Chewy or crunchy, chocolaty or nutty, flat or twisted... A cookie is a cookie, but depending on where in the world it originates, a cookie may be called by another name and may look and taste very different from the kind of cookie you're used to.
A cookie in the most basic terms is a sweet, baked, flour-based finger food. But it can come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and textures. One country's iconic cookie may be light and fluffy, while another's may be triangular and jam-filled or even waffle-like and filled with syrup. Still, a cookie by any other name, or from any other country, would smell just as sweet.
Click Here to see The Complete List of What Cookies Look and Taste Like Around the World Named for its twisted shape, this golden-brown butter cookie that is flavored with vanilla and sprinkled with sesame seeds can be twistedinto shapes such as a figure eight, a hairpin twist, a braided circle, a wreath, a horseshoe, or a Greek letter. It’s traditionally eaten on Easter in Greece. Photo Credit: © Flickr /camilita91
Called either lebkuchen, meaning “gingerbread,” or pfefferkuchen, meaning “pepper cookie,” this cookie is softer than the traditional gingerbread cookie. It can be rectangular or round and has a sweet, slightly nutty taste. It’s generally made with spices of aniseed, coriander, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and allspice, giving it a spicy aroma, and with nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, to give it a little crunch. Similar recipes date back to ancient Egypt, but the most well-known variation of the cookie is the nürnberger lebkuchen, first made in Nürnberg. Germany, where it was made into creative shapes and designs and decorated by a professional guild of gingerbread makers, the Lebkuchner Guild. Photo Credit: © Flickr /Regensburger2010
Click Here to see The Complete List of What Cookies Look and Taste Like Around the World The macaron that we know today is a little different from the original Italian macaron: an almond meringue cookie, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The Italian macaron came to France in 1533, when the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, who were seeking refuge during the French Revolution, earned their housing by baking and selling macarons. French macarons, light and crisp cookies that melt in your mouth, were invented in the 20th century by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, who thought to join two meringues and fill them with ganache. Today, macarons come in all kinds of colors and flavors, such as raspberry, pistachio, chestnut, basil lime, and rose and white chocolate — the flavor options are limitless. But the original French macaron combined two almond meringues, filled with chocolate ganache. Photo Credit: © Flickr /mellow-stuff mie
Flavored with maple syrup and shaped like Canada’s national symbol the maple leaf, this cream-filled cookie is enjoyed on Canada Day as well as year-round. Photo Credit: Facebook/Maple Leaf Cookies
Click Here to see The Complete List of What Cookies Look and Taste Like Around the World Originating from Cataluña, this cookie is traditionally made with ground almonds; formed into balls; rolled in cocoa powder, candied cherries, coconut flakes, or pine nuts; and often flavored with coffee or cinnamon. The cookies are prepared for Dia de Todos los Santos, or All Saints Day, and are often served with moscatel or cava, which is Spanish sparkling wine. Photo Credit: © Flickr /rofi
The first cookies, though, were not intended to be cookies. Dating back to the seventh century Persia -- one of the first countries to grow and use sugar -- it's believed that cookies were originally used as test cakes to test the temperature in an oven. With the growing spice trade, cooking techniques and ingredients, made their way into Northern Europe and the rest of the world, resulting in the various kinds of cookies we know today.
Unless you've had the treat of sampling cookies all over the world, you may be missing out on other countries' iconic cookies. Depending on where you are, some of these cookies can be bought in grocery stores, ordered at specialty bake shops and famous cafés, or picked up at seasonal and year-round markets.
Australia's national cookie the Anzac biscuit, a "bikkie" made with rolled oats and often coconut and golden syrup, is baked daily at one of Sydney's most celebrated bakeries, Flour and Stone, where it's made with two different types of coconut. Lebkuchen, a softer type of gingerbread cookie that has a sweet, slightly nutty taste, can be found every Christmas at Nuremberg's Christmas Market in Germany. Most of us know the macaron, a light and crisp cookie, filled with ganache, that melts in your mouth and comes in all kinds of colors and flavors. And any macaron-lover must visit Paris' famous Ladurée, notable for its macarons.
The panellet -- a Spanish cookie that is traditionally prepared for Dia de Todos los Santos, or All Saints Day, in Spain -- is made with ground almonds; formed into balls; rolled in cocoa powder, candied cherries, coconut flakes or pine nuts and often flavored with coffee or cinnamon. A good place to try one is at Barcelona's Foix de Sarrià, a bakery, which serves all kinds of panellets. In the Netherlands, a stroopwafel is a national sweet treat made by combining two round waffle halves, filled with syrup or caramel, and dipping one side in chocolate. It's available at Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp street market, where vendors will coat the cookie with generous amounts of syrup. Also known as a vanilla crescent, avanillekipferl is a small, crescent-shaped cookie that is made with ground almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts, flavored with vanilla and dusted with sugar. Stop in at Café Central or The Demel in Austria for a taste.
And of course, the chocolate chip cookie -- chocolaty, chewy, and gooey -- is an American cookie icon.
-- Haley Willard, The Daily Meal
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