what’s in a name?

September 7th, 2011

Cookies date back to 7th century Persia, whereas chocolate chip cookies, in particular, are relatively new to the block, 1937 to be exact, and are the proud mistake of Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts.  Ruth ran the Toll House Restaurant along the highway between Boston and New Bedford and was renowned for her baking abilities.

She endeavored one day to use block chocolate instead of cocoa for a chocolate cookie.  The chunks of chocolate did not melt and disperse as she’d hoped and instead maintained their original shape after cooling.  Guests loved this mistake and the chocolate chip cookie was born.  It has since become the official cookie of Massachusetts.

Riffs on this celebrated tidbit certainly go the gamut of sublime to supercilious and is certainly a great platform from which to find inspiration.  Like most bakers, I have lost track of how many versions of chocolate chip cookies have been concocted in my kitchen over the years and each new version becomes the all time favorite until its successor comes along.

Case in point, the most recent favorite:  chocolate cookie batter studded with chunks of bittersweet chocolate, toasted pecans and orange zest.  Our neighbor Rett calls them Chocolate Nirvana, and we agree!

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