Who Invented Chocolate Chip Cookies? Story of the Blissful Biscuit

Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in the 1930s and the rest is history.

The enticing aroma and taste of chocolate chip cookies have become synonymous with warmth, welcoming, and home. It’s a classic childhood favorite and a go-to comfort food for many.

Who Invented Chocolate Chip Cookies?

The culinary world has Ruth Wakefield to thank for the invention of chocolate chip cookies. Ruth, a dietitian and food lecturer, co-owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, in the 1930s.

She was famous for her desserts, particularly her chocolate chip cookies. Her unexpected addition of chocolate chips to dough changed the baking world forever and became a timeless favorite worldwide.

When Were Chocolate Chip Cookies Invented?

Chocolate chip cookies were invented in 1938. While baking for her patrons at the Toll House Inn, Ruth Wakefield realized she was out of baker’s chocolate for her regular chocolate cookies.

In a rush, she chopped up a semisweet chocolate bar and added it to the dough, expecting it to melt during baking.

However, the bits of chocolate held their shape, resulting in a cookie studded with warm, melty chocolate bits. This serendipitous happening paved the way for one of the most popular cookies of all time.

A New Cookie on the Block

Ruth Wakefield didn’t set out to create an iconic cookie, she was merely trying to whip up a quick dessert with the ingredients she had on hand. Ruth’s mistake turned out to be a mouthwatering masterpiece that won the hearts of cookie lovers worldwide.

The unexpected but delightful combination of buttery sweet dough and semisweet chocolate proved to be irresistible.

The popularity of these cookies escalated so much that in 1939, the recipe was printed in a regional newspaper, garnering them nationwide attention and increasing demand.

A Sweet Partnership: Nestlé and Ruth Wakefield 

The invention of the chocolate chip cookie influenced not only the world of baking but also the world of business. The chocolate bar Ruth Wakefield used was actually a gift from Andrew Nestlé, of the Nestlé Company.

As the cookie’s popularity grew, so did the sales of Nestlé semisweet chocolate bars. Realizing a symbiotic business opportunity, Nestlé signed an agreement with Wakefield in 1939.

Ruth gave Nestlé the right to use her recipe and the Toll House name in perpetuity, and in return, she was promised a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. A sweet deal indeed!

Chipping Away at Cookie History

What started as an impromptu solution by Ruth Wakefield evolved into a phenomenon transcending age, culture, and geography. Today, variations of Ruth’s original recipe live on, with bakers worldwide adding their personal touch, be it nuts, caramel, or even a sprinkling of sea salt. 

But no matter the incarnation, at the heart of each delicious creation, lies Ruth’s wonderful invention – the humble and universally adored chocolate chip cookie.

The Spread of Chocolate Chip Cookies 

From Ruth Wakefield’s Inn to a nationwide phenomenon, the spread of chocolate chip cookies was swift and far-reaching. Following the publication of the recipe, eager bakers across America began crafting their own versions of the sweet treat.

The growing popularity led to an increase in sales of semisweet chocolate bars, marking a historic moment in America’s culinary history.

Today, the cookie’s influence is evident, with different versions of it being baked in every corner of the world.

Variations of Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are many variations of the chocolate chip cookie. Some alter the base dough, using brown sugar for a darker, richer taste, or using melted butter for a chewier texture.

The type of chocolate used can greatly alter the flavor— from white chocolate to dark chocolate chips, each adding a distinct flavor. Some even add chopped nuts to the recipe for additional texture, making each chocolate chip cookie recipe unique.

A beloved aspect of making chocolate chip cookies is the cookie dough. Chocolate chip cookie dough, made of a mixture of wet and dry ingredients such as butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, flour, and baking soda, mixed with chocolate chips, can be eaten raw or baked into soft, delightful cookies.

Some people love adding chunks of this dough to vanilla ice cream, creating the popular flavor – chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream!

America’s Favorite Cookie

The chocolate chip cookie quickly became America’s favorite cookie. It didn’t matter if they were Toll House Cookies or homemade versions, the chewy texture combined with the sweetness of chocolate was irresistible. Even during the trying times of the Great Depression and World War II, these cookies emerged as a comforting staple.

Today, there is hardly a bakery or household that does not bake these cookies!

The Cultural Impact of Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beyond merely its taste, the chocolate chip cookie became an icon of American culture and hospitality.

They came to symbolize home, warmth, and comfort. During World War II, soldiers from Massachusetts who were stationed overseas would receive care packages, which often included chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies began to be shared among the soldiers from different states and soon requests flooded in for families to include these sweet treats in their own care packages. Since then, chocolate chip cookies have been embraced as a comforting sweet treat worldwide.

Evolution Over Time

While Ruth Wakefield’s original recipe is still widely used today, many variations have arisen over time. Some bakers experiment by adding oats, peanut butter, and caramel, or imparting flavors like vanilla or almond. Others play with the type of chocolate, going dark for an intense flavor or white for a creamy twist.

These modifications have expanded the chocolate chip cookie family, enriching its delicious offerings and cementing its place in the global cookie collection.

Chocolate Chip Cookies in Modern Times

In the digital age, the chocolate chip cookie retains its popularity. Endless recipes circulate the internet, from vegan versions and gluten-free adaptations to giant skillet cookies.

The hashtag #chocolatechipcookies boasts millions of posts on Instagram, showcasing the humble cookie’s star power. It has found its place in ice cream, cakes, and even in the form of scented candles, room fresheners, etc.

A Bite into the Economics

The chocolate chip cookie has done more than just please our taste buds, it has also given a boost to the confectionery industry. From pre-packaged cookies to baking mixes, the influence of Ruth Wakefield’s invention extends widely.

The agreement between Nestlé and Wakefield led to the creation of the Toll House Cookie brand, which still exists today.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Timeless Love Story

More than eighty years after its invention, the chocolate chip cookie remains a beloved comfort food.

Despite evolving tastes and trends, this scrumptious invention continues to hold its ground, proving that when it comes to cookies, very few can compete with the delightful experience that a chocolate chip cookie offers.

You could most certainly name a few other competitors such as oatmeal raisin cookies or brown butter cookies, but there is something incomparable about the classic combination of sweet dough, rich chocolate chips, and optional nuts that makes the chocolate chip cookie a constant crowd-pleaser.

One bite into its crumbly, melty wonder, and it’s evident why – the chocolate chip cookie isn’t just a cookie, it’s literally a feeling.

References

https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=41uxIF9XU_IC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=ruth+wakefield&ots=AvxX6eQ6_b&sig=uzoK9RtdvCePqRhi3P3ZDLTMFdM#v=onepage&q=ruth%20wakefield&f=false

https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XXb0AQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA8&dq=who+invented+chocolate+chip+cookies&ots=OggXi3RfP6&sig=RaiUsJxSpovq1P3bX919hHTKGiA#v=onepage&q=who%20invented%20chocolate%20chip%20cookies&f=false

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0276146706296713

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J118v05n02_04

https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=pJIzo4Q3TD4C&oi=fnd&pg=PT13&dq=impact+of+chocolate+chip+cookies+history&ots=sCG9A-U0Yq&sig=1P952ioLM8FkC8p2vCqIqwzVYx0#v=onepage&q=impact%20of%20chocolate%20chip%20cookies%20history&f=false

How to Cite this Article

There are three different ways you can cite this article.

1. To cite this article in an academic-style article or paper, use:

Syed Rafid Kabir, "Who Invented Chocolate Chip Cookies? Story of the Blissful Biscuit", History Cooperative, December 11, 2023, https://historycooperative.org/who-invented-chocolate-chip-cookies/. Accessed July 14, 2024

2. To link to this article in the text of an online publication, please use this URL:

https://historycooperative.org/who-invented-chocolate-chip-cookies/

3. If your web page requires an HTML link, please insert this code:

<a href="https://historycooperative.org/who-invented-chocolate-chip-cookies/">Who Invented Chocolate Chip Cookies? Story of the Blissful Biscuit</a>

Leave a Comment

Share
Tweet
Reddit
Pin
Email