You can’t get a better cookie than an American chocolate chip cookie.
Okay, Britain also make chocolate chip cookies, but they are small, dry things that bear no resemblance to the large, chewy and moist American cookie. There’s something of a stereotypical character about the two: the British biscuit is restrained, unassuming, and rather plain and dry, whereas the American cookie is big, moist and lavishly loaded with nuts and chocolate. Clearly, it was only a matter of time before UK consumers would demand American style cookies – indeed, they’re already here and threatening to push the humble ginger snap and rich teas off our supermarket shelves.
Americans love their cookies
Cookies are taken to family picnics or Scouting Jamborees; they feature on Sunday School refreshment tables and appear in American lunch boxes everywhere. Cookies can be made with molasses, apple sauce, butterscotch and chocolate, they come in all shapes and sizes and can be decorated or frosted. Favourite cookies include ridged peanut butter cookies, cracked ‘sugar’ cookies and the ubiquitous refrigerator cookies… There are cookies with funny names: the ‘sand tart’, ‘wasps’ nest’ and ‘snickerdoodle’. My copy of the classic American cookbook, Fannie Farmer lists over 60 different cookies – and that doesn’t include tray bakes, bars and brownies. It’s no wonder the Muppets’ ‘Cookie Monster’ was such a popular character. Most American kitchens have a large cookie jar (and their own in-house cookie monsters). The jar is usually full – hardly surprising considering that most home-cooked recipes for cookies will yield around four to five dozen cookies.
Americans also love to make cookies. It’s a quick way to bake something homemade to offer to family and friends. So when guests arrive, out will come the usual treats – coffee cake, cinnamon buns, angel food cake and of course chocolate chip cookies.
However, whatever the social occasion, the one thing you will never see an American do, is dunk a cookie into a cup of tea. Why would they? Cookies are already moist! Therefore, so long as the tradition of the great British tea break exists, the demure ginger snap and rich teas’ place on the supermarket shelf will be safe from any swaggering American interlopers.