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The longing for nostalgia has given the humble cookie superstar status

The yearning for edible comfort in these trying times has made cookies more important than ever

13 June 2019 - 09:57
By hannerie visser AND Hannerie Visser
Chocolate chip cookies are a favourite for many cookie lovers.
Image: 123RF/5second Chocolate chip cookies are a favourite for many cookie lovers.

Nothing has the power to transport you back to your childhood quite like a batch of freshly baked cookies with the smell of candied sugar and melted chocolate wafting from the kitchen. And all those beautifully patterned tins filled with family favourites, especially in preparation of cold winter holidays or long sun-filled Christmas breaks.

No wonder we are seeing chefs and cooks all from over world baking, serving and posting photos of their cookies all over the show.

Queen of the cookie, Milk Bar founder and Masterchef Junior judge, Christina Tosi, explains the root of this phenomenon best on Instagram: “I am an old lady at heart. I am the sentimentalist in the family through relics, remnants and recipes. I am, the one who inherits the beater of a pick-up truck, the nicked and dinged dresser with a story, my great aunt’s old cardigans and the painting of my father’s family’s first home. I held the same teddy bear and quilt each night until I was comfortably a teenager. For some silly reason I like to hold on.”

She goes on to say that artifacts have always brought her inspiration and fed her imagination - and that these loved objects of old need to be brought back to life in new ways. She does this not just through reignited love but through her baking. 

“When I get baker’s block, I turn to told recipes, to generations-old bowls and spoons someone has saved for me. To the old cookie cutter and sugar shakers of my great-great grandparents and I somehow always find what I am missing, or perhaps just rediscover the thing I’ve had with me all along."

This longing for nostalgia and the urge to rediscover the magic from our childhoods has lead to the humble cookie reaching star status.

Bon Appetit’s post of their best chocolate chip cookie recipe got over 33,000 likes on Instagram and they were forced to publish the measurements in grams due to popular demand from all over the globe (check out the recipe on ­– the addition of sea salt and burned butter truly makes it a thing of beauty).

Locally, Juliet Randles’ cookies at Cape Town’s The Commissary have gained cult status and she’s now famous for her creations celebrating local flavours such as apricot and rooibos.

In Johannesburg few market days, weddings and birthday celebrations pass by without featuring Meg Pascoe from The Counter’s famous salted dark chocolate cookies.

Get ready to order a glass of milk and some freshly baked goodness at your favourite local and top restaurants alike and transport yourself to carefree childhood days. 

• Share your favourite cookie recipe with us on Instagram by tagging @studio_h_

• Hannerie Visser is an ever-curious investigator into food trends and the founder of experimental food design studio Studio H in Cape Town.