The most celebrated chocolate chip cookie is, of course, the Toll House chocolate chip cookie. Today it’s the most popular cookie in America, but the original Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie, was invented in New England by Ruth Wakefield at the Toll House Inn in the 1930s.
They were invented, it turns out, as a happy accident. The Toll House Inn was perfectly situated between Boston and New Bedford. A former dietician and food lecturer with a passion for quality cookery, owner Ruth Wakefield was experimenting in the kitchen one day when she decided to take a bar of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate and break it up into bits, which she added to a butter drop cookie batter. When she took them out of the oven, she was surprised to see that the chocolate hadn’t melted, and the firm bits gave the cookies a unique crunch.
World War II soldiers from Massachusetts who were stationed overseas received care packages from home with the cookies. They shared them with the other soldiers, who wrote home to their families asking if they, too, could receive some Toll House chocolate chip cookies in their care packages. As a result, Wakefield received hundreds of letters from moms around the world asking her for the recipe.
With Ruth’s permission and the hefty fee of $1.00 and unlimited chocolate, Nestle began printing the recipe on the bar’s wrapper, and in 1939, they started selling the chocolate bits on their own in bags, calling them “morsels.” The recipe, nearly identical to the original Toll House Cookie recipe, is still printed on each bag today.
Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Stand Mixer with paddle attachment
- Baking pans, wire rack
- 2¼ cup All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Butter, softened
- ¾ cup White sugar
- ¾ cup Light Brown sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 large Eggs
- 1⅔ cups Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 cup Walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Beat sugars and vanilla extract in a stand mixer on medium speed until creamy. With motor on low, add eggs 1 at a time to incorporate. Gradually add in flour then turn off motor. Stir in chips and, if using, chopped walnuts.
- Drop rounded tbsp of cookie dough onto ungreased baking pans. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until they become golden brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
- Tip – use European butter for a richer cookie.
- Tip – replace unbleached all-purpose flour with bleached all-purpose flour for a lighter cookie.
- Tip – use Muscovado brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar for a slightly more complex flavor.
- Tip – use browned butter to add depth.
- Tip – If adding chopped nuts, lightly toast them first to bring out their nutty flavor. You can also use any nut that you’d like, macadamia nuts and pecans work nicely.
- Tip – reduce salt by half for a better balance.