Edible Symbols! Happiness in your hand!
The word cookie (also spelled cooky) comes from the Dutch koekje which means “little cake”. While small hard biscuits have been around as long as bread, our modern concept of a cookie as a sweet treat has its origins in 7th century Persia. The cookie traveled via the Muslim conquest of Spain across Europe, becoming a common foodstuff by the 14th century.
Cookies come in various forms: they may be a “jumble” of ingredients coated with butter and sugar and made into little piles that harden as they cool. They may be dough “dropped” from a spoon or dough spread on a pan that is later cut into squares or bars.
Perhaps most enchanting is the molded cookie. Cookie molds date back to 2000 BC in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, although dough was surely pinched and pulled into amusing shapes before then. Rolled cookies were believed to be a later development. More flour is added to the dough, making it stiffer and more suitable for rolling and stamping into shapes.
A cookie cutter is a tool used to cut an outline into rolled dough. Cookie cutters may be made of tin or copper sheets cut into strips that are then shaped into an outline. Early cookie cutters were often in the form of simple geometric shapes, but by the 19th century tin workers were fashioning them into all kinds of animals as well as flags. Today the cookie cutter has fully evolved into a decorative form all its own. A myriad shapes celebrate common holidays such as Christmas and Halloween, or personal interests as varied as fly fishing and shoe shopping!
Think of something that is meaningful to you, from the letters in your name to the man on the moon. Chances are there is a cookie cutter that speaks to it. Bon appetit!