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No One Is Sure Why Peanut Butter Cookies Have Fork Marks

cookie day

Peanut butter cookie lovers across the United States annually observe National Peanut Butter Cookie Day on June 12.

Alabama’s American agricultural extension educator, George Washington Carver, was the most well-known promoter of the peanut. Carver compiled 105 peanut recipes from various cookbooks, agricultural bulletins, and other sources.  In 1916, he put together a Research Bulletin called How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption. Included in this Research Bulletin were three recipes for peanut cookies calling for crushed or chopped peanuts as one of its ingredients.

  • It was in the early 1920s that peanut butter was found listed as an ingredient in cookies.
  • The first peanut butter cookies recipe, by Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book (1902, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), suggested a rolled peanut butter ball. Later a recipe for patterned Peanut Butter ball, which instructs the cook to roll the dough into balls and press them down with the tines of a fork, was published in 1936 edition of Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes
  • The first commercial cookie in the U.S. was the Animal Cracker, introduced in 1902.
  • The Oreo, the best-selling cookie of the 20th century, was developed and introduced by the American company Nabisco, in 1912.
  • The U.S. leads the world as the biggest cookie bakers and eaters, spending more than $550 million annually on Oreos alone.
  • The U.S. has a National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum located within the Joplin Museum Complex in Joplin, Missouri.
  • The first time that these fork marks were widely instructed to be placed on the cookie tops was in a recipe from a 1936 Pillsbury cookbook. There was no explanation given in the recipe as to why the fork hash marks were called for, but people made them anyways.
  • The first to patent peanut butter was Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884.
  • John Harvey Kellogg patented a “Process of Preparing Nut Meal” in 1895 and served peanut butter to the patients at his Battle Creek Sanitarium.


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