KENTUCKY – There once was a time when I considered lobbying the USDA to make chocolate have its own level on the Food Pyramid. I figured that if chocolate could be incorporated into nearly any type of food group, it should be honored on the pyramid.

 
I have grown from having a crazy passion for chocolate to appreciating the wonders of it. Since May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day, let’s take a look at the history of the chocolate chip.
 
The chocolate chip evolved from cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar that was added to a cookie recipe by Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. The Nestle company soon made a deal for the rights to that recipe and invented the chocolate morsel. The chips were packaged in a yellow bag and had the “Toll House Cookie” recipe printed on the back.
 
The chocolate chip appears to not melt when baked but actually it does. Chips contain less cocoa butter than other chocolates; this helps it retain its morsel shape. If you break open a chocolate chip that is fresh out of the oven, you will see that it has definitely melted.
 
Ruth Graves Wakefield died in 1977 and the Toll House Inn burned down on New Year’s Eve 1984. She would be proud to know that her recipe is still being printed on each package of Nestle Toll House Chocolates.
 
Enjoy these yummy chocolate chip recipes.
 
OREO STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Ingredients
2 sticks softened butter
¾ c packed light brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 T pure vanilla
3½ c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1t baking soda
10 oz Mini chocolate chips
1 pkg Oreo Double Stuff cookies
 
Preheat the oven to 350°. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined. With a cookie scoop, place one scoop of cookie dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place another scoop of dough on the bottom of the cookie. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo cookie is enclosed with dough. Place onto a greased cookie sheet and bake cookies for 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.
 

CHOCOLATE CHIP RASPBERRY BARS
Ingredients
1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 c cold butter, cubed
1 egg
½ t almond extract
1 c seedless raspberry jam
½ c miniature semisweet chocolate chips
 
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in egg and extract just until moistened. Set aside 1 cup crumb mixture for topping. Press the remaining mixture into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Spread with jam and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with semisweet chips. Return to the oven for 30 seconds or until chips are glossy. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
 
LOW FAT CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD
Ingredients  
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c Splenda
1/4 c cinnamon applesauce
2 eggs
1 c mashed bananas
1/4 c skim milk
1 2/3 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1 t vanilla extract
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 4 mini loaf pans or one large loaf pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, splenda and applesauce until smooth. Add eggs, mil and bananas. Mix well. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and vanilla until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes until brown and knife comes out clean from center of bread. If using a large loaf pan, increase time to 50-60 minutes.
 
Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.  Forrest Gump in “Forrest Gump” (1994)
 
NEXT WEEK—Under the Big Top

Remember……Life is short. Eat Dessert first!!

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