What is a chocolate morsel?
Chocolate chips or chocolate morsel are small chunks of sweetened chocolate, used as an ingredient in a number of desserts (notably chocolate chip cookies and muffins), in trail mix and in some breakfast foods such as pancakes. They look like little teardrop-shaped chocolate pieces with flat circular bases.
Why do chocolate chip morsel cookies dip in milk taste so good?
Matthew Hartings, a professor of chemistry at American University, told Quartz that it’s partially due to the chemical compounds interacting on our tongues.
Chocolate is a combination of cocoa butter (pure fat) and cocoa powder, which wouldn’t ordinarily mix. But, chocolate also contains chemicals called phospholipids, which act as emulsifiers and allow foods with a lot of fat (like oil and cocoa butter) to mix with substances without fat (like water and cocoa powder).
Milk is also full of emulsifiers. Without them, Hartings explained, the fat in milk would “pool at the top”—similar to the way oils do in all-natural nut butter.
Chocolate chip cookies have a lot of fat in them. When they hit your tongue, the emulsifiers in milk “help to smooth out the chocolate as you’re eating it,” Hartings said. Though your tongue can pick up the full-bodied taste of the cookie eventually, the milk quickens this process and makes sure your tongue receives an even cookie coating. Without it, the cookie maybe a little more gritty.
Milk also helps mellow out the vigour of the sweet cookie flavour. “Cookies are meant to assault our senses a little bit with their sweetness and their shock of flavour,” Hartings said. But sometimes, that kind of intensity is not what we’re craving. “Sometimes, we need milk to calm it all down a little bit. And it obviously doesn’t work as well with something like water” because water doesn’t have the same kind of fat and emulsifier combination.
Cookies also taste good with tea. NPR reports that cookies feature a chemical called methyl butanol, which contributes to the toasty flavour we associate with cookies and other baked goods. Dipping cookies into hot beverages release this flavour more quickly into your mouth.