A naming odyssey.
Image by Sydney Kramer.
I like baking cookies. I've been trying out a variety of chocolate chip cookie recipes to determine the best one—in addition to baking, I also enjoy ranking things. This is particularly exciting for my boyfriend, who told me it's always been his dream to eat a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips. A (perhaps) inevitable question has arisen:
What the fuck do you call a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips?
Google is not particularly helpful in determining what to call chip-free chocolate chip cookies. A post on Chowhound.com suggests the more elegant "chocolate chipless cookies," but I reject settling for such an obvious title. We deserve better than that! After all, we live in a world of snickerdoodles, biscuits, ladyfingers, shortbread, wafers, and gingerbread houses.
A number of complete baking n00bz have suggested the answer to this question is simply "sugar cookie." But that's just wrong.
A chocolate chip cookie is not a sugar cookie with chocolate chips. Their recipes have a completely different ratio of ingredients. Sugar cookies use more flour than their chocolate-speckled counterparts. Sugar cookies also call for white sugar, while chocolate chip cookies usually use both brown and white sugar. The type of sugar you use in your dough is a determining factor in the chewiness of your cookie. White sugar makes it crispy. Brown sugar makes it chewy.
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While one Twitter user suggested calling them "brown sugar cookies," that also feels like a lie, simply because replacing white sugar with brown sugar in a sugar cookie recipe wouldn't necessarily make it taste like a chocolate chip cookie.
Other tweeters took my inquiry as a joke: "A bummer," someone wrote. "A war crime," said another. "A waste of time, money, ingredients, and energy," an ostensibly incensed stranger told me. Even Nestlé Toll House weighed in:
The fucked up thing? I can't really disagree with them. Even though I bake some chipless cookies for my beloved boyfriend, I am not a fan myself. I think chocolate chips are what makes chocolate chip cookies great, and I say the more the better.
So in order to figure out what to call these things, why not turn to some people who actually enjoy eating them? "A chip-less Toll House cookie," my boyfriend offered. A nice sentiment, for sure, but it doesn't really roll off the tongue. Then again, I suppose "chocolate chip cookie" doesn't roll off the tongue either.
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One tweeter said chipless cookies were her daughter's favorite kind, and that she calls them "plain chocolate chip cookies." Not half bad. The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo proposed "chocless chip." Another strong contender. My issue with both, however, is that the names, unlike the cookie I'm trying to describe, still have "chocolate" in them.
But the best suggestion for what to call these chipless enigmas came from Twitter's own @brodouche, a self-professed "love[r]" of these ineffably simple treats:
It's a tad inelegant, sure, but it best describes what the cookie actually is, evoking the flavor of chocolate chip cookie dough without mentioning the chocolate part. And in this brave new era of political chaos and fake news, we must strive for accuracy above all.
This story originally appeared on MUNCHIES in September 2017.