Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Chocolate Chip Cookies: Inventions by Women A-Z


Few can resist the tantalizing aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven on a cold wintry afternoon and that first  gooey, warm bite.

It's been estimated that the average person consumes 35,000 cookies in their lifetime, and of those, 50% are Chocolate Chip.


Did you know that it is the way the chocolate chip pieces melt individually in the dough that sets this cookie apart from all others? Did you also know that the recipe for this cookie came about by pure accident?

It all started with the purchase of an old (1709) rundown Cape Cod-style toll house* in the Boston/New Bedford area in 1930, by a young married couple named Ken and Ruth Wakefield. They used their life savings, at a time in history when others might have hesitated. It was the Great Depression. They called their new tourist lodge The Toll House Inn.
 
The Wakefield's Toll House Inn (fully restored)
[*Toll houses (inns) were popular in the 18th century and common along toll roads. Stagecoaches would stop at the inns to pay the road fee and passengers would rest awhile and dine].

Ruth Graves Wakefield (1903-1977)

Ruth, as an educated dietician and home economist, took on the cooking for the guests. The Toll House Inn restaurant flourished and became quite popular with the locals. Guests grew to love (and expect) a cookie on the menu called Butter Drop-Do Cookies . . . but that's when the accident occurred, sometime around 1937 (the actual date is still debated).

Butter Drop-Do Cookies
The recipe called for melted squares of baking chocolate, but when Ruth checked the pantry one evening, she discovered she was out. With guests waiting, and seeing some Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars on the shelf, she decided to substitute the bars. Breaking the bars into pieces, she fully expected the chocolate to melt and blend into the dough. Well, of course it didn't, and the rest is history. The new cookie was a huge hit and was called Chocolate Crispy Cookies at first (another source claims it was called Chocolate Crunch Cookies). 

The kind of chocolate Ruth used
Word spread as the cookie gained in popularity. Meanwhile the demand for Nestles Chocolate increased dramatically, as did the company's profits. A deal was finally made in 1939 between Ruth and the owner, Andrew Nestles. Henceforth, the agreement said, Nestles would give Ruth a lifetime supply of chocolate and print the cookie's recipe on the Nestles package. Besides the great taste, it is the main reason Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies are America's most popular cookie today.  

Sadly, The Toll House Inn burned 
to the ground in 1985.  

Curious about the first recipe? 


The original recipe was printed in the Syracuse Herald-Journal in 1940, as taken from Ruth Wakefield's cookbook:

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar [packed]
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten, whole

1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon hot water
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 semi-sweet chocolate. Flavor with the vanilla and drop half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 375° 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." 


Ruth added the recipe to a revised cookbook, with this note:  

 "At Toll House we chill this dough overnight. When ready for baking, we roll a teaspoon of dough between palms of hands and place balls two inches apart on greased 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 white and hard as I have sometimes seen them."

Cookie!






Sources:
http://www.women-inventors.com/Ruth-Wakefield.asp
http://www.cooksinfo.com/ruth-wakefield
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Graves_Wakefield http://historyspaces.blogspot.com/2012/03/history-of-chocolate-chip-cookie-and.html

Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl

39 comments:

  1. A mouth watering post Sharon, and excellntly written, with delicious photo's to match.

    Have a nice day.

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    1. Thanks! I've been craving these cookies and I don't think I have Nestles in the cupboard....one of those other brands....and now I feel like a traitor :-)

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  2. Hi Sharon - it's interesting how famous recipes come to the fore through accident. Fascinating they chose to open an inn ... but how successful they were. Sad it burnt down .. and I do love a chocolate chip biscuit occasionally .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Oh, that's right.....Brits call them biscuits. Malaysians do too I learned living there (they have British influence that goes way back). Someday you need to write a post about that, Hilary :)

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  3. I adore chocolate chip cookies - what a happy accident :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. I love that it was an accident, too. Unfortunately, my accidents in the kitchen do not bare repeating!!

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  4. Thanks so much for this recipe. Anything chocolate hold a special place in my heart.

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    1. Oh good. I've never seen a cookie recipe that complicated. Have you? I definitely want to try it someday.

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  5. Ha! I never imagined chocolate chip cookies would have an origin story :) How nice.
    Also, I always suspected I am not an average person... I prefer Oatmeal Raisin to chocolate chip. Yeah, I know.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Ha-Ha. I eat a lot of oatmeal for health reasons but also love the cookie.....actually, ALL cookies!

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  6. Love your theme :) and love cookies, so perfect blog post! xx

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. Hope you're enjoying the A-Z!

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  7. This is true awesomeness! Thanks for sharing. I had not heard the story behind chocolate chip cookies. They are my favorite and the second thing I learned how to bake. The first was my Grandma's biscuits. Drop by Down Home Thoughts and search for biscuits if you are interested. Thanks again for an amazing article.

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    1. Thanks! Those biscuits that Grandma made really inspired me. I've it added it to my impromptu menu for future use :)

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  8. Ohhhh.... This brings memories. Dad used to make these cookies with the 'help' of us children. That was the recipe he used (except, of course, they had chocolate chips, by then - ALWAYS Nestle's!). I can smell the kitchen. What a lovely post - and what beautiful woman she was. I'll make those cookies tomorrow!

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    1. What is it about this cookie that inspires such warm memories? Me, too....many of them! One memory was trying not to eat the chocolate chips before they made it to the cookie dough. Ah...pure sweetness. Neat your dad used the original recipe!

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  9. Fantastic! The chocolate chip cookie was a happy accident! She got a pretty good deal too...a recipe in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate...yes please!
    TheCyborgMom

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    1. I know, I know. FREE chocolate!! Can you imagine?

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  10. Oh, I loved learning so many tantalizing tidbits about this cookie! Have a great Easter weekend. We're having a huge surprise 40th birthday for MaryAnn at our house tomorrow night, so I've been getting ready for it all week, and am still not done. I made her a scrapbook with a picture of her for each year of her life. We'll let the guests look at that while Johathan's taking her to dinner at Swilly's and then bringing her back here for cake and 45 people wishing her a happy b-day.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. Have a nice Easter and a fun birthday celebration for MaryAnn on her 40th. She'll love it!!

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  11. Great post. Of course, now I have to go have a chocolate chip cookie.

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    1. I know....it's one of the HAPPY drawbacks of this post. Enjoy!!

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  12. Sharon, I didn't know half of this. Chocolate chip is good, but I love peanut butter the most.

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    1. Ha-ha....brave confession at a chocolate-gathering fest, Dixie. I confess I love peanut butter too. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't, so if I bake them, guess who eats them all? Not a bad thing I guess, but not so good on the waistline!

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  13. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. I think those are my absolute favorite. Now I want to make some chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I can add a couple easter colored m&m's and bring them to Easter! ha.
    https://thefroglady.wordpress.com

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    1. Sounds absolutely yummy, Froglady :) Happy Easter!

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  14. That pic of the Cookie Monster is totally me. Don't you love my blue hair? I LOVE COOOOKIES!!!!!!

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  15. Ha-ha. Love your sense of humor, Lexa :) Congrats again on the publication of your new book!

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  16. Oh nothing is like Chocolate chip cookies:) I had no idea how it started so this was wonderful to read about. Sad about the Inn burning down

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  17. Enjoy a plateful this weekend, Birgit. Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I remember learning about chocolate chip cookies being an accidental creation a few years back. Great post! :)

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    1. Hi Heather! Have a nice Easter weekend.

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  19. That's so cool that such a popular recipe was an accident.

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  20. I'm just happy to have found it....can't wait to try the original! Thanks for visiting, Danielle.

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  21. Super fabulous post thanks Sharon! 17500 cookies (here in South Africa we call them biscuits, although I think wrt to choc chip we do call them cookies)? Double that - once I've tried the recipe. Interesting how they came to be!

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  22. Who doesn't love choc chip cookies? I wonder how many other great culinary favourites were the result of 'accidents'?

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  23. How neat to read these stories - I knew woman are amazing. The proof is in the choco chip cookie ;p

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  24. Chocolate chip cookies have to be one of the best inventions ever. They are among my favourite things.

    www.passporttobrilliance.com/blog
    www.creativecaravanclub.com

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