Why Don't Chocolate Chips Melt in the Oven?

artisteer/iStock via Getty Images
artisteer/iStock via Getty Images

Next to a grease fire, there is rarely anything that causes more excitement in a kitchen than homemade chocolate chip cookies being pulled from the oven. From the smell to the soft, chewy texture, they're without peer.

But despite withstanding temperatures of (at least) 350 degrees, the chocolate chips usually remain solid. Why?

First, some apocryphal chocolate chip cookie history: As the legend goes, the treat was something of an accidental discovery, when Kenneth and Ruth Graves Wakefield were running the Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts in 1930. In the mood to whip up some Chocolate Butter Drop Do cookies, Ruth realized she was out of baker’s chocolate. She opted instead for some semi-sweet chocolate given to her by Andrew Nestlé of the Nestlé company.

Ruth expected the Nestlé chocolate would behave like baker's chocolate, and melt throughout the cookie dough. But it held firm, keeping its shape and producing what we now know as the chocolate chip cookie. The Toll House brand soon became synonymous with the recipe and Nestlé used the name for recipes and on packaging.

By the end of the 1930s, Nestlé was marketing its own pre-chopped, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, and other companies began to jump on the chip bandwagon. Unlike baking chocolate, chocolate chips differ in that they tend to have a lower amount of cocoa butter, which makes them more resistant to heat. Some chips also have stabilizers and emulsifiers like soy lecithin to help them maintain their shape—the chips are essentially engineered to resist attempts to turn them into liquid. Chips like Nestlé's Morsels do, in fact, melt when baked. But because the cookie dough has firmed up around them, the chips retain their shape. After the cookie has cooled, the chocolate solidifies once more, giving the appearance of a chip that has been unaffected by the heat.

While you can melt chocolate chips—a microwave or double boiler are how you'll get the best result—you’re likely to get a thick and tough concoction. Melting chocolate is usually best reserved for fattier varieties that are more likely to turn into a smooth liquid when heated.

As for Ruth Wakefield: While inventing the chocolate chip cookie should have earned her some kind of financial windfall, she was paid only $1 for rights to the Toll House name in 1939. Nestlé did, however, give her a lifetime supply of their heat-resistant chocolate.

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Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Reason Supreme Court Justices Wear Black Robes

Judge Thomas Patrick Thornton (left) is sworn in as a federal judge by Judge Arthur F. Lederle (right) on February 15, 1949.
Judge Thomas Patrick Thornton (left) is sworn in as a federal judge by Judge Arthur F. Lederle (right) on February 15, 1949.

Professional attire can go a long way in communicating the level of respect you have for your occupation and the people around you. Lawyers don’t show up for court in shorts and politicians don’t often address crowds in sleeveless T-shirts.

So it stands to reason that the highest court in the country should have a dress code that reflects the gravity of their business, which is why most judges, including judges on the Supreme Court, are almost always bedecked in black robes. Why black?

As Reader's Digest reports, judges donning black robes is a tradition that goes back to judicial proceedings in European countries for centuries prior to the initial sitting of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1790. Despite that, there’s no record of whether the Justices went for a black ensemble. That wasn’t officially recorded until 1792—but the robes weren’t a totally solid color. From 1792 to 1800, the robes were black with red and white accents on the sleeves and in the front.

It is likely that Chief Justice John Marshall, who joined as the fourth chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1801, led the shift to a black robe—most likely because a robe without distinctive markings reinforces the idea that justice is blind. The all-black tradition soon spread to other federal judges.

But according to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, there is no written or official policy about the robes, and the Justices are free to source them however they like—typically from the same companies who outfit college graduates and choir singers. It’s certainly possible to break with tradition and arrive on the bench without one, as Justice Hugo Black did in 1969; Chief Justice William Rehnquist once added gold stripes to one of his sleeves. But for the most part, judges opt for basic black—a message that they’re ready to serve the law.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]