Bake Cookies Day

December 18 is just one week before Christmas, so if you haven’t yet started your holiday baking, today is the day to begin! Although we usually think of Christmas cookies at this time of year, this is a day to bake any cookie, whether related to a holiday or not.

Cookie recipes for Hanukkah can be found here. Traditional cookies for Ramadan can be found here. And a recipe for Kwanzaa cookies can be found here.  Or bake cookies for no reason! You can find a link to quick and easy cookies for any time here.

One of the easiest cookies to make is shortbread, and they are so good. Ingredients are:

1 C      butter
2 C      sifted all-purpose flour
½ C     sifted confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp    salt

Instructions
1. Cream the butter. Blend the dry ingredients into the butter
2. Pat the stiff dough into an ungreased 9 x 9 inch pan, and press edges down. Pierce with a fork through the dough every half-inch.
3. Bake at 325° for 25–30 minutes. Cut into about 20 squares while warm.
For Christmas, I usually make two batches. To one, I add red food coloring, and to the other green. They make a lovely color as part of a plate of cookies to take to family or friends.

If you don’t feel like firing up the oven, another simple cookie (or candy, depending on how you look at it) is Haystacks. There are several different ways to do this, but my favorite is to take a bag of butterscotch chips and a bag of chocolate chips. Melt them together, and stir in 16 ounces of chow mein noodles. Drop by spoonsful onto wax paper and let cool. Yum!

Have fun baking up a batch or more of cookies today.

Quotes about baking

I love cookies baking. During the winter, they have these candles that smell like cookies, and I always buy like a hundred of them.–Jared Padalecki

Baking is how you start kids at cooking in the kitchen. It’s fun whether it’s baking bread or cookies. With baking, you have to be exact when it comes to ingredients.–Sandra Lee

I think baking cookies is equal to Queen Victoria running an empire. There’s no difference in how seriously you take the job, how seriously you approach your whole life.–Martha Stewart

Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them with you.–Maida Heatter

If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.–Regina Brett

Baking may be regarded as a science, but it’s the chemistry between the ingredients and the cook that gives desserts life. Baking is done out of love, to share with family and friends, to see them smile.–Anna Olson

Baking makes me focus. On weighing the sugar. On sieving the flour. I find it calming and rewarding because, in fairness, it is sort of magic – you start off with all this disparate stuff, such as butter and eggs, and what you end up with is so totally different. And also delicious.–Marian Keyes

It’s all about a balancing act between time, temperature and ingredients: That’s the art of baking.–Peter Reinhart

Winter = baking season. It’s on.–Taylor Swift

Baking happens with ingredients that last for months and come to life inside a warm oven. Baking is slow and leisurely.–Regina Brett

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National Cookie Day

December 4 is the day to celebrate cookies, or if you are outside the United States, biscuits. In 1987, Matt Nader of the San Francisco-based Blue Chip Cookie Company created Cookie Day, saying: “It’s just like having National Secretaries Day… It will just be a fun thing to do.” Needless to say, it is also endorsed by the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. He proclaimed it in the 1980 book The Sesame Street Dictionary.

The English word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch word “koekie” meaning little cake. Cookies have been around a long time if you count the hard-baked wafer type food that people carried on trips because they traveled well. The origin of what we would consider cookies appears to begin in Persia in the seventh century, soon after the use of sugar became common in the region. They were then spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. Cookies arrived in the U.S. in the seventeenth century. They were a little different than today, perhaps. The cookie recipe in the first American cookbook had some interesting ingredients. You can find a modern-day adaptation of the recipe here. Ginger cookies were also popular. An adapted recipe from 1784 can be found here.

Of course, there are all kinds of cookies, but since it is only three weeks until Christmas, it’s time to be making those Christmas cookies to eat and to share. If you are too busy to bake, you can find a list of places giving out free cookies on December 4, here.

Although Oreos are a huge favorite for cookies from the store, it turns out people really prefer homemade, which isn’t too surprising. Nor is the fact that chocolate chip cookies are number one, followed by chocolate, then oatmeal chocolate chip. So enjoy a cookie today!

Free Cookie at Great American Cookies on Dec. 4. (PRNewsfoto/Great American Cookies)

Quotes about cookies

In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.–Salman Rushdie

I love cookies baking. During the winter, they have these candles that smell like cookies, and I always buy like a hundred of them.–Jared Padalecki

I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? They’re incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies. A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.–Bobby Flay

Classic Christmas cookies are really time-consuming. Instead, make a bar you can bake in a pan and just cut up, like a brownie or a blondie or a shortbread, which still has that Christmas vibe.–Zooey Deschanel

Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

I think baking cookies is equal to Queen Victoria running an empire. There’s no difference in how seriously you take the job, how seriously you approach your whole life.–Martha Stewart

I’m a mom, a full-time mom when I’m not taping. I do the carpool thing, and bake the cookies, and do the homework.–Vanna White

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands.–Paula Deen (and many others!)

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

Peace means no one is worried about anyone else’s cookie…in this moment we are all quietly content with the cookies we have.–Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I mean, at the end of the day, if you can’t have a Girl Scout cookie and a piece of cheese, what is life all about?–Amanda Seyfried

What thought or message would you put in a fortune cookie? “Stop reading this. Eat the cookie and live your life.–Veronica Roth

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National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (not to be confused with National Chocolate Chip Day, which is May 15). The most popular cookie in America, they were invented by accident. For many, this will be a familiar story.

Back in 1930, Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth, of course, did all the cooking for the guests. One day when she was mixing up a batch of chocolate cookies, she realized she was out of baking chocolate and substituted broken pieces of a Nestles chocolate bar instead, expecting them to melt as the cookies baked. They didn’t and by happy accident, she had created the most wonderful of all cookies. They were originally known as Toll House Crunch Cookies, and we still today often refer to them as Toll House Cookies. Hooray for women inventors and creative cooks!

Wakefield not only did the cookie loving public a huge favor, but Nestles as well, since sales of their chocolate soared, and finally they printed her recipe on their bags of chips in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate for her. You can make any number of variations on the cookies, but to my mind, Ruth Wakefield’s recipe is the best. If however, you are looking for something new, simply typing chocolate chip cookie recipes into your favorite search engine will give you a whole page of suggestions to try.

Of course, one of the good things about a day like this is that places give out free chocolate chip cookies. You can find one such list of them here.

So celebrate this day. Either make a batch or buy some chocolate chip cookies and celebrate.

Quotes about (mostly) chocolate chip cookies

Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.–Woody Paige

Number one, I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.–Debbi Fields

I love chocolate chip cookies – really anything with chocolate will do!–Laura Wilkinson

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.–Salman Rushdie (& many others)

If I had any choice in the matter, I’d stay in my comfy bed and eat warm chocolate chip cookies all day.–Simone Elkeles

If you can’t change the world with chocolate chip cookies, how can you change the world?–Pat Murphy

I will never get tired of making chocolate chip cookies. Never.–Danielle Campbell

It’s all about what you feel on the inside – and I’m feeling like a chocolate chip cookie because I had about ten of them last night!–Amber Benson

I love watching keep-fit videos while munching chocolate chip cookies.–Dolly Parton

When we think of classic American desserts, we tend to imagine apple pie and ice cream. However, the most classic American dessert of all might be the chocolate chip cookie.–Homaro Cantu

I think the kazoo and chocolate-chip cookies have a lot in common. All you need is a mouth to appreciate either one.–Wally Amos

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.–Nora Ephron

I’m addicted to chocolate chip cookies. I mean that seriously. If there are chocolate chip cookies, I will devour them.–Hasan Minhaj

I’m passionate about anything I align myself with. You want to talk about chocolate chip cookies? I’m not going to open a chocolate chip cookie store, but I will talk your ear off about it.–Blake Lively

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National Sugar Cookie Day

July 9 is the day to celebrate sugar cookies. One of my earliest cooking memories is helping my mother cut out and decorate sugar cookies. We did it at Christmas time and had a bell, a star, a tree, and, of all things, a chicken cookie cutter.

Sugar Cookie Day can be traced back to the Nazarene (or Amish) sugar cookie, created in the mid-1700s by the Moravians in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The invention of the cookie cutter in 1875 helped to make cookies easier with more variation and complicated shapes. In those days, tinsmiths made the cutters by hand. The cookies are so popular, that in 2001, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted this as its official cookie. By the way, the word cookie comes from a Dutch word meaning little cake.

One thing that makes sugar cookies so popular, it that it is an easy recipe. Traditional sugar cookies are made with just six ingredients: sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. The primary flavor in the cookies is vanilla. And yet they are also infinitely adaptable since you can make them in various shapes, with various decorations. And they are an easy cookie for children to help with. Of course, you must remember to put out a plate of decorated sugar cookies and a glass of milk for Santa on Christmas Eve.

All the suggestions I saw for celebrating this day said to pick up some sugar cookies at the store, or some dough to cut and bake your own. However, with such a simple recipe, I think it’s a much better idea to make them from scratch yourself. (Though by all means buy them if you that’s the only way you will get any.) In case you don’t have that recipe, here is a link to a basic, easy one on Food.com.

Quotes about cookies

America ships tons of sugar cookies to Denmark and Denmark ships tons of sugar cookies to America. Wouldn’t it be more efficient just to swap recipes?–Michael Pollan

I like cookies, any cookie you put in front of me – animal cookies, sugar cookies, anything crunchy.–Maria Shriver

Cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

Sometimes me think, “What is Friend?” Then me say, “Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.–The Cookie Monster

My grannies would both bake things like shortbreads and cookies. I think whenever I smell those kinds of things it really takes me back to my childhood.–Curtis Stone

I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.–Debbi Fields

I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? They’re incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies. A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.–Bobby Flay

People have got to learn: if they don’t have cookies in the cookie jar, they can’t eat cookies.–Suze Orman

Every cookie and candy I put in the fridge, it always manages to taste better when it’s cold.–Hilary Rhoda

Don’t expect too much from yourself. What I like to do when I have a day off is make various cookie doughs and freeze them. Then I always have that on hand if I need it.–Giada De Laurentiis

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

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National Cookie Cutter Week

One of my fond memories growing up is making sugar cookies at Christmas time. I loved helping cut out the cookies and then helping to frost them and sprinkle on the colored sugar. We had cutters shaped like a tree, a bell, a star, and, of all things, a chicken.

The first week in December is National Cookie Cutter Week. The holiday was started by Paula Mullins of Kentucky in 1996. When she was gathering signatures for the petition to create the holiday, she gave a cutter shaped like a horse’s head to each person who signed. Members of the Cookie Cutters Collector’s Club can sign up each year to receive a newly created cutter during this week. You can see some of them on their page here.

By the way, the name cookie comes from the Dutch word koekje or koekie meaning “little cake.” According to Gone-ta-Pott, there are four basic ways to cut out cookies:

  • Cutouts: Cutouts are the simplest of cookie cutters and only “cut out” the shape in the dough.
  • Detail Imprint: Imprints not only cut out the dough they also leave an imprint in the dough that will last through baking.
  • Cookie Molds: Springerle molds are the most ancient of examples (can be traced back to the 14th century) and perhaps the beginning of cookie & cracker shaping.
  • Cookie press: Automated or hand operated press used to make large batches of cookies quickly (note from me – when I use a cookie press, nothing happens quickly except I get frustrated!)

Did you know there is a cookie cutter museum? It is located in Joplin, Missouri, and its official name is the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum. A free plastic cookie cutter is available to any visitor who wants one.

When I was looking up quotes about cookie cutters, I quickly realized the phrase is most often used pejoratively, meaning something not original – a cookie cutter plot is one with no imagination. Guess it’s best to stick to actual cookies!

coooookie

Quotes about cookies

Cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.–Neil Gaiman

“Empty?! You took all the cookies!”
“They were crying to get out of the jar… Cookies get claustrophobia too, you know!”–Charles M. Schulz

I am sorry; I cannot help you. I am only a cookie.–Chinese fortune cookie

Whatever happened, at least we had cookies.–Diana Rowland

Everyone knows that if you eat a cookie, and the cookie next to it is broken, you’re required to eat that broken cookie as well to keep the package looking clean.–Michelle M. Pillow

In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.–Salmon Rushdie

My grannies would both bake things like shortbreads and cookies. I think whenever I smell those kinds of things it really takes me back to my childhood.–Curtis Stone

I like cookies, any cookie you put in front of me – animal cookies, sugar cookies, anything crunchy.–Maria Shriver

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

Christmas for me is all about spending time with my family. I cherish any chance we have to spend all day together making gingerbread houses, baking cookies, or sitting around and watching movies.–Blake Lively

Christmas cookies can’t help but be retro – they are memory first, sugar-flour-egg-redhot-gumdrop-sparkle reality second.–Dana Goodyear

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National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

June 12 is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. Did you know peanut butter cookies are a recent invention? The Aztecs invented peanut butter in the 14th century, but peanut butter cookies didn’t become an American favorite until the early 1900s.

The first person to really promote the use of peanuts for human consumption was George Washington Carver. In 1916, he published a paper called “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption,” which had three recipes for peanut butter cookies. It also has all sort of other peanut recipes for soup (if you’ve never had peanut soup, you are really missing something!), bread, muffins, cake, and all sorts of other things. The paper also extols the uses and health benefits of peanuts. You can find the complete paper on the Web at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/carver-peanut/. It’s a fascinating read.

In 1932, the Schenectady Gazette published the first peanut butter cookie recipe that called for crisscrossed fork marks on the top. Today, a peanut butter cookie just wouldn’t be quite right without this iconic decoration!

I love peanut butter cookies, but as a diabetic, I substitute applesauce for much of the sugar in the cookies (and use sugar substitute for the rest), and whole wheat flour for white. I also make my own peanut butter by grinding up peanuts, which takes about five minutes in a food processor, so it is also sugar free. You can find recipes for relatively healthy cookies by looking up “sinless peanut butter cookies” on the Web.

Healthy or not, enjoy a peanut butter cookie on its special day!

peanut_butter_cookies

I couldn’t find quotes about peanut butter cookies, so here are interspersed quotes about peanut butter, and quotes about cookies.

Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.–James A. Garfield

Cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite-sized and personal.–Sandra Lee

I make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich.–Jack Black

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.–Barbara Jordan

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.–Charles M. Schulz

Today me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.–The Cookie Monster

Oreos and peanut butter; I like that. And peanut butter and apples, peanut butter and chocolate.–Jacquelyn Jablonski

My grannies would both bake things like shortbreads and cookies. I think whenever I smell those kinds of things it really takes me back to my childhood.–Curtis Stone

We have a rule here: Anything below 36 inches has to be brown or black – the color of chocolate or peanut butter!–Candice Olson

I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know? … A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays.–Bobby Flay

I cannot walk past Peanut Butter M&Ms and Oreos.–Horatio Sanz

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.–Unknown

Do you want to make a tamale with peanut butter and jelly? Go Ahead! Somebody will eat it.–Bobby Flay

The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.–Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Who would guess that a peanut butter and bacon sandwich is so good it will bring tears to your eyes? It does. Add lettuce, and you have a complete meal, with every known daily nutrient needed by the average 200 pound man.–Roger Welsch (Diggin’ In and Piggin’ Out)

Remember, there are cookies waiting here for you.–Dean Koontz (Deeply Odd)

Everyone has the talent to some degree: even making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you know whether it tastes better to you with raspberry jam or grape jelly; on chewy pumpernickel or white toast.–Anna Shapiro (A Feast of Words)

Whatever happened, at least we had cookies.–Diana Rowland (Vengeance of the Demon)

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