Thursday, March 21, 2013

Girl Scout Cookies

We were delighted to be part of the annual "Just Desserts" event sponsored by the Girl Scouts. Our dessert was made using the "Thanks-A-Lot" cookie.
It's that time of year again - when young girls wearing green and khaki vests camp outside the entrances and exits of stores and co-workers hang up order forms by their desks beconing you with the temptation of gluttonous bliss which we gleefully flock to and pay money for because they are only available once a year causing demand to soar - that's right, it is officially girl scout cookie season!

Members of the GSUSA have been selling cookies since 1917 to raise funds on an individual basis. It wasn't until 1933 when Girl Scouts in Philadelphia organized the first official sale, selling homemade cookies at the windows of local utility companies. The first Girl Scout cookie recipe was a sugar cookie and  in 1936 the national organization began licensing commercial bakers to produce their cookies.

The main licensed companies are Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), a subsidiary of Keebler, which is owned by Kellogg's; and ABC Bakers, a subsidiary of Interbake Foods, which is owned by George Weston Limited. ABC Bakers has been licensed to produce Girl Scout cookies since 1936. Up to 28 varieties of Girl Scout cookies are offered and the same cookies may be sold under different names by different bakeries, with the choice of bakery determining the name.

For example:
Caramel Delights / Samoas
Peanut Butter Patties / Tagalongs
Peanut Butter Sandwiches / Do-si-dos
Shortbreads / Trefoils

There are even some new flavors available this year. Don't resist the temptation, go ahead and buy a box of your favorites - I know I will!

Also, at Michael's Cookie Jar we like to hear from our customers. Tell us what your favorite flavors are and we might make it in our bakery one day or maybe even all year round.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The History of Cookies


I love the smell of cookies baking. It brings back such comforting and happy memories of childhood. I’m sure every family has a long and interesting history of their own cookie making experiences and traditions.

In fact, cookies go back a long way in world history! Nobody is actually sure who created the very first cookie, but as the story goes, it was a mistake. Many cooking experts believe that centuries ago - before thermometers and electricity - cooks who wanted to test the temperature of their ovens would bake a small amount of cake batter to find out if the oven was hot enough to bake an entire cake. Not wanting to waste precious food, these early bakers ate their samples and later decided they were worthy of a spot in the “pastry case!”

The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia (now Iran), one of the first countries to cultivate sugar (luxurious cakes and pastries were well known in the Persian Empire). Sugar originated in the lowlands of Southeast Asia, spread to Persia, and then to the Eastern Mediterranean. With the Muslim invasion of Spain, then the Crusades and the developing spice trade, the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia spread into Northern Europe where baked goods became mainstream items.

By the end of the 14th century, one could buy little filled wafers on the streets of Paris and as people started to explore the globe, biscuits (hard cookies) became the ideal traveling food, because they were portable and stayed fresh for long periods of time.

Today there are thousands of different cookie recipes around the globe and at Michael’s Cookie Jar we celebrate a few of the most popular ones such as the French palmier, the Mexican ojarasca, the Italian biscotti, the Austrian linzer, and the Jewish rugelach in addition to our American classics - Yum.