— Cookie Monster, Sesame Street
It’s almost impossible to find a food about which everyone is in agreement. But there might be one: everyone loves cookies. Whether they’re known as “biscuits” (the UK and Australia), “keks” (Germany), “biscotti” (Italy), “galletas” (Spain), or something else, it’s a safe bet that nobody can resist a really good cookie, in any language. As the Girl Scouts once again ply their tasty fundraising wares (and wreak havoc with our New Year’s weight-loss resolutions), let’s take a closer look at them.
The word “cookie” is most likely derived from the Dutch word “koekje,” which translates to “small or little cake.” It’s a good descriptor, as they were originally used to test the oven temperature before baking a cake. A small amount of the batter would be formed into, well…a little cake, and baked to make sure the big cake wouldn’t burn during its turn in the oven. This was especially important when ingredients were at a premium.