from nuts, sweetener, and water.
biscuits came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s. The Dutch word “koekje” was Anglicized to “cookie” or cooky. The earliest reference to biscuits in America is in 1703, when “The Dutch in New York provided…’in 1703…at a funeral 800 cookies…'”
The most common modern cookie, given its style by the creaming of butter and sugar, was not common until the 18th century.
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