When I arrived home last night from picking up sushi for my wife and I for dinner, I was informed that there was chocolate chip cookie dough in the refrigerator. As if one of Pavlov’s dogs, my mouth began to water just thinking about the moist, flavorful cookies to come with their melted chocolaty morsels. I could literally eat my weight in them, and probably did. The chocolate chip cookie is the shining example of comfort food. Many can remember their mothers chocolate chip cookies, and will swear that their mom made the best or even invented the cookie itself. The reality is though that as good as mom’s chocolate chip cookies are, she didn’t invent them. That distinction belongs to an Inn Keeper from Whitman, Massachusetts.
Ruth Graves Wakefield (1907-1977) graduated from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. She was a dietitian and food lecturer until she and her husband purchased a travel lodge in Plymouth County Massachusetts, The Toll House Inn. Ruth Wakefield would prepare the recipes that would be used to feed the guests of the inn and had gained much notoriety for her desserts. Her very favorite cookie recipe was for Butter Drop Do cookies which required baking chocolate. One day when Ruth was out of baking chocolate all she could find to use was a bar of semi-sweet chocolate. She cut the bar into bits and added them to the cookie dough. To her surprise, the semi-sweet chocolate did not melt completely like the baking chocolate did. The chocolate pieces only softened and somewhat stayed intact. She served the cookies as they were and it was a hit. Interestingly enough, the chocolate bar that was used in the first batch of chocolate chip cookies was a gift from Andrew Nestle of the Nestle Chocolate Company, who just happened to have been a guest at the inn a few weeks earlier.
As the sales of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie began to increase, so did sales for the Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bar. Ruth Wakefield soon struck a deal with Andrew Nestle to include her recipe on the back of the chocolate bars. In return she received free chocolate for life. Still to this day, the recipe is found on the back of Nestle chocolate, specificaly chocolate chips.
There have been a number of famous chocolate chip recipes over the years, but none so famous as the Toll House recipe. Though your mother may have added her own special touch or have her own secrets for making chocolate chip cookies, you can thank Mrs. Wakefield for her accidental discovery of what has become a favorite today. And just to note, my Mom and Wife make the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Their secrets are safe with me (mainly because the couch isn’t very comfortable to sleep on).
The History of the Chocolate Chip Cookie– kitchenproject.com
The Original Nestle Toll House Recipe– allrecipes.com