[Sca-cooks] Cookie Cutters

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Fri Feb 17 12:47:04 PST 2012

Cookie cutters, per se, are, to my knowledge, a modern (post-1600) invention 
used to expedite making large batches.  Cookie molds on the otherhand trace 
back to small shaped cakes in various Greek and roman religious festivals. 
Toussaint-Samat in A History of Food discusses the cakes, but not 
necessarily how they were produced.  Similar molds have been used to 
decorated various types of bread in period including Hosts and gingerbread. 
IIRC, springerle are from just within period and would represent a form we 
would consider a molded cookie, while other late period recipes for small or 
fine cakes are drop cookies.  Jumbles are an earlier cookie variant and a 
case can be made for cookie-like breads spreading out from Persia as the 
Islamic Expansion spread sugar cane making sugar more available.

The term cookie derives from the Dutch "koekje" meaning small cake.  The 
Dutch word appears to have been imported into Middle Scots, which would 
place the transfer between 1450 and 1700.

Here is an article that places cut cookies as early as 1747 (Hannah Glasse) 
using a glass or a teacup as a cutter: 
http://www.journalofantiques.com/hearthdec.htm .  I have a recipe some where 
in my collection that purports to be from 1812 where the cookies are cut 
with a knife.  And there is an inventory from roughly around the Civil War 
(U.S.) that lists a set of cookie cutters.

One might take a look in The Oxford Companion to Food for more cookie 


----- Original Message ----- 


I have a lady in my shire who is interested in learning of any evidence in 
the use of cookie cutters within our time period. This is not an area I've 
researched. If anyone can point me to some sources, I could share with her, 
it would be most appreciated.


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