Here at the DFC test kitchens, David is the baker, while I fall decidedly into Camp Cooking. When it comes to baking, I usually only have patience for the sampling and critique of the results! David’s chocolate chip cookies are particularly legendary: as he did with our barbecue sauce, he spent years refining his recipe, experimenting with the chip to dough ratios and finely calibrating the sugars to yield the perfect chew.
But what he hasn’t done is engineer the ingredients themselves. Leave something that “disruptive” to chocolate-chip-cookieness to Tesla senior industrial designer Remy Labesque. He moonlights as a chocolate expert and has collaborated with California chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate to create the ideal baking chip.
While his chip still involves quality chocolate, Labesque’s innovation lies in its shape. The traditional teardrop shape is an artifact of the industrial process — it’s the easiest way for a machine (or a human artisan like Dandelion’s head pastry chef Lisa Vega) to fire out hundreds of chips in one go. But Labesque thought the dense, uniform shape lacked texture and was unsuited to the flat planes of a cookie. So, he set out to reconcile his dreams of the ideal melty cookie morsel to the industrial reality — or really, vice versa. The result: a modernist-looking, flat, faceted square chip, with two balanced pairs of thin and thick edges.
“At Dandelion, the design brief was to make ‘the best chip for the experience of tasting chocolate,’ says chef Vega. Experts claim the way to do that is to let it melt on your tongue.
Each time a prototype came off the line, Vega would start baking. ‘They stay whole, but once they’re baked, the center of the chip gets soft,’ she observes, a benefit for experiencing the chocolate’s texture. Labesque designed the thin, melt-in-your-mouth edges to be sturdy enough to hold their shape in baking and not to break when the chip is unmolded. […]
Dandelion currently sells its ‘facets’ in three distinct, 70% single-origin, types: from Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Madagascar. Additional single-origin styles are planned for the future. The lengthy research and development and ingredient sourcing comes at a cost: a 17.6 oz. bag of the chips goes for $30.”
Coming from an IT background, I’m already a big proponent of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I never thought that the chocolate chip was broke. Labesque and Vega have helped me rethink this — and I can never fault someone for following their passion, as niche and privileged ($30 USD a bag?) as it is. But none of us regular folks should let that stop our cookie perfection dreams: The original Depression-era chocolate chip cookie recipe used chopped up chocolate bars — it’s built to use what you have. A regular-shaped chip will never spoil a chocolate chip cookie, as long as you infuse the recipe with your own magic as well!