Scientists Are Trying To Explain The Appeal Of Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies
Beats1 / Shutterstock

When many people think of “cookies” or “baked goods,” they immediately think of chocolate chip cookies. Brownies, ginger-snaps, and sugar cookies are great, that’s a fact, but chocolate chip has cemented itself as a staple in our bake sales, potlucks, and bakeries. Even chocolate-chip cookie dough is a treat in its own right, landing itself right in our ice-cream.

That begs the question: what makes chocolate chip cookies so addictive? What about them has made them so wildly popular, and why do they continue to live on as a classic treat?

According to Business Insider, chocolate chip cookies were created by accident in 1930. Since then, they’ve become a recipe in every baker’s cookbook. Believe it or not, their antiquity might have something to do with their popularity. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and we tend to gravitate back towards things that made us happy in the past. This includes certain movies, books, and even foods.

“Comfort food” is a real thing, and chocolate chip cookies are the perfect example. When you give kids warm, freshly-baked cookies on holidays or special occasions, they grow to associate them with good times. When they get older, their enjoyment of the cookies is intensified by fond memories and nostalgia.

chocolate chip cookies
Many people recall eating warm, fresh cookies at their grandparents’ house, which invokes feelings of home and comfort. Regan Baroni / Shutterstock

That’s not to say that chocolate chip cookies rely entirely on nostalgia and good times. There’s even scientific proof to imply that they’re addictive. According to CNN, the sugar in cookies can cause cravings on-par with addictive substances like cocaine.

Chocolate also contains small amounts of anandamide, a compound that targets receptors in the brain. This chemical, combined with our body’s general enjoyment of sugar, can make us feel pleasure while eating cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are also popular due to their texture and ingredients. Butter, brown sugar, and chocolate are undeniably good together, and chocolate chip cookies are the amalgamation of these things. While people might have different preferences regarding their crispiness and texture, there’s something undeniably good about how they taste and feel.

The addition of salt and pure vanilla sets a good chocolate chip cookie apart from a flat one, and there’s a reason for that too.

A pinch of salt intensifies the sweetness of the sugar, and the vanilla in the cookie dough contrasts with the chocolate chips. These combinations enhance the flavors of the cookie’s individual parts, creating a more well-rounded and dynamic treat.

While this is a lot of scientific information, there’s no real need to justify your enjoyment of chocolate chip cookies. They’re just good! However, it’s nice to know that scientists are on your side.