About Sugar Cookies

Overview

Sugar cookies are a popular treat for people of all ages, especially children. Cutting sugar cookies to fit the season makes them appropriate for any time of year. Grocery stores often carry cookies with shapes, icing and sprinkles suitable for Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July and Halloween. Indulge in them whenever you want a treat that's simple yet undeniably sweet and delectable.

Types

Sugar cookies can be made at home from scratch, a mix or ready-made, refrigerated dough. Pillsbury Doughboy is a popular figure, and the sugar cookies that the company makes are a must-have for desserts around the holidays. Sugar cookies are frequently baked during the winter holidays, with icing in colors of red and green adorning the cookies. Sugar cookies can also serve as part of a gingerbread house set-up, serving as "sugar flowers" or parts of the edible garden and exterior scenes. Sugar cookies are also a popular dessert to get at food courts in malls. Mrs. Fields cookie shops serve freshly baked sugar cookies, and they have expanded to also sell bite-size sugar cookies. In fact, according to Mrs. Fields herself, ""I use nothing but the best ingredients. My cookies are always baked fresh. I price cookies so that you cannot make them at home for any less." Alongside these kinds of sugar cookies, there are also other cookie styles: the drop cookie, pressed cookie, bar cookie and molded cookie, Dough for dropped cookies is simply dropped by the spoonful onto a baking sheet. The pressed sugar cookie is created when dough is placed into a pastry bag. Any shape or design can then be created. Bar sugar cookies are created by pouring the batter into a small pan; they are then cooked to a golden color, cooled and cut to the desired bar size.

History

Neolithic farmers first cooked over hot stones, and they made a grain-water paste that led to much experimentation. Sugar cookies derived. According to the "The Oxford Companion to Food," Alan Davidson says, "The term [cookie] first appeared in print as long ago as 1703." It was derived in Northern Europe, and the word's origin is the Dutch Koeptje (koekje), meaning small cake. Despite the title, the earliest cookie-style cakes date back to Persia in the 600s. Persia was one of the first countries to reap and cultivate the delicious sugar substance.

Function

Cinnamon sugar cookies are exceedingly popular. Sometimes a more prominent additional ingredient is added to sugar cookies, altering the name--yet not the basic ingredients. M&M candies are often placed within a sugar cookie batter. Sugar cookies are inexpensive. These cookies travel well and are ideal for a lunch box dessert on the go. The dough can often be stored in the freezer for a month or longer, depending on the particular dough. Usually made with sugar, butter, eggs, flour, vanilla and baking powder, these treats are safe for most people, not containing many allergens. Cookies are typically people pleasers for any party as well.

Significance

Sugar cookies are only gaining in popularity, leaving millions to be consumed by Americans each passing year. Sugar cookies are often left out for Santa Claus at Christmas. The tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa is made more fun when children can help create Christmas-themed sugar cookies--and then dress them with icing--to leave out for Kris Kringle as the last thing done on Christmas Eve. Cookies have even made their away into pop culture. "The Vice-Presidency is sort of like the last cookie on the plate. Everybody insists he won't take it, but somebody always does," stated Bill Vaughn. The fictitious character Cookie Monster of the beloved show "Sesame Street" says, "Sometimes me think what is love, and then me think love is what last cookie is for. Me give up the last cookie for you."

Warning

It should be noted that sugar cookies are usually not vegan. While they are vegetarian friendly, the eggs and butter involved in baking most sugar cookies means that vegans should look for another dessert--or create a vegan version with substitutions such as margarine and egg substitutes. Everything--even sugar cookies--should be consumed in moderation. Sugar is a pure, refined carbohydrate.Too much sugar can lead to obesity and other health problems, such as diabetes. The resulting obesity from excessive sugar intake can lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease, two of the nation's leading killers.

About this Author

Robin Raven was first published in 1998 and has written for "The Malibu Times," "Vegetarian Times," "Hungry! Travel Guides," Official Avatar Blog, Patch.com, AOL, the official Melissa Gilbert Website, Made Man and OliviaNewton-John.Info. She specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

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