Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

Ruth Wakefield [June 17, 1903-January 10, 1977], Whitman Mass., is credited for inventing chocolate chip cookies at her Toll House Restaurant in the early 1930s. According to the story, Ruth used a Nestle candy bar for her chips. We will probably never know if Ruth was the very first person to put chocolate pieces in cookies, but she is certainly the one who made them famous.

Who Was Ruth Wakefield?
“Ruth Graves graduated from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. After graduation, she worked as a dietitian and food lecturer. In 1930, she published a cookbook entitled Ruth Wakefield’s Recipes: Tried and True. The book went through thirty-nine printings. The most famous of her original recipes was the Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie, named for the restaurant that she and her husband Ken Wakefield owned, the Toll House Inn. Better known as the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield developed this recipe in 1933 by breaking up a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar and adding it to a basic brown sugar cookie dough. In the years that followed, the Wakefields enjoyed a pleasant relationship with the Nestle Company, which eventually featured the cookie recipe on the wrapper of its semi-sweet candy bar. When Nestle began the production of chocolate morsels, the recipe, too, was printed on the back of each package where it remains to this day. Ruth’s interest in seeking new and innovative recipes to serve at the couple’s restaurant led her to amass a collection of cookbooks. In 1969, two years after the Wakefields sold the Toll House Inn, Ruth Graves Wakefield donated her cookbooks to the Special Collections.”
Framingham State University Library (Mrs. Wakefield’s cookbooks and archives are housed at this library).

Is the Toll House still operating?
Sadly, No. It was destroyed by fire in 1985. The caption under the photograph printed by the New York Times (January 2, 1985 I 12:5) describing the fire that destroyed Ruth Wakefield’s kitchen the reads “Wreckage of Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Mass. It was where the chocolate chip cookie was invented.” In the July, 1997 Governor Weld signed legislation that declared chocolate chip cookies to be the *official cookie of the Commonwealth* in honor or Ruth Wakefield (much to the dismay of the Fig Newton faction).

The original recipe?
Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes [M. Barrows & Company:New York] enjoyed 27 printings December 1930–September 1952. Our earliest copy (6th printing 1937) does not offer a recipe for any cookies made with chocolate chips. Massachusetts area newspapers c. 1939 confirm “Toll House Cookies” were sold in bakery departments of local grocery stores.

[1940]
“Here’s a new cookie that everybody loves because it is so delicious, so different and so easy to make. With each crisp bite you taste a delicious bit of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate and a crunch of rich walnut meat. A perfect combination. Here’s a proven recipe that never fails. Try it tomorrow.
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten whole
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon hot water
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Economy Bars (7 oz. ea.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Important: Cut the Nestle’s Semi-Sweet in pieces the size of a pea. Cream butter and add sugars and beaten egg. Dissolve soda in the hot water and mix alternately with the flour sifted with the salt. Lastly add the chopped nuts and the pieces of semisweet chocolate. Flavor with the vanilla and drip half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 375 degree F. oven. Makes 100 cookies. Every one will be surprised and delighted to find that the chocolate does not melt. Insist on Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate in the yellow Wrap, there is no substitute. This unusual recipe and many others can be found in Mrs. Ruth Wakefield’s Cook Book–“Toll House Tried and True Recipes,” on sale at all book stores.”
—display ad, Chicago Tribune, April 26, 1940 (p. 24)
[NOTES: (1) Nestle ads promoting these cookies were published in USA papers nationwide. This chocolate was in bars, not tiny morsels. “Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bars for making ‘Toll House’ cookies, 2 Bars for 25 cents,” —display ad, Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1940 (p. 4). (2) The earliest print references we find for morsels appears the following year: “Nestle Morsels, two 7 oz pkgs 25 cents.” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 1941 (p. 6)][1946]
“Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

A specially prepared chocolate may be bought for use in cookies. Any semisweet chocolate may be substituted, cut into pea-sized pieces. Use it as you would raisins, nut meats, etc. Follow the proceding recipe for: Drop Cookies. Use only 1/2 cup chopped nts. Add: 1/2 cup chipped chocolate.”
Joy of Cooking, Irma S. Rombauer [Bobbs-Merrill Company:Indianapolis IN] 1946 (p. 595)

[1947]
“Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Cream 1 cup butter, add 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 eggs beaten whole. Dissolve 1 tsp. Soda in 1 tsp. Hot water, and mix alternately with 2 1/4 cups flour sifted with 1 tsp. Salt. Lastly add 1 cup chopped nuts and 2 bars (7-oz.) Nestles yellow label chocolate, semi-sweet, which has been cut in pieces the size of a pea. Flavor with 1 tsp vanilla and drip half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in 375 degrees F. Oven. Makes 100 cookies.”
Toll House Tried and True Recipes, Ruth Wakefield [M. Barrows:New York] 1947 (p. 216)

[1955]
“Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Cream
1 cup butter. Add
3/4 cp brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten. Dissolve
1 teaspoon soda in
1 teaspoon hot water. Add
alternately with
2 1/4 cups flour sifted. Add
1 teaspooon salt. Add
1 cup chopped nuts
2 packages semisweet chocolate morsels
1 teaspoon vanilla
Drop by half teaspoonsfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 100 cookies. At Toll House, we chill this dough overnight. When ready for baking, we roll a teaspoon of dough overnight between palms of hands and place balls 2 inches apart on grased baking sheet. Then we press balls with finger tips to form flat rounds. This way cookies do not spread as much in the baking and they keep uniformly round. They should be brown through, and crispy, not quite and hard as I have sometimes seen them.”
Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Cook Book, Ruth Wakefield [Little, Brown and Company:Boston] new edition completely revised, February 1955 (p. 208)

[1956]
“Chocolate Chip Cookies

…Glamourous, crunchy, rich with chocolate bits and nuts. Also known as ‘Toll House’ cookies…from Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield’s charming New England Toll House on the outskirts of Whitman, Massachusetts. These cookies were first introduced to American homemakers in 1939 through our series of radio talks on ‘Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places.’
Mix thoroughly…2/3 cup soft shortening (part butter), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla.
Sift together and stir in…6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces (about 1 1/4 cups) *For a softer, more rounded cooky, use 1 3/4 cups sifted flour.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls about 2″ apart on ungreased bakding sheet. Bake until delicately browned…cookies should still be soft. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.
Temperature: 375 degrees (quick mod. oven). Time: Bake 8 to 10 min.. Amount: 4 to 5 doz. 2″ cookies.” —Betty Crocker’s Picture Book, General Mills, Inc., revised and enlarged, 2nd edition [McGraw-Hills Book Company:New York] 1956 (p. 197)

 

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