NEW YORK — It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, when we celebrate the gooey, melty, nourish-your-soul goodness of this American staple.
What better way to celebrate the day than to bake your own batch of chocolate perfection? But how do you go about it? A Google search for “chocolate chip cookie recipe” yields more than 2.2 million results, each boasting of being the “best ever.”
At times like this, it’s always best to go to the source. The original recipe. The one that inspired imitators for more than 75 years. The one that was an accident.
Below is the story of how these cookies came to be.
The classic Nestle chocolate chip cookie originates from a tale of chance at a lodge in Whitman, Massachusetts — the Toll House Inn — owned by Ruth Wakefield and her husband. The inn was purposed for road-weary travelers who needed a good night’s sleep and some food.
Wakefield made all of the meals served at the inn. One day, while baking a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, she added chopped-up bits from a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar. She thought it would create solid chocolate cookies. But that didn’t go as planned, and a star was born.
The chocolate chip cookie, originally called the “Toll House Crunch Cookie,” recipe was published in a Boston newspaper and quickly became one of America’s favorites, according to Nestle.
The original instructions call for straightforward, no-frills ingredients including, yes, nuts (of your choice.) The recipe was originally featured in Wakefield’s “Tried and True” cookbook and first appeared on the back of the iconic yellow Toll House package in 1939.
Wakefield is also the reason Nestle broke its traditional chocolate bar into smaller pieces — 160, to be exact — making the chocolate easier to work with. You probably know these pieces as “morsels.”
The chocolate chip cookie has been replicated many different ways over the years — crunchy, soft, thick, thin, nuts, no nuts. But no matter the recipe, Wakefield serves as proof that some accidents can be sour, but others can be pretty sweet.