Yup, there is a “national ___ day” for about every tihing under the sun, so why not cookies. I have been blessed in my life to know some great artisans of the cookie baking variety. I don’t think I have yet to meet someone who does not like at least one type of cookie…. chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, ginger snaps, shortbread, macaroon, and the list goes on.We can thank the Dutch for more than windmills and tulips. The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word koekie, meaning “little cake.” Hard cookie-like wafers have existed for as long as baking has been documented. Not surprisingly, they traveled well, too. However, they were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern-day standards.
The origin of the cookie appears to begin in Persia in the 7th century, soon after the use of sugar became common in the region. They then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. Cookies were common at all levels of society throughout Europe by the 14th century, from the royal cuisine to the street vendors.
Cookies arrived in America in the 17th century. Macaroons and gingerbread cookies were among the popular early American cookies. In most English-speaking countries outside of North America, the most common word for cookie is “biscuit” – which I found quite confusing when I lived in Kenya. Someone asked me if I would like a biscuit and my mind turned to this big ‘ol buttermilk biscuit… Alas, I was being offered a sugar cookie.
That is all well and good, but how did we arrive at National Cookie Day? In 1976, Sesame Street included National Cookie Day on its calendar for the first time on November 26th. The Cookie Monster also proclaimed his own National Cookie Day in the 1980 book The Sesame Street Dictionary. Then in 1987, Matt Nader of the Blue Chip Cookie Company out of San Francisco created Cookie Day, celebrating it on December 4th.