The Humble Chocolate Chip Reimagined
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To the novice baker, the classic teardrop-shaped baking chip, created by Nestle in 1941, may appear like the perfect mechanism to introduce specks of chocolate to cookies and other treats. However, experts assert that the chip's dense bottom, which blocks the oven heat to retain some shape, prevents the consumer from fully experiencing the luxurious feel and taste of the melted chocolate. Now, Tesla engineer Remy Labesque has rectified the decades-old design flaw with a stylish, pyramid-shaped version that purportedly melts in your mouth, instead of sticking to the teeth like traditional chocolate chips.
The Los Angeles-based industrial engineer decided to undertake the fun project after a conversation with Todd Masonis, a close friend and founder and CEO of Dandelion Chocolate. The San Francisco company, which specializes in small-batch bean-to-bar chocolates, have long avoided the classic chocolate chips in favor of handmade quarter-sized discs for their "Maybe The Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookie." Though the end result ensured the famous cookie lived up to its name, the process of creating the chocolate was extremely time-consuming, especially given that the company went through more than 50 pounds of discs a week!
When Masonis was upgrading Dandelion's chocolate production facilities, he asked Labesque to help him design a chocolate chip that could be mass-produced while retaining the qualities of the company's hand-made discs. The entrepreneur says, "We had multiple goals: to melt [on your tongue] but hold up as pretty big chunks in our chocolate chip cookies. And also having our own unique design and personality—we wanted that to shine."
It took Labesque, who was paid for his efforts in chocolate, three years — and numerous tasty trials — to create a shape that met Dandelion's superior flavor and sensation requirements. The final design is neither a square nor a hexagon but something that resembles a flattened Dreidel, albeit with thin, tapered edges. This, according to Labesque, causes the chip to melt faster and optimizes the surface area that strikes the tongue, creating a luxurious feel in the mouth. More importantly, the chocolate chip can be easily mass-produced in molds inside a factory.
"The chocolate chip has 70% cacao, and the rest is cane sugar, so they wanted it not to come out too strong," says Masonis. "We tried early taste tests. Our chocolate is honestly pretty strong, so we wanted shape or experience that isn't too overwhelming. The flat shape helps slow down the experience."
A delighted Labesque agrees, saying, "I'm happy with the elegance of the chip, they melt consistently in baking, and the form interacts with all five taste receptors in the mouth, showcasing the single-origin chocolate flavors beautifully."
The new and improved baking chips, which are also delicious to snack on, are available for sale on the company's website for $30 for a 17.6-ounce bag. While that is about ten times the price of Nestle's classic chocolate chips, the splurge may be worth it given the high chocolate quality and, of course, the chips' superior melting skills!
Resources: www.fastcompany.com, popularmechanics
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