The Inventor of the Chocolate Chip

The story of the chocolate chip begins with a woman names Ruth Graves Wakefield, who studied “household arts” at Framingham State Normal School. After graduating in 1924, she pursued a career as a dietician and food lecturer. In 1930, Ruth and her husband purchased an inn near Whitman, Massachusetts. They named it the Toll House Inn because the building was originally used as a place for travelers to rest, but was also a place where tolls were collected.

Baking at the Toll House Inn

Ruth did the cooking and the baking at the inn, and enjoyed serving dishes made from old American recipes. Both the Toll House Inn and Ruth herself became famous because of her desserts. One day, Ruth was mixing up the dough for a chocolate butter cookie known as Butter Drop Do. However, Ruth discovered that she was out of baking chocolate, which was integral to the recipe. What Ruth did have was a Nestle chocolate bar. She chopped the chocolate bar into pieces and dropped the pieces into the batter, expecting them to spread when the cookies were baked. To her surprise, the finished cookies were golden brown and dotted with chocolate “chips.”

An Agreement With Nestle

The customers at the Toll House Inn greatly enjoyed Ruth’s “Toll House crunch cookies,” as she called them. They became so popular that the recipe was printed in a Boston newspaper. In the late 30’s, Ruth contacted the Nestle Company about a partnership. Nestle agreed to score their semi-sweet chocolate bars for easy cutting (they even included a chocolate chopping tool with each bar) and to print Ruth’s recipe on the label of every bar. Ruth got a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.

The Creation of the Nestle Morsel

In 1939, Nestle made it even easier to bake Toll House cookies with the introduction of the semi-sweet chocolate morsel. Today, Nestle morsels are available in a variety of flavors, such as peanut butter, butterscotch, white chocolate, and mint. Every package of Nestle morsels, whatever the flavor, still bears a picture of the Toll House Inn.

More About Ruth Wakefield

In 1940, Ruth Wakefield wrote a cookbook called “Toll House Tried and True Recipes.” The cookbook was quite popular, and went through 39 printings. She and her husband continued to run the Toll House Inn until 1966. Ruth passed away in 1977 after seeing her cookie recipe printed on millions of packages of Nestle morsels. Sadly, the Toll House burned down in 1984.

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