Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
As with many great inventions, the chocolate chip cookie was a culinary accident. It was first made by Ruth Wakefield in 1930 when she was trying to make one of her favorite recipes—Butter Drop Do Cookies. Ruth was making a fresh batch to share with some of the guests at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, a very popular restaurant that featured home cooking.
The recipe called for the use of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. But one afternoon Ruth found herself without the required ingredient. She substituted a semi-sweet chocolate bar that she cut up into pieces. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt completely, the small pieces only softened and left luscious pools of chocolate in the middle of the buttery dough.
The restaurant’s popularity was not only due to her home-cooked style meals; her policy was to give diners a whole extra helping of their entrées to take home with them along with some of her homemade cookies. Ruth memorialized the recipe in her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, which was published in 1936 by M. Barrows & Company, New York. It included the recipe “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie”, which rapidly became a favorite to be baked in homes all over America.
So how did it become America’s most favorite cookie? As it happened, the chocolate bar she used had been given to her by Andrew Nestle of the Nestle Chocolate Company. As the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bar increased. Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield struck a deal; Nestle would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on its packaging and Ruth Wakefield would have a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.
Chocolate chip cookies can be made from scratch (see recipe) or you can purchase one of Choclatique’s failure-proof bakery mixes—Ed’s Best Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix. Regardless of which way you choose to go, you can always have fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chunk cookies ready for the kids when they come home from school.