America’s Favorite Cookie

By Ben Webster | Baking Tips

Aug 05

Whether it is warm and gooey fresh from the oven or dunked in a tall glass of milk, the chocolate chip cookie is arguably the quintessential American comfort food.

Since yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day we thought we would share some history and set the record straight regarding the cookie’s origin.

In 1937, Ruth Graves Wakefield, the owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman Massachusetts, added chocolate chunks from a Nestlé chocolate bar to her cookie recipe and America’s favorite cookie was born. The cookie was an instant hit with the patrons of the Toll House Inn and the recipe was added to the 1938 edition of Ruth’s popular cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes as “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie.”

It is often incorrectly reported that the cookie was created by accident and that Ruth expected the chocolate chunks to melt into the dough making chocolate cookies, or even more fancifully, that a Nestlé chocolate bar accidentally fell off a shelf and into the cookie dough as it was being mixed. While the idea of the chocolate chip cookie being invented by accident makes for a great story, the simple and perhaps less interesting truth is the cookie was a deliberate creation by a formally educated and accomplished cook and cookbook author who was already responsible for the creation of many popular recipes. When questioned on the subject, Ruth herself said “We had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream. Everybody seemed to love it, but I was trying to give them something different. So I came up with [the] Toll House cookie.”

In 1939 Ruth signed an agreement with Nestlé to add her recipe to their chocolate bar packaging. In exchange for the rights to the recipe, Ruth received one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate. At first glance, it may appear as though Ruth was taken advantage of in the exchange. In reality, the agreement was pure marketing brilliance on Ruth’s part because it turned every Nestlé chocolate bar sold into an advertisement for the Toll House Inn and Ruth’s cookbook, which as a result, became a national bestseller. In 1941, Nestlé and other competitors started selling the chocolate in chip or morsel form specifically for cookie making. To this day, Ruth’s recipe is still printed on the back of every package of Nestlé chocolate chips.

Join us as we honor Ruth Wakefield by raising a glass of cold milk and dunking one of her famous cookies.

Try our version of Ruth’s famous cookies made with our famous Lehi Roller Mills Flour.

Buy Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

TIP

Ruth’s original Toll House Cookie was served crisp and crunchy as was typical of cookies of the day. Today many people prefer their chocolate chip cookies to be soft and gooey. Both can be achieved with the exact same recipe with slight variation—the temperature of the dough. Warm or room temperature cookie dough will bake into thinner, crisper, and dryer cookies. If you want your cookies soft and moist, chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least three hours before baking and remove from the oven about a minute earlier than the recipe calls for.

America's favorite cookie

Ruth Graves Wakefield, inventor of the chocolate chip cookie