Thursday, August 19, 2010


Chocolate Chip Cookie

It may be hard to believe, but before the 1930s no one had ever had the pleasure of biting into a chocolate chip cookie. Why? The sweet world-famous treat had not been invented yet.

Ruth Graves Wakefield was the woman responsible for coming up with the concoction. Ruth graduated from the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. After graduation, she worked as a dietitian and food lecturer. In 1930, Ruth and her husband Kenneth Wakefield purchased a Cape Cod-style toll house located halfway between Boston and New Bedford, on the outskirts of Whitman, Massachusetts. The house had originally been built in 1709, and at that time it had served as a haven for road-weary travelers. There, passengers paid tolls, changed horses and ate home-cooked meals.

More than 200 years later, the Wakefields decided to build on the house's tradition, turning into a lodge and calling it the Toll House Inn. Ruth cooked home-made meals and baked for guests of the inn, and as she improved upon traditional Colonial recipes, her incredible desserts began attracting people from all over New England.

One of Ruth's favorite recipes was for Butter Drop Do cookies. As she prepared the batter one day she discovered she had run out of baker's chocolate. She found a semi-sweet chocolate bar that had been given to her by Andrew Nestle, and so she cut it into tiny bits and added them to the dough, expecting them to melt as the cookies baked in the oven. However, the chocolate did not melt. Instead, it held its shape and softened to a delicately creamy texture. Needless to say, the cookies Ruth had created became very popular with guests at the inn, and soon her recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, as well as other papers in the New England area.

Meanwhile, Nestle saw sales of its Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar jump dramatically, and Ruth and Nestle came together to reach an agreement that would allow Nestle to print the "Toll House Cookie" recipe on its packaging. Part of this agreement included supplying Ruth with all of the chocolate she could use for the rest of her life.

Nestle, meanwhile, began scoring the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar, and packaged it with a special chopper for easily cutting it into small morsels. Then, in 1939, Nestle had a better idea, and began offering Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels. The rest is "chocolate-chip" history. Ruth continued to cook up a storm, producing a series of cookbooks including "Ruth Wakefield's Recipes: Tried and True," which went through thirty-nine printings. She and Kenneth sold the Toll House Inn in 1966 to a family that tried to turn it into a nightclub. In 1970 it was bought by the Saccone family who turned it back into it's original form. The Toll House burned down, however, on New Years Eve in 1984.

Ruth Graves Wakefield passed away in 1977.

Here is a great chocolate chip cookie recipe from the net. It makes 3 to 4 dozen delicious cookies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, ideally with a wire whisk, and set it aside.

In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and white granulated sugar with an electric mixer to form a granular paste. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until thoroughly mixed.

Blend in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chips (and optional walnuts), at low speed until the ingredients are well distributed.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for a minute or so, then remove to wire racks or other cool surface with a spatula.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

6 ounces brown sugar
6 ounces sugar
9 ounces softened butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
13 ounces bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
12 ounces lrg chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 F. Cream the butter, sugar and then the eggs and vanilla. Sift the flour and baking powder and mix into the batter. Once combined add the chocolate chips.

Using a spoon or scoop place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Once slightly browned around the edges remove the cookies from the oven and cool.