A Sweet Treat

Ruth Wakefield’s sweet story is a true lesson in ingenuity. After studying to become a dietician and food lecturer, Wakefield and her husband bought an inn between Boston and New Bedford in Massachusetts, which they named the Toll House Inn. She planned the inn’s menus, and baked for its guests. Wakefield was continually altering and improving her recipes, and as a result, her desserts became quite famous throughout New England.

toll house cookies

photo credit: slgckgc

While preparing a batch of her famous Butter Drop Do cookies one day, she realized she was out of baking chocolate. So she substituted a cut-up bar of semisweet chocolate that had been given to her by Andrew Nestle, figuring that the chunks would melt into the batter as the cookies baked. She was surprised to find they didn’t melt when she pulled the cookies from the oven, but the resulting treats were still delicious in their own right. The Toll House chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular throughout the area. The recipe even appeared in a Boston newspaper. Nestle saw an increase in the sale of his semisweet chocolate bars, and eventually introduced semisweet chocolate morsels, making it even easier to bake chocolate chip cookies with his chocolate.

Wakefield and Nestle eventually struck a deal that allowed Nestle to print the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate morsels. In exchange, Wakefield got free chocolate for the rest of her life. If it wasn’t for Wakefield’s resourcefulness and creativity, the world might have missed out on her delicious chocolate chip cookies.


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