Don't you love it when your kids are getting ready for bed and you hear, "By the way Mom - our class party is tomorrow, and I signed up for three dozen chocolate chip cookies!"
Cookies are America's most popular dessert, and for all those late night, emergency cookie baking sessions, or almost any cookie occasion, about half the cookies baked are chocolate chip.
Did you ever wonder what chocolate chip cookies and President John F. Kennedy have in common? Perhaps not, but here are some historical chocolate chip cookie tidbits.
There are an estimated 2,000 varieties of this popular cookie, from chocolate chip banana to white chocolate chip raspberry, but the most popular is the Toll House cookie recipe seen on the back of every Nestlé chocolate chip package.
In 1930, Ruth Wakefield and her husband, Kenneth, established the Toll House Inn, near Boston, Massachusetts. Their tourist lodge was housed in a building (circa 1709) where, at one time, travelers paid their tolls, changed horses and enjoyed home-cooked meals.
The Toll House Inn was well-known for Ruth's cooking, especially her desserts. She often sent travelers on their way with a plate of her delicious cookies. One otherwise uneventful day in 1937, Ruth added small chunks of a Nestlé's Semisweet Yellow Label Chocolate bar to her butter cookie dough.
Results? Instant success!
The story goes that Ruth received a lifetime supply of chocolate in exchange for her recipe, which Nestle' printed on the back of their semisweet chocolate bar packages. The cookie recipe was so popular that Nestlé began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies.
Over the years, the popular Toll House Inn included many well-known guests, including - guess who? - President John F. Kennedy.
Almost a century after Ruth dropped that first piece of chocolate into her cookies, every bag of Nestle chocolate chips in North America continues to have Wakefield's original, Toll House recipe printed on the back.
Just like Ruth's recipe, all basic chocolate chip recipes call for flour, sugar, butter or margarine, baking powder and/or baking soda, eggs, vanilla, and chocolate chips. The taste and texture varies with recipe. Some chocolate chip cookies bake puffy and others flat. The easiest to decorate are flat.
Decorate chocolate chip cookies? Yes, these are especially unique for Jenny and Jeff's school parties - that is, if you aren't too tired after your all night baking session! Chocolate chip cookies are tasty enough without icing, but a little decoration will make you the most popular mom in the class!
Decorated Chocolate Chip Pan Cookie
Instead of the more time-consuming individual cookies, the chocolate chip pan cookie can be a life-saver when you've awakened at midnight, realizing you forgot to bake those cookies for tomorrow's first grade celebration of "National Play Doh Day."
After you bake the cookie, pipe on a balloon (royal icing border filled in with gel icings) and message like "Happy Imagining!"
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bouquets
While chocolate chip cookies don't lend themselves to the fancier, polished cookie bouquets, they can be very cute and cheerful - exactly the thing for 85-year-old Aunt Myrna, who married her yoga instructor, or Cousin Jim who just graduated from bungee-jumping class - with flying colors!
Here's one idea:
Cookies and Milk Bouquet
1 batch of Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough
Lollipop sticks (rolled paper, not plastic) of varying heights
Preheat oven to 375° F. Roll cookie dough into 2-inch balls. Arrange four balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Insert a lollipop stick into each ball. Press dough down slightly.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are crisp. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Once cooled (about 20 minutes), decorate your cookies with a decorating bag and royal icing. Use icing sparingly so as not to detract from the wholesome cookie taste. For the "cookies and milk" theme, you might want to add white icing milk moustaches.
After the icing hardens, wrap each cookie in cellophane and tie with a ribbon. Arrange in a mug (for the milk!) that matches your theme.
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