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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

Yummy Origin Stories: Chocolate Chip Cookies

We love food! We especially love creative food treats that were invented to make us happy, if not necessarily healthy. You just know the origin stories of those delightful products have to be interesting and probably surprising, too!

Ruth Wakefield invented America’s beloved chocolate chip cookie (originally called Chocolate Crunch Cookies) in 1937 at the historic Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth and her husband Kenneth ran the popular inn for many years. Ruth came up with the idea as a way to improve upon her butterscotch nut cookies served at the inn.

The first printed evidence for the recipe is shown here. You’ll notice that it calls for two Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bars “cut in pieces the size of a pea.” This is because chocolate chips had not yet been invented.

Ruth’s creation became wildly popular and Nestlé created their now iconic “chocolate morsels” -- aka chocolate chips – in 1941.

Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. Nestlé began marketing their chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies and printing the recipe for the Toll House Cookie on its package.

Sadly, the Toll House Inn burned down on New Year’s Eve 1984. A commemorative sign marks the location of the former inn at 362 Bedford Street in Whitman. It is now a parking lot shared by a Wendy’s fast food restaurant and a Walgreens pharmacy.

Photos: (Top) Wikimedia Commons; (middle) From “Ruth Wakefield's Toll House Tried and True Recipes,” 1938. New York, M. Barrows & company, Inc.; (right) Wikipedia.

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