Cookies are an ancient treat, but the cookies of today have little in common with their distant ancestors. The very first cookies were neither soft nor sweet. In fact, they were popular precisely because they were hard and lasted for weeks without spoiling. Called biscuits, they “have existed for as long as baking is documented…but…were usually not sweet enough to be considered cookies by modern standards.” (source: Wikipedia)
The closest thing to a modern cookie first appeared in the late 14th century when “one could buy little filled wafers on the streets of Paris…Renaissance cookbooks were rich in cookie recipes, and by the 17th Century, cookies were common-place.”
The First Christmas Cookies
Modern Christmas Cookies
In the average American household at the beginning of the 20th century, sugar was a luxury, iceboxes were used to keep food cold, and cooking was done on coal or wood stoves. As the gas range was introduced, cookies became more sophisticated because temperatures could be precisely maintained. Refrigeration allowed for the use of chilled doughs. When the Great Depression of the 1930s ended, buttery, sugary cookies took America by storm.
It was about this time that Great Grandma Irene Grebe began baking and selling her famous butterhorns. In 1941, when we moved into our first commercial bakery, cookies were on the menu. Our hand-decorated buttercream-iced sugar cookies are especially beautiful and have become a Milwaukee tradition during the Christmas season. Present your Christmas guests with a tray of our famous iced, tree-shaped cut out cookies, pecan fingers, and an assortment of our bite-sized holiday cookies. To get some in time for Santa, stop by our Lincoln Avenue bakery. We’re open 5am to 3pm this Christmas Eve.