Common chocolate chip cookie ingredients
Here are some of the ingredients we often use to make chocolate chip cookies:
Oatmeal is the result of crushed or processed oats. It can be used in many recipes like muffins, breakfast cereals and cookies.
It is the grinding of the oats that makes oatmeal possible. There also can be different kind of oatmeal grades depending on the extent of the grinding.
On top of the beneficial nutritional properties of oatmeal, recent studies also shown that eating oatmeal daily can lower bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have certain additional nutritious value compared to simple and easy chocolate chip cookies.
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat is made out of the complete grain kernel. It includes the bran and the germ. Whole wheat flour contains a much larger amount of fibre than regular white flour. Whole grain is now recognized to be an important part of a good diet which already includes breads and cereals.
Whole wheat grain flour is also usually folic acid fortified which plays an important role in the good balance of the nervous system.
Are whole wheat chocolate chip cookies good for your health then? Well, although having added nutritive elements is a good thing, we won't extend ourselves by saying that they are "healthy". The amount of fat and sugars still makes us remember that eating too many cookies is generally not a good idea.
Bran if very often use to enrich all kinds of breads, cereals for breakfast and muffins. Bran is usually the bi-product part of whole grains milling production. Rice and wheat bran are very common bi-products also where whole grains are produced.
Bran is very rich in dietary fiber. It also contains significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, fat, protein and starch. As part of oatmeal or alone, bran has shown to lessen the risks of coronary heart diseases. The American FDA recently allowed food manufacturers to make health claims related to the effect of bran as a food ingredient.
Bran oil can also be used as cooking oil and is claimed to be a good antioxidant with possible cardiovascular health benefits.
Peanut plants originated from Peru and or Brazil which were then transplanted in Africa by Portuguese explorers and eventually introduced in the United States. Unlike other nuts like walnuts and almonds, peanuts are grown underground. Their seeds, kernels grow into a 18" plant with oval shaped leaves. The resulting peanuts are part of the legumes family like peas and beans.
Peanuts (and peanut butter) are nutrition powerhouses. Just one serving gives a nice protein and healthy fat source. One ounce of peanuts can give you 13% of your recommended daily protein intake. So peanuts have more plant proteins compared with other food, including legume and other nuts. Peanuts are also full of beneficial fats (polysaturated and monosaturated) which helps maintaining lower levels of blood cholesterol. This is especially important in reducing the risks of coronary heart diseases. A handful of peanuts (1 ounce) contains nine percent (9%) of your recommended fibre intake! The same amount provides sixteen percent (16%) of your daily vitamin E need. Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant that helps fighting the free radicals which are very significant in our aging process.
There are also many more nutritional benefits of peanuts. According to the Peanut Institute, some recent research shows that the peanuts (and peanut butter) as part of a weight-loss diet can reduce risk of heart diseases by fourteen percent (14%). It would also help reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes. So the benefits of peanut seems to be greater than being only a source of good fat.
Of course we could not forget the star of our cookie ingredients...
Cocoa, at the base of chocolate, was discovered about 2,000 years ago in central and southern America. The cacao seeds, from the cacao tree, were found in the tropical rainforests where it is very hot and humid. It was used to be part of some native beverage. Learn more about the history of chocolate.
Cocoa seeds were part of the many treasures that Christopher Columbus displayed to Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after travelling to the Americas. It is conquistador Hernando Cortez that started to really explore it's commercial possibilities and discussed the possibility of adding cane sugar to sweeten it. Chocolate then became truly famous in Europe and eventually in all the world.
The chocolate creation process
Making chocolate requires care and patience since it can take four days (or even more) to make one bar.
The cocoa beans must be nicely stored at first so that it cannot be in contact with other odours. Then they are cleaned and grinded to a certain degree of needed specifications. The beans are then roasted for 30 to 120 minutes which gets their color changing to a darker brown and start having their delicious aroma.
The beans are the cracked and crushed, with frictional heat resulting in melting cocoa that can be poured in different moulds. At that point the chocolate makers can use this final cocoa mixture to incorporate other ingredients like sugar and milk to create many different types of chocolate.