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When Did Nuts Get Introduced to Cookies?

Published November 13, 2013        by Sarah

Image by Andie712b on FlickrAn increasing number of cookie recipes contain nuts. These days, you’ll find chocolate chip cookies with nuts as well as decadent treats like macadamia nut cookies in the top ten of almost every major cookbook. While nut cookies certainly aren’t a new addition to the world of cooking, they’re more popular than ever. Wondering how they got their in the first place? Here’s a quick overview.

Cookies 101

Cookies that even resemble those treats we have today didn’t appear until the 7th century. Sugar had become fairly common throughout Persia, and they were creating a wafer that could be used to travel. They began to spread throughout the region, and by the 14th century, almost every European region had them at all ranks of society. They traveled quite well, and one of the most popular recipes was made from nuts, water, and a bit of something sweet.

Nuts were likely part of the earliest equation in cookies because they were so readily available. In fact, they were more available than flour in some cases. Archeological history suggests that nuts were a huge part of man’s diet as many as 780,000 years ago. For many cultures, collecting nuts was just as essential as collecting any other food source, so it only makes sense that they soon became part of the travel food for most cultures. While they were certainly consumed whole in the early days, they were also used to make a kind of flour, leading to the earliest versions of nut cookies.

Most Popular Nut Cookies

While almost everyone has a favorite cookie gift recipe that contains nuts, there are a few that seem nearly universal these days.

Monster Cookies – Take everything you love about cookies, then add an extra scoop or two and you have a monster cookie. There are several variations on this favorite, but most include some semblance of this makeup. You’ll need a cup of peanut butter, ½ cup of softened butter, 1 ¼ cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of white sugar, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons o baking soda, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 4 cups of oatmeal, 1 cup of M & M’s, 1 cup of butterscotch chips, 1 cup of peanuts, and 2 cups of flour. Cream the first four ingredients, then add all additional ingredients to the mix. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto cookie sheets, and bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

Pecan Sandies – These crisp, shortbread like cookies are ideal for almost any occasion, and they’re easy to make. To get started, you need a cup of butter, 1/3 cup of white sugar, 2 teaspoons of water, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 cups of flour, and 1 cup of pecans. Cream the first two ingredients together. Add all other ingredients. Chill the dough for four to six hours. Shape it into balls the size of a walnut, and place on cookie sheet. Bake for twenty minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Almond Cookies – You may have first experienced these at an Asian restaurant, but they’re easy to make even at home. You’ll need a cup of shortening, a half cup of sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, one egg, one tsp  vanilla, 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons of banking powder, and a pinch of salt. You’ll also need sliced almonds for the top of the cookies. Cream the first three ingredients, add the eggs, then add all remaining ingredients. Shape into balls, and place on a cookie sheet. Add sliced almonds to the top, and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Be sure to let them cool on the cookie sheet for two minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

Nut cookies are traditional and nothing short of delicious. So if you want to go one step past the nut tins this year, go out and find your favorite recipe today.