New Recipe: This Beloved New England Cookie Was Unintentional, And It Became A Worldwide Staple

The baker responsible was Ruth Wakefield, and she already had a reputation with the Toll House Restaurant… Sound familiar?

When we celebrate Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, we’re not just celebrating the actual eating of everyone’s favorite comfort food cookie. We’re also celebrating the fact that yes, while delicious, this cookie was also made by accident – as many great things are – thanks to the absence of the ingredient that was needed to make the original form of the cookie.

Since then, the cookie has been a worldwide staple despite its purely American roots. There are bakeries around the world that compete for the title of having the best, and there are bakers who have played with the recipe until they’ve created a chocolate chip cookie that’s elevated and modern. And, then, there are those of us at home who simply make chocolate chip cookies in the most simple way, only to experience the nostalgia of our childhoods.

Related: Spain Might Not Be Known For Its Cookies But It Really Should Be

To say that this cookie has evolved is an understatement; the chocolate cookie has been absolutely transformed. From a deep-dish surprise served with vanilla ice cream to entire cookie cakes that are being made now for celebrations, this cookie has been iconic in more ways than one. We’re journeying back in time to debunk the biggest myths surrounding this cookie’s creation and to tell the real story of how it was made.

The Myths About How The Chocolate Chip Cookie Was First Baked

In reality, the chocolate chip cookie came about by means of a simple ingredient replacement rather than the slightly chaotic stories that are told about it. One such story includes details about how some chocolate chunks somehow fell off a shelf and into the batter of the cookie, which originally had no chocolate (also untrue). Not only is this fairly implausible due to the fact that chocolate chip cookies would need to have been stored, open, on a shelf directly above a bowl of batter, but it’s too far-fetched to be believed by anyone.

chocolate chunk cookies
via Shutterstock

Another story recounts a similar tale that’s closer to the truth but with a much more clandestine twist. Rather than some chocolate chips or chocolate chunks accidentally making their way into cookie batter, this story claims that the missing ingredient was actually a ‘miracle’ ingredient that came in the form of some chocolate chips. It’s said that this miracle chocolate was a last-minute addition to a rushed batch of cookies and while it would have been successful, it still is not the true story of how the chocolate chip cookie came to be. So, what is the real story, then?

The Actual Truth Of The Chocolate Chip Cookie And Who Created It

To find out when the chocolate chip cookie was created, we need to go back to the 1930s. Despite the fact that it feels as though this cookie should have a long history, it actually doesn’t – while there were other types of cookies (which we’ll get to soon), none sported the classic addition of chocolate that this one does. The woman who created the cookie was Ruth Wakefield, who was also responsible for running the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts (and by now, all of these names should start ringing bells when it comes to chocolate and cookies!). While many of the stories follow an amateur baker, this is not accurate of Wakefield in the slightest. She was actually a very accomplished baker who held a degree in Household Arts, with a reputation at Toll House for her desserts, in particular.

Related: The Best Cookies At Your Local Italian Bakery, Ranked

The cookie itself was neither accident nor mishap, as Wakefield was in the kitchen one day baking up a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, which required solid chocolate in the form of Baker’s Chocolate. Rather than using this, Wakefield chopped up some of a Nestle bar – which she thought might hold the same form as that of Baker’s Chocolate – and the result was, altogether, entirely different.

nestle semi-sweet morsels
via Shutterstock

The chocolate melted into the cookies and created something warm, delicious, and slightly messy, becoming a hit at the restaurant. This, in itself, is iconic, because Butter Drop Do cookies are meant to accompany the main dessert, such as ice cream. In this case, the chocolate chip cookies quickly became the main attraction. Originally, the cookie bore the name the ‘Toll House Crunch Cookie’ and made an appearance on the back of a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar wrapper. Therefore, the chocolate chips in a chocolate chip cookie are fairly modern – originally, it was chocolate ‘morsels’ that made the cookie what it is. The original recipe can still be found today and is, arguably, still the best.

Next: There’s A National Day Dedicated To Oreos, So Here’s Everything You Didn’t Know About These Cookies

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