Who Invented Chocolate Chip Cookies?

However you rank cookies, I think we can all agree that chocolate chip cookies are at the top and if you disagree, you just don’t get cookies. It’s hard to imagine a time when chocolate chip cookies didn’t exist. But that cold dark time wasn’t that long ago. Who invented the chocolate chip cookie? When and where was the chocolate chip cookie invented? How were chocolate chip cookies invented? Let’s crumble this cookie and get some answers.

Who invented chocolate chip cookies?

Chef Ruth Wakefield invented the beloved chocolate chip cookie. Ruth Graves Wakefield was a college-educated chef, dietitian, teacher, cookbook author, and, most memorably, a recipe developer. Wakefield and her husband Kenneth opened a tourist lodge where she did all of the cooking herself. It was there that the chocolate chip cookie story began.

Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie at her lodge, The Toll House Inn. Yep, that’s right. That’s where we got the Toll House name from. The Toll House Inn opened in Whitman, Massachusetts, in 1930. Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie a few years later, in 1938.

How were chocolate chip cookies invented?

Here is where the story gets a little fuzzy. According to legend, and the story that Nestlé tells, Wakefield was going to make a popular old colonial recipe called chocolate butter drop do cookies. That recipe required baker’s chocolate and evidently Wakefield realized she was missing that ingredient as she began baking. So she improvised and used the gift she had recently received from Andrew Nestlé, some of his semi-sweet chocolate. This chocolate didn’t melt and blend during the baking, but instead stayed in sweet little chocolatey chips.

As cool as that story is, chocolate chip cookies were most likely not invented by accident. Ruth Wakefield was a professional chef and known as a perfectionist. She would probably not have an unstocked kitchen missing needed items going into a bake. Wakefield herself told the Boston Herald-American in 1974, “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.” Her chocolate chip cookie was originally called the Toll House chocolate crunch cookie.

Chocolate chip cookies were instantly popular in the New England area around the Toll House Inn. During World War II, soldiers from that area would receive chocolate chip cookies in their care packages from back home and share them with the other men. Soon, chocolate chip cookies were everywhere. Wakefield sold her chocolate chip cookie recipe to Nestle for just $1, which she says she never received. She did, however, get a lifetime supply of chocolate. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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