No, they were not found in China by explorer Marco Polo. They didn’t show up in the castle dining room of some French king or queen. Contrary to some stories, their invention was no accident. Ruth Graves Wakefield, chef and owner of the Toll House Inn restaurant in Massachusetts, served a butterscotch cookie that her clients adored. Wanting to expand her repertoire, one day she chopped up a Nestle’s chocolate bar and added the bits into her cookie batter, producing the first toll house cookie. A perfectionist and first-class baker, she tweaked the recipe until she discovered the perfect combination, and so the country’s most popular cookie was born. The Nestle Company purchased the exclusive rights to the recipe two decades later, securing both their company’s and the New England cook’s place in the history books.
The Toll House Inn, which was located on the street between Boston and Cape Cod, was a regular stop for famous citizens, among them the Kennedy family, and has been known for their excellent food, especially their desserts.
Since its humble beginnings from one easy recipe, an entire industry was spawned, with countless variations and combinations. The Cookie Monster surely did his part to promote biscuits to kids, notably the chocolate chip variety heading the list. A young entrepreneurial homemaker named Mrs. Fields sold pricey gourmet cookies throughout the nation’s shopping malls. David’s Cookies and Famous Amos rode the tide during the explosion of cookie recognition, each featuring their unique version of the chocolate chip cookie. Online sales abound for these beloved treats, and dozens of brands line grocery store shelves together with a variety of chip tastes and sizes.
A recipe which even a young child or adolescent can handle, pre-made dough may also be bought, ready to bake, for those unwilling to start from scratch. What can compare to freshly baked cookies, and these high the hit parade in aroma and simplicity. Many future chefs and bakers cut their teeth on this popular recipe, no doubt sneaking tastes of raw dough when mom was not looking.