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chocolate chip cookies

Before delving into facts about chocolate chip cookies, let's first look at cookies in general:

  • Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century AD Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region.
  • The word "cookie" derives from the Dutch word koekje, which meant "little cake". In some countries a cookie is called a "biscuit", which comes from the Latin phrase bis coctum, meaning "twice baked".
  • The first historic record of cookies describes them as "test cakes". Apparently, before attempting to bake an entire cake, a sample of cake batter would be cooked in order to test the temperature of an oven. Then, this sample was baked a second time, along with the larger cake, often causing it to come out crispy.
  • By the end of the 14th century in Europe, cookies/biscuits were valued as a separate delicacy, and could be bought. They were common in all levels of society from royal cuisine to street vendors.
  • They were enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic by the end of the 17th century.

Cookies come in a wide variety of styles, contain a wide array of ingredients, and can be baked or unbaked. More or less, they're classified according to how they're formed before baking:

~Drop cookies: made from a relatively soft dough dropped by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Chocolate chips cookies are a type of drop cookie.

~Refrigerator cookies: made from a stiff dough that's refrigerated (to become even stiffer), shaped into a cylinder, then sliced.

~Molded cookies: made from a stiff dough molded by hand into balls or cookie shapes.

~Rolled cookies: made from a stiff dough that's rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.

~Pressed cookies: made from a soft dough that's squeezed from a cookie press into various decorative shapes.

~Bar cookies: batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan (sometimes in multiple layers), and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking. "Rice Krispies Treats" are an example of an unbaked bar cookie.

~Pasted cookies: made from extra dry dough for more brittle cookies when fully cooked, often cut into unique shapes.

Commercially-produced cookies include many varieties of sandwich cookies (filled with marshmallow, jam, or icing), as well as chocolate covered cookies.

A large cookie that can be decorated with icing similar to other cakes is called a cookie cake.

chocolate chips cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a type of drop cookie made with white sugar, brown sugar, flour, a small portion of salt, eggs, a leavening agent (such as baking powder), a fat (margarine, butter, or shortening), vanilla extract, and small chocolate pieces as its identifying ingredient. The traditional recipe uses semi-sweet chocolate chips in the dough, but other types of chips can be used. These include bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, mint chocolate, and white and dark swirled chocolate. Butterscotch and peanut butter are non-chocolate varieties.

Some recipes add milk, nuts, oatmeal, peanut butter, and melted chocolate to the dough. Recipes can be optimized to produce either soft chocolate chip cookies or a crunchy/crispy style, depending on the proportion of ingredients, mixing, and cooking times. Most chocolate chip cookie dough is baked, although some eat it as is, or use it in vanilla ice cream to make cookie dough ice cream.

The history of chocolate chip cookies is a simple one...

Chocolate chips were "invented" in 1933 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitfield, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The now-famous "Great American Cookie" was born and became a huge success. (They're regarded as the classic American dessert.)

As a way to capitalize on the cookie's popularity, the Nestlé company not only printed Ms. Wakefield's recipe on the packaging, but they also began including a small chopping tool with its chocolate bars. But then, in 1939, they started selling the chocolate in chip (or "morsel") form.

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Some common variants on the original recipe:

The M&M Cookie: replaces the chocolate chips with M&M's candies. This recipe often uses shortening as the fat.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie: uses a dough that contains additional cocoa or melted chocolate. Variations on this cookie include replacing chocolate chips with white chocolate or peanut butter chips.

The White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie: has macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie: replaces the vanilla flavored dough with a peanut butter flavored one. Other variations include different sizes and shapes of chocolate chips, the use of dark or milk chocolate chips, and the addition of oatmeal.

Some more interesting facts about chocolate chip cookies:

  • On July 9, 1997, Massachusetts designated the chocolate chip cookie as the Official State Cookie, after it was proposed by a 3rd grade class from Somerset, Massachusetts.
  • Nestlé touts the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie as the most popular cookie of all time.
  • Seven billion chocolate chip cookies are eaten annually.
  • Half of the cookies baked in American homes are chocolate chip.
  • National Chocolate Chip Day is May 15th.
  • In addition to the original on Nestle's packaging, every bag of chocolate chips sold in North America has a slight variation of Ruth Wakefield's recipe printed on the back.
  • Almost all baking-related cookbooks have at least one type of recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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