A bit of Americana Cooking - A Classic from the 1930s

By Suzanne Gougherty | 

Did you ever wonder where the name Toll House chocolate chip cookies originated? Their early days of popularity began at the Toll House Inn, (Whitman, Massachusetts) and no it was never a toll booth. But let’s focus on the cookie.

Flashback to 1930’s when Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield owned the Toll House Inn – Ruth well, she did all the cooking. So one day in 1936 she began preparing her desserts and took a chance by expanding on one of her butter cookies…she simply decided to try something new for her guests.

She took a Nestle semisweet chocolate bar and began to chop it into pieces adding it to the special batter she had prepared – hence an American original was born. It became popular in the local area and news spread quickly.

Ruth and Nestle's owner made a deal – a lifetime of chocolate in exchange for printing the receipt on their packaging. Her original receipt was published in multiple newspapers, and to this day stands the test of time. Others have tried to improve on Ruth’s receipt, but none have found success by adding other ingredients to the beloved and Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie. 

Thank you, Ruth, for an American classic – for more than 80 years!

Today the only marker standing is the Toll House Inn road sign, the inn burned in 1984, approximately 17 years after the Wakefield’s sold the property. 

A footnote from one of her later edition cookbooks states At Toll House we chill this dough overnight. When ready for baking, we roll a teaspoon of dough between palms of hands and place balls two inches apart on greased baking sheet. Then we press balls with fingertips to form flat rounds. This way cookies do not spread as much in the baking and they keep uniformly round.”

Copyright by Suzanne Gougherty © 2019. All right reserved.


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