By: The editors of Relish magazine
The word “cookie” is a corruption of the Dutch koekje, meaning “little cake.” But cookies are not a Dutch invention. Cookie-like confections date to 7th-century Persia, not coincidentally one of the first regions to cultivate sugar cane. As sugar spread, cookies followed. In the United States, successive waves of immigrants have contributed to our collective cookie jar—a heritage that’s unique even by name, since most English-speaking countries call them “biscuits.”
Speculation has it that many cookies were accidental byproducts of cake baking when bakers tested the temperature of their ovens with small bits of batter. Fanciful cookie shapes date to Medieval Germany, where gingerbread was a high art strictly regulated by guilds.
One of the most famous cookies, the Toll House Cookie, was invented in 1930 by Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Hoping to devise a chocolate sugar cookie, she chopped bar chocolate into her batter, expecting it to melt. It didn’t. She subsequently licensed her recipe to Nestle.
Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies
These addictive cookies are certain to be the hit of any bake sale or cookie swap. Hearty oats and shredded coconut provide a chewy texture while toasted pecans add crunch. Tightly covered, these cookies will keep 1 week, although they seldom last that long.
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- Preheat oven to 300F degrees and position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine oats, coconut, flour, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
3. Combine butter, maple syrup and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.
4. Combine baking soda and boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Add to maple syrup mixture, stirring well. Add maple extract. Stir into dry ingredients. Add pecans; stir well.
5. Place 1/4-cup size balls of dough on baking sheets, 3 inches apart. Flatten balls slightly.
6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and set, rotating positions halfway through the baking process. Cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Recipe by Julie Hession
Photo by Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn