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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