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Cookies: Made of butter and love


October 22, 2012
Billie Shelton ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

So I see that this is National Cookie Month. What a fine reason to celebrate. In some homes, I suppose, you could say that every month is Cookie Month. We've been like that at my house in the past, although I find that the empty nest is not conducive to keeping a full cookie jar on the counter.

Chocolate chip cookies used to be a standard in our cookie jar, of course, in various varieties, but then there were also other flavors like pineapple oatmeal and peanut butter. I was usually going for fast, so that meant drop cookies instead of rolled or frosted or something else cute. And nobody seemed to care.

I like cookies, and I guess I just liked having a home with cookies in the cookie jar when I could do that. I guess that's a throwback idea, though, because when I check an online source I find that the most popular cookie in the U.S. is Chips Ahoy, which you'll find in the grocery store. Truthfully, my kids still look at Oreos as a big treat.

Cookie-like hard wafers have existed for as long as baking is documented, I found. That's in part because they travel well. Those cookies that traveled west across the prairies, though, were not sweet enough to be considered cookies by our standards today. That didn't happen until the seventh century when sugar came into more common use. One of the most popular early cookies, because they traveled especially well, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made mostly from sweetener, nuts, and water.

Today, the chocolate chip cookie is the most popular cookie in the U.S. It is a standard, a tradition, a given when the idea of cookies comes to mind. I was surprised to learn that this American staple didn't even come into being until 1937, and that was just by accident because an innkeeper in Massachusetts wanted to make a chocolate cookie but her pieces of chocolate didn't melt into the batter as she planned.

I think that chocolate chip was the first kind of cookie I learned to bake back in my 4-H days. It's pretty hard to mess up on dropped cookies, although I'm sure I did at least a time or two when I did something like forget the leavening or part of the flour. I do remember that my mom was glad when I could bake cookies because she didn't have much time to do that. And I remember when one of her friends, who had no daughters in the family, remarked that she wished she had someone to bake cookies at her house.

So whether you'll be celebrating National Cookie Month or not, just remember this quote from an old Norwegian: "Cookies are made of butter and love."



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