August 4 – National Chocolate Chip Day

Posted on August 4, 2016


We have loads of chocolate things available to us, every day, in our grocery stores as well as restaurants, bakeries, drugstores, department stores, and even chocolatiers – special shops that sell nothing but chocolate!

We're talking candies, cookies, cakes, pies and other pastries, ice creams and other frozen treats, even weird treats like chocolate-coated bacon, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and other items that would seem to be odd to be coupled with chocolate!

In addition to all the bajillions of prepared chocolate foods, we can make our own chocolate treats using bars of unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, or (and this is my favorite) chocolate chips.

What are chocolate chips? They are small chunks of chocolate, often sold in flat-bottomed teardrop shapes. The original chocolate chip, sold by Nestle and at least one competitor in 1941, was semi-sweet chocolate—and that is the kind of chips I buy 99% of the time. However, these days chocolate chips come in bittersweet, mint chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white-and-dark swirled, and other flavors as well as the best-selling semi-sweet chocolate flavor. They are also offered in several sizes. 

Taste tests give high scores to Trader
Joe's brand semi-sweet chocolate chips.
 Chocolate chips tend to be cuter shaped and a bit smaller than chocolate “chunks” - even though of course chocolate chips ARE chunks of chocolate. When you eat “chocolate chip” ice cream, the chips tend to be much more varied - but usually not teardrop shaped; maybe flat rectangular chunks of chocolate, or really tiny flakes and bits of chocolate, or larger chunks.

My personal two favorite ways to eat chocolate chips are in chocolate-chip cookies and Trader Joe's ice cream sandwiches, made from two chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream between; tiny chocolate chips coat the edge of the ice cream.

Toll House Cookies

Have you ever heard chocolate-chip cookies described as “Toll House cookies”?

Back in 1937, a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield was running an inn called the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. She added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar to her cookie recipe – and her cookies were wildly successful. A couple of years later, Wakefield and Nestle made an agreement – her recipe would be added to the chocolate bar's packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of free chocolate bars.

At that time, Nestle sold the semi-sweet chocolate bars, not just with the recipe printed on the wrapper, but with a small chopping tool included! But just a few years after that, the company started selling the familiar teardrop shaped chips – still with the recipe on the package, but no chopping tool needed!

Notice that Nestle packaging still has the Toll House connection!

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