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