I’m not sure if there’s a cookie more “cookie” than the chocolate chip cookie. Sure, there are sugar cookies and snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies and oatmeal scotchies … but there’s just something just so … just so quintessential about the chocolate chip cookie, it’s hard to put into mere words.
If you think you know everything there is to know about this simple delicacy, think again. I’ve done some extensive research and let’s just say my eyes were opened. I would now like to share some of my new found knowledge with you. Check out these impressive bullet points:
- I always assumed the chocolate chip cookie was so named, due to the fact that it is a cookie what contains the chocolate chips. Not so. Turns out it’s named after its creator, The Earl of Chocolate Chip Cookie. Apparently, the Earl was gambling one night and wanted a tasty dessert. He had a mighty hankerin’ for some M&Ms, in order that he might keep playing cards and not make a mess. Unfortunately, the popular candy-coated safety-bonbons would not be invented for another two hundred years. Undeterred, he asked his servants to bring him cocoa chunks baked into a biscuit, thus keeping his hand free of all mess, save a few crumbs. It was such a popular invention that people immediately named this creation after its inventor. This is why even today we call chocolate chip cookies, “Earls.”
- The modern chocolate chip cookie requires flour.
Don’t believe me about the flour thing? Check out this actual true story. A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter Rachel came home with a school project. The project was for her Skills for Living class and was simple: make a chocolate chip cookie and bring it to class for grading. This was an excellent project because I can’t think of a single skill more important than making chocolate chip cookies. And I don’t mean that in my usual sarcastic tone, either. Chocolate chip cookies are how you win friends and influence people.
Rachel loves mixing things together and applying heat to them, so this is one school project she wasn’t going to waste time on. She set to work right away on it and I left her to it, plopping myself down in front of the television to watch another riveting episode of iCarly.
Perhaps thirty minutes after the cookie project began, I began to enjoy the wonderful aroma of hot, fresh cookies. About two minutes after that, I began to sense something had gone terribly wrong. The smell of burnt sugar had now displaced the wonderful home-baked smell I enjoyed such a brief, brief time ago. I calmly walked to the kitchen, opened the oven door, and decided it was time to remove the first batch of cookies, although they still had at least eight minutes to go:
Those were the first five underdone cookies. The sixth “done” cookie was the one I scraped off the bottom of the oven:
“I think I did something wrong,” she declared. I agreed. So I started to walk down the recipe, checking off items like a NASA flight director looking for all systems go. When I got to “3 c. flour” she responded with, “Oops.” She accidentally used the 1/2 cup measure instead.
(Incidentally, we don’t have a one-cup dry measure any more. It disappeared mysteriously a few years ago. It was there one day and gone the next. For a while we figured it was “around here somewhere,” but I’m beginning to lose hope. I’m sure it went to the parallel universe containing all the mismatched socks.)
And the cookie project? Not to worry, though. We still had some percentage of the batter left and we could definitely add flour to it and still get an “A”. It was time to change the Skills for Living class into Math for Cooking.
First we had to see how much batter we used. So we scraped everything off the cookie sheet, put it on a plate, then weighed it.
As you can see, it was one big, sugary, chocolately mess. It was horrible. I think it took me at least twenty minutes to eat it. Our next step was to weigh the remaining batter. Once we had these two figures, we could easily calculate the ratio of used vs. unused batter, like so:
That was close enough to “half” for me. Knowing we were 1.5 cups short on the full batter, we were now 3/4ths cups short for the remaining recipe. A quick dump of flour, a few twirls of the batter, and presto! Good as new.
About a week later she came home and proudly announced, “I got one hundred on my cookie!” Unfortunately, I had to correct her. “You mean you got one hundred on your Earl.”
Originally posted March 10, 2009