The Origins of Biscuits and Cookies

The history of the biscuit follows that of sugar and it seems that the first biscuits were baked in Persia during the 7th Century BCE. It wasn’t until the Moorish conquest of Spain and the crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries that Arabic cooking practices slowly came to Europe.

The modern biscuit, however, is a French invention, and by the 14th century it was possible to buy little fruit-filled wafers on the streets of paris. The name of these comes from a corruption of the Latin bis cotum (baked twice) which became biscuit in English and biscotti in Italian. Traditionally, such biscuits are hard and dry in texture and they’re know (and commonplace) from recipe books going back at least to the Elizabethan era.

In contrast, cookies are Dutch in origin. The name itself derives from the Dutch word ‘koekje’ (small or round cake) which represents the small pieces of dough that Dutch bakers used to place in their ovens to test the temperature. However, the classic cookie, the ‘cocolate chip cookie’ was only invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977), of Whitman, Massachusetts, who ran the Toll House Restaurant. This type of cookie didn’t reach nationwide fame until 1939 when Betty Crocker popularized it in her radio show. Today, however, the chocolate chip cookie is by far the commonest baked and eaten cake in America.

Below you will find a recipe for a classic British biscuit and a classic American cookie so that you can bake these for yourselves and appreciate both the similarities and the differences between these classic baked goods.

Fruit Shrewsbury Biscuits

This is a classic and easy to bake lightly fruited biscuit, ostensibly originating in the Shrewsbury region of England.

Ingredients:
125g butter
150g caster sugar2 egg yolks
225g plain flour
freshly-grated zest of 1 lemon
60g currants
sugar to dust

Method:
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy then add the egg yolks and beat together to combine.
Stir-in the flour, lemon zest and currants. Mix to a firm dough (add a little water if it’s too stiff) then turn onto a lightly-floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut into rounds with a 6cm pastry cutter with fluted edges.

Transfer the pastry rounds onto lightly-greased baking sheets and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C, baking for about 15 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and only very slightly browned.

Remove from the oven and dust the top with coarse sugar then allow to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the classic American chocolate chip cookie recipe made with brown and granulated sugars and hearkens back to the 1937 original.

Ingredients:
225g unsalted butter
150g granulated sugar
160g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
320g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
260g plain chocolate chips
120g walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)

Method:
Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix the eggs together in a bowl then add a little at a time to the butter mix, combining thoroughly after each addition. Now add the vanilla and beat in to combine.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture and beat thoroughly until completely incorporated. Add the chocolate chips (and the nuts, if using) about half way through mixing so that they’re evenly distributed through the dough.

The dough should be fairly firm and if you find it too soft then cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (this will set the butter and make the dough stiffer). When ready drop about 2 tbsp of the mixture per cookie onto a lightly-greased baking tray, allowing at least 8cm between each cookie for them to spread. Place in an oven pre-heated to 190°C and bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I hope that you have learnt something about biscuit and cookie baking and that you will now want to know more about these baked goods.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

Many people like to treat their families to home-baked goodies. As just about everyone knows, America’s favorite cookie is the good old Chocolate Chip. Recipes and variations abound, and often families have their own versions of this most-loved sweet. What some people may not be aware of, though, is the origin of this cookie. The story goes that a Massachusetts innkeeper by the name of Ruth Wakefield accidentally invented the scrumptious diet-breaker. It seems Mrs. Wakefield was baking a batch of chocolate cookies in the kitchen of the Toll House Inn and substituted grated chocolate bits for melted chocolate. Apparently, Ruth was hoping that the chocolate bits would melt and mix into the batter as they baked. It seems she was wrong. Her mistake, however, became one of this country’s all-time favorite treats.

There are many variations of the Chocolate Chip cookie. Some popular ones include:

* Replacing the typical walnuts in the recipe with macadamias; * Mixing different types of chips with the chocolate, such as butterscotch or peanut butter; * Adding dried fruits, like raisins or cranberries.

My clan prefers the solidly unpretentious, classic chocolate chip cookie. Following is the recipe for my family’s favorite after-school snack, which is the classic Toll House version.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups semi-sweet morsels, 1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla, and the eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

This recipe makes approximately 60 delicious cookies.

Nokia 6303 Classic Vs LG KP500 Cookie – Complete Handsets in Their Own Right

Innovation and latest technology decides the popularity and effectiveness of handsets these days. With mobile technology developing at a fast pace, we are witnessing a scenario where technology is growing and the cost is coming down. Several large organizations have entered the competition, leading to a situation where customer is always the king. Brands like Nokia and LG are unveiling their latest handset at a fast pace, giving mobile lovers more than one reason to cheer.

Nokia particularly has always been a brand that has established itself as a reliable phone manufacturer with user friendly interface and all latest features. Their N-series exploits and E-series popularity are well documented. However, apart from these two mobile range the company has several other popular handsets in their kitty. The Nokia 6303 Classic is one such handset that combines elegant looks with long list of features resulting in a complete gadget. Similarly, the LG KP 500 Cookie is another well received gizmo that has become the flavor of the season ever since its unveiling.

Therefore it is only fitting that we compare these two gadgets in terms of Nokia 6303 Classic vs LG KP500 Cookie. The main difference is that whereas the LG cookie is a touchscreen phone, the 6303 is a regular one. The cookie is being hailed as one of the cheapest smart pda’s available today and was joined much later by the samsung star in its segment. It has a large 3.0 inches display with 240 x 400 pixels and support for 256 k colours. Such large TFT resistive touchscreen ensures that you always have easy access to phone’s features and other navigations. The 6303 on the other hand comes with a more modest 2.2 inches screen. The cookie is also lighter at 89g as compared to the 96g of nokia phone.

Both handsets are good in terms of memory capacity as well. For instance, the Nokia 6303 Classic comes with 64 MB of built-in memory which is further expandable upto 4GB with mircoSD. Similarly the LG KP500 Cookie has 48 mb of built-in memory expandable up to 16 GB. Such large size ensures that one always gets sufficient space to store large files, videos, songs and data on the mobile itself, having on the go access to all of the information. It also comes with an excellent camera of 3.15 mega pixel allowing you to take some memorable frames of the highest quality. The 6303 also comes with a similar 3.15 mp camera which means both of these handsets are equally good options for a camera phone.

However, these two are without 3G support but have advanced 2G facilities. The support GPRS and EDGE of class 32 and class 10 respectively. This means that one is at leisure to browse online from his gadget at a click of a button without having to log-in to his system. Bluetooth and USB port means transferring of files or sharing of videos, pictures with your friends as carried out in simple steps. Nokia 6303 Classic vs LG KP500 Cookie remains more or less the same in terms of music as well. This is because both gadgets support almost all sound formats available today in addition to their stereo FM radio with speakerphone.

Overall, we arrive at the conclusion that without being too much sophisticated, these gadgets pack in all of the advanced features. A user would not be disappointed after choosing either one of them and the choice should be based on his personal taste and liking.