A look at what makes these cookies as addictive as they are.
You know they're good. You know they're so good you'll want two (or 900). You know that chewy, crispy, nutty or au naturel, they're one of your favorites. But what, precisely, makes chocolate chip cookies so addictive?
Recently, CNN did a deep dive into our obsession with the popular cookie, and their findings are intriguing. Here are some of the most compelling reasons we simply can't put that cookie down:
1. Their ingredients are designed to make us want more.
The sugar in cookies light up the reward centers in our brains and lead us to crave more. But there seems to be more at play here if you look at some of the compounds in chocolate. "Then there's the chocolate, which, in addition to sugar, contains small amounts of a compound known as anandamide. Interestingly, anandamide is also a brain chemical that targets the same cell receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for its mood-altering effects," writes Lisa Drayer in the CNN piece. Obviously, marijuana and chocolate aren't the same, but this finding indicates the delight we take in chocolate is hardwired into our brain chemistry. (If this concept intrigues you, check out Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.)
WATCH: Barbara Bush's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. It's emotional.
Southerners won't be surprised by this one. Many of us grew up baking and eating chocolate chip cookies with loved ones, and our strong associations with that act lingers well into adulthood — and drives us to crave them even if we're picking up a store-bought version of the treat or adding one to our lunch order. Good luck fighting nostalgia, folks.
3. The balance of flavors and the texture are out to get us.
"A chocolate chip cookie is a brilliant contrast among the flavors and among the textures," said Gail Vance Civille, founder and president of consulting firm Sensory Spectrum, in the CNN article. The combination of chocolate, butter, sugar, vanilla, and a touch of salt are pretty much a match made in your taste buds' heaven. Add in the satisfying crunch or melt-in-your-mouth chewiness of chocolate chip cookies and it's no surprise we're all goners.
Read the full article on CNN here.