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A chocolate chip cookie, or Toll House Cookie, is a drop cookie that originated in the United Statesmarker and features chocolate chips as its distinguishing ingredient. The traditional recipe combines a dough composed of butter and both brown and white sugar with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Variations include recipes with other types of chocolate or additional ingredients, such as nuts or oatmeal.

History

The chocolate chip cookie was accidentally developed by Ruth Wakefield in 1934. She owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitmanmarker, Massachusettsmarker, a very popular restaurant in the 1930s. The restaurant's popularity was not just due to its home-cooked style meals; her policy was to give diners a whole extra helping of their entrées to take home with them and a serving of her homemade cookies for dessert. Her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, was published in 1936 by M. Barrows & Company, New Yorkmarker, and included the recipe "Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie", for what have since been widely called Toll House cookies.

Nestlé marketing

Chocolate chip cookie


Wakefield is said to have been making chocolate cookies, and, on running out of regular baker's chocolate, substituted for it broken pieces of semi-sweet chocolate from Nestlé, thinking that it would melt and mix into the batter. It clearly did not, and the chocolate chip cookie was born. Wakefield sold the recipe to Nestlé in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips. Every bag of Nestlé chocolate chips sold in North America has a variation (butter vs. margarine is now a stated option) of her original recipe printed on the back.

During WWII, GIs from Massachusettsmarker who were stationed overseas shared the cookies they received in care packages from back home, with soldiers from other parts of the U.S. Soon, hundreds of GIs were writing home asking their families to send them some Toll House Cookies, and Wakefield was soon inundated with letters from around the country asking for her recipe. Thus began the nation-wide craze for the chocolate chip cookie.

Toll House employees' account

A different history of the cookie derives from George Boucher, who was at one time head chef at the Toll House Inn, and his daughter,Carol Cavanagh, who also worked there. Contradicting Nestlé's claim that Wakefield put chunks of chocolate into cookie dough hoping they would melt, the daughter stated that the owner, already an accomplished chef and author of a cookbook, knew enough about the properties of chocolate to realize it would not melt and mix into the batter while baking. Boucher said that the vibrations from a large Hobart electric mixer dislodged bars of Nestlé's chocolate stored on the shelf above the mixer so they fell into the sugar cookie dough it was mixing, then broke them up and mixed the pieces into it. He claimed to have overcome Wakefield's impulse to discard the dough as too badly ruined to waste effort baking them, leading to the discovery of the popular combination.

Present day

Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven


Although the Nestlé's Toll House recipe is the most widely known, every brand of chocolate chips ("semi-sweet chocolate morsels," in Nestlé parlance) sold in the U.S. and Canada contains a variant of the chocolate chip cookie on its packaging, and almost all baking-oriented cookbooks will contain at least one type of recipe.

Practically all commercial bakeries offer their own version of the cookie in packaged cooked or ready-to-bake forms. There are at least three national (U.S./North America) chains that sell freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in shopping malls and standalone retail locations. Several businesses—including Doubletree hotels, Citibank, Aloha, and Midwest Airlines—offer freshly baked cookies to their patrons to differentiate themselves from their competition.

There is an urban legend about Neiman Marcus' chocolate chip cookie recipe that has gathered a great deal of popularity over the years.

To honor the cookie's creation in the state, on July 9, 1997, Massachusettsmarker designated the chocolate chip cookie as the Official State Cookie, after it was proposed by a third-grade class from Somerset, Massachusettsmarker.

Composition and variants

Chocolate chip bar cookies


Chocolate chip cookies are commonly made with white sugar; brown sugar; flour; a small portion of salt; eggs; a leavening agent such as baking powder; a fat, typically butter or shortening; vanilla extract; and semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Some recipes also include milk or nuts (such as chopped walnuts) in the dough.

Depending on the ratio of ingredients, mixing and cooking times, some recipes are optimized to produce a softer, chewy style cookie while others will produce a crunchy/crispy style. Regardless of ingredients, the procedure for making the cookie is fairly consistent in all recipes: First, the sugars and fat are creamed, usually with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. The eggs and vanilla extract are added next followed by the flour and the leavener. Depending on the additional flavoring, its addition to the mix will be determined by the type used: peanut butter will be added with the wet ingredients while cocoa powder would be added with the dry ingredients. The titular ingredient, chocolate chips, as well as nuts are typically mixed in towards the end of the process to minimize breakage, just before the cookies are scooped and positioned on a cookie sheet. Most cookie dough is baked, although some eat the dough as is, or use it as an addition to vanilla ice cream to make chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Common variants

  • The M&M cookie, or party cookie, replaces the chocolate chips with M&M's candies (an American candy similar to the British Smarties). This recipe uses shortening as the fat.
  • The chocolate chocolate chip cookie uses a dough that is chocolate flavored by the addition of cocoa or melted chocolate. Variations on this cookie include replacing chocolate chips with white chocolate or peanut butter chips.
  • The macadamia chip cookie has macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. It is a signature cookie of Mrs. Fields bakeries.
  • The chocolate chip peanut butter cookie replaces the vanilla flavored dough with a peanut butter flavored one.
  • Other variations include different sizes and shapes of chocolate chips, as well as dark or milk chocolate chips. These changes lead to differences in both flavor and texture. There are also vegan chocolate chip cookies.


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