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Cookies Glossary: A Glossary Of The Different Cookies Types

Page 3: Terms Beginning With D to F

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  Gourmet Fortune Cookie
A highly-decorated fortune cookie, covered in white chocolate and sprinkles. See our review of Sumo Fortune Cookies. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.
A butter cookie baked with coconut and topped with a rum glazed icing.


One of the eight basic types of cookies, a drop cookie is a relatively soft dough is dropped by the spoonful onto the baking sheet. During baking, the mounds of dough spread and flatten. Chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, oatmeal cookies and peanut butter cookies are examples of drop cookies. Depending on the cooking time and recipe, it can be a soft and chewy or crisp and hard cookie. Chocolate cookies, coconut macaroons, peanut butter cookies and raisin cookies are other traditional drop cookies.

Oatmeal drop cookies. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.
See gaufrette.
The Fig Newton was named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts; it was the custom of the original manufacturer, Kennedy Biscuit Works of Cambridgeport (now Cambridge, Massachusetts), to name cookies after towns in the Boston area. Kennedy Biscuit Works was affiliated with the New York Biscuit Company, which became part of the company now known as Nabisco. According to Nabisco, the cookie was invented in 1891 by a Philadelphian, James Henry Mitchell, who created the duplex dough-sheeting machines and funnels that made the jam-filled cookies possible. He thought of the soft dough with fruit filling as cookie “pies.”

The machine was patented in 1892, and Mitchell approached the Kennedy Biscuit Company to try it out. They were impressed—all that was needed was a name. Newton, Massachusetts got the honor. Just think: We could have Fig Lowells or Fig Naticks instead.

Fig Newtons. Photo courtesy Nabisco.
A cookie-size rich French almond tea cake made from a sponge-like batter of brown butter, egg whites, flour, toasted ground almonds and powdered sugar. Financiers were created by a baker named Lasne in the financial district of Paris in the 1890s. Named for the rich financiers who frequented his bakery, Lasne created the little unglazed cake as finger food, to be enjoyed without utensils, and to be non-crumbly—no risk to the suit, shirt or tie of the nibbler. Financiers were traditionally baked in the shape of gold bars, but the rectangular shape was not as attractive as other shapes. A boat-shaped mold became favored, and today the cake can take any shapes that appeals to the baker, from an octagon to the fluted circle in the photo. In recent years, financiers have been elevated from breakfast and tea cake to the dessert menus of fine restaurants, with a variety of elegant garnishes.

Financiers or French almond cakes were originally baked in the shape of gold bars. Photo courtesy of
Florentines are crisp, delicate cookies that are pliable when taken from the oven, so can be rolled into cigars or kept flat. They are popularly dipped into chocolate or sandwiched with chocolate ganache as well. They are often served with tea and with ice cream. The recipe is credited to Austrian bakers working in Florence, who mixed sugar, butter, cream, almonds and candied fruit. The candied cherries and orange peel, which are not popular with Americans, are usually left out of U.S. recipes.

Minnie Beasley’s almond lace cookies rolled into a cigar shape. Photo by Michael Steele | THE NIBBLE.
A type of meltaway (which is a type of butter cookie) that is similar to the Mexican wedding cake, except that almond extract is added in addition to the vanilla extract, and toasted hazelnuts are substituted for the walnuts. The cookies are rolled in confectioners’ sugar like Mexican wedding cakes, but the tops are dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder as well.


A rolled wafer cookie.


Fondant has often been called edible Play-Doh. It is a sugar and water mixture cooked to the soft-ball stage, then stirred or beaten until it is a creamy, opaque white mass that can be rolled out like dough. Marshmallow fondant is a variation. Sheets of fondant are used to cover ornate cakes. The fondant, which can be tinted with food color, can be cut with cookie cutters or other method to create shapes (leaves, flowers, geometrics). It is also used to decorate cookies, often cut to match the shape of the cookies, and applied as an icing.

Working with fondant is a laborious process, undertaken by skilled cake decorators; but consumer products from Wilton and other companies make decorating with colored fondant a fun experience.

Pink fondant and a cut-out fondant flower decorate a cookie. Fondant available from
The history of the fortune cookie is a short one—no ancient Chinese treat, it’s less than 100 years old. The fortune cookie is an American invention. Chinese Americans call them “fortune cookies” since there is no Chinese word for them. In one version of the cookie’s origin, Makoto Hagiwara of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden invented them in San Francisco in 1909. In another version, David Jung, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, invented fortune cookies in 1918.

Some people compare fortune cookies to the lotus-paste moon cakes of 12th- and 13th- century China. Soldiers tucked rice paper messages into moon cakes to help coordinate their attack against the Mongolian invaders. According to legend, the Mongolians had no taste for lotus nut paste and wouldn’t eat moon cakes; the moon cakes, containing instructions for the uprising which ultimately formed the basis of the Ming Dynasty, were thus easily handed out to the Chinese people with impunity. The American fortune cookies contain a slip of paper with a string of numbers (used by some as lucky lottery numbers) and a Chinese proverb or a prediction—the original “fortune” (“You will find happiness in a surprising place”). Today, a Chinese word or phrase with translation is often included—in our global economy, learning Chinese trumps proverbs and predictions. Here’s a fortune cookie recipe.

  Chocolate Fortune Cookie
Chocolate-dipped fortune cookies from
From the French for “delicate,” this term for miniature cookies and confections served after dessert is used interchangeably with mignardises and petit-fours.


One of the eight basic types of cookies, a fried cookie is simply fried dough, often dusted with powdered sugar. Examples include the Jewish/Polish krusczyki, the Italian zeppole and Mexican churros. Fried dough is becoming increasingly popular, with chocolate chip cookie dough, oatmeal cookie dough and others all tossed into the fryer. Churros and other classic fried cookies are also finding their way onto the dessert menus of fine restaurants, served with chocolate dipping sauce.

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Churros. Photo by Nathalie Dulex | SXC.
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Last Updated  May 2018

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