Ruth Wakefield: One Smart Cookie

Chocolate chip cookies are such a tried-and-true favorite, it seems like they’ve been around forever. But they actually weren’t invented until 1938 by Ruth Graves Wakefield. The chocolate chip cookie just celebrated its 75th birthday this year!

Wakefield was a dietician who graduated from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. She and her husband owned a tourist lodge in Whitman, Massachusetts, named the Toll House Inn. Ruth cooked and served all of the food for the meals served to their guests.

As the story goes, one day Mrs. Wakefield ran out of baker’s chocolate while making chocolate drop cookies, so she substituted a Nestlé semisweet chocolate bar. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt and mix into the batter. Thus, the chocolate chip cookie was born.

As Ruth’s Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle’s semisweet chocolate bar increased. In exchange for a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate, Wakefield sold her recipe to the Nestlé company, which printed instructions for making Toll House cookies on the wrappers of their semisweet chocolate bars.

As the popularity of the Nestlé® Toll House® cookie continued to grow, the company began scoring their semisweet chocolate bar and packaging it with a special chopper for easily cutting it into small pieces. Then in 1939, Nestlé started selling tiny pieces of chocolate in convenient, ready-to-use packages – and that is how the first chocolate chip morsels were introduced.

Ruth died in 1977, and the Toll House Inn burned down burned down from a fire that started in the kitchen on New Year’s Eve of 1984. The inn was not rebuilt, but the site is marked with a historical marker. The agreement to publish Wakefield’s recipe on the back of each Nestlé Toll House chocolate package is still honored in the 21st century.


Sweet Morsels: A History of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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