Which Came First - the Chip or the Cookie?
by Cindy Regnier
A few days ago I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies (because the hubs loves them) and as I did so, I began to think about who may have invented those little perfectly formed pieces of chocolate that are so important in this classic recipe? (As a side note and point of weirdness, I have one kid who actually prefers his chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips – didn’t get that from his dad!)
So perhaps you’ve heard the famous story often told and available on their website, about Ruth Graves Wakefield and the Nestle company. As the story goes, in 1937 Mrs. Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn located in Whitman Massachusetts “ran out” of baker’s chocolate as she made her popular Butter Drop Do cookies. I can’t even find a recipe for this cookie that actually has chocolate in it. Nevertheless, missing this necessary ingredient, Ruth substituted chopped up semi-sweet chocolate from a Nestle bar given to her by one of the Nestle family. Hmmm. Sounds a little too gimmicky to me already, but it gets better. The semi-sweet chunks didn’t melt like baker’s chocolate, but kept their general chunk shape, except that they got softer. Apparently, her guests loved them and the chocolate chip cookie was born. (Notice I said chocolate chip cookie and not chocolate chip – we’ll come back to that.) The recipe was such a hit Wakefield published it in a cookbook, Wakefield’s Tried and True cookbook in 1938,and it was featured on the
Betty Crocker’s radio show. Wakefield eventually struck a deal with Nestle: They would feature her recipe on the back of every bar of semi-sweet chocolate and she’d get a lifetime supply of their chocolate. Pretty sweet deal – huh?
The term “chocolate chip” appears to have originated in the late 1800s as part of an English tea biscuit recipe. The chips weren’t what we think of as a chocolate chip, it was the shape of the biscuits when they were cut into small strips that the recipe called chips. The recipe did contain chocolate, but of the melted variety, not pieces.
In 1892, the “chip” title was applied to candy in an ad for Kaufmann’s candy. A year later, another candy company advertised their own chocolate chip candies. In 1897 an actual court case involving the use of the trademarked name “Trowbridge Chocolate Chips” described the chips in question as “thin oblong pieces of molasses candy coated with chocolate.” This thin candy business continued into the 1930s, when Wakefield’s recipe became popular. Then in 1940, Nestle finally unveiled morsels for sale, and ads from the time tout the availability of both bars and morsels. Note that Nestle always markets its product as morsels, not chips. Really? Who makes Chocolate Morsel cookies? But that’s another story. And there you have it. The chocolate chip cookie was actually invented BEFORE the chocolate chip. Throw that out at the dinner table as a fun bit of trivia. Just make sure there’s chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
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Thank you for the fun post this morning! But now I'm craving a warm, gooey cookie.ReplyDelete
Me too Connie! Lets go make some yummy CCCs!ReplyDelete