Find Out Why Chocolate Chip Cookies Were History’s Best Mistake

Is there a dessert more iconic than the Chocolate Chip Cookies. Whether you’re dunking them in milk, leaving them out for Santa or just sneaking in an afternoon treat, they’ve become an irreplaceable part of childhood. But did you know that we may never have had these delicious cookies in our lives at all had it not been for an unexpected kitchen accident?

It all began in 1930 when Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband, Kenneth, were running the Toll House Inn on Route 18 near Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth was a dietitian and food expert, and even held a degree in household arts and gave lectures on the subject. She also prepared all the meals for her guests at the Inn and developed a reputation as an excellent chef, especially when it came to desserts.

It was during one of these baking sessions that she inadvertently stumbled upon a whole new recipe. She was busy whipping up a batch of Chocolate Butter Drop Do cookies, a very popular biscuit at the time – but discovered that she had run out of baking chocolate. Since it was already night and she couldn’t send out for more, she decided to chop up a bar of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate that had been given to her by Andrew Nestlé himself.

She had expected the chocolate to melt and disperse within the dough but to her surprise, the chunks retained their form while turning soft and gooey in the centre. And thus, with necessity as the mother of invention, the Chocolate Chip Cookie was born. 

They turned out to be such a hit among her guests with frequent requests to make more than her creation began spreading out from her little town. She called the recipe a ‘Chocolate Crunch Cookie’ and proceeded to publish it in several magazines and newspapers across New England. It got so much attention that it was picked up by the Betty Crocker Cooking School – a radio show run by the queen of baking herself – and suddenly the popularity exploded to a national level. 

Building on this success as well as her already prolific baking knowledge, Ruth went on to publish  Toll House Tried And True Recipes, featuring the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie”, in 1936, a book that is still popular to this day. Thanks to this, the sales of Nestlé’s chocolate skyrocketed and Andrew Nestlé struck a deal with Ruth to print her recipe on the chocolate labels under the title of ‘Mrs. Wakefield’s Toll House Cookies’. 

They even went on to score their bars for easier breaking and eventually released a bag of pre-chopped chocolate morsels in 1939, solely for the purpose of baking cookies. You can still find Ruth Wakefield’s recipe printed on those bags today. But if you don’t have one on you, we’ve included it below. 

Try Mr. Ruth Wakefield’s iconic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for a sweet taste of history.


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ⅔ cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nut


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C. 
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. 
  • In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugars and add vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. 
  • Add one egg and beat well. Add the second egg and beat well. 
  • Gradually fold in the flour mixture and stir in chocolate pieces. 
  • Drop a tablespoon size dollop onto baking sheets and bake cookies until golden brown or for around 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on trays for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.