A Failed Recipe


One day in 1930, the innkeeper of the Toll House Inn wanted to make something different as a dessert. Her name was Ruth Wakefield, which I mention because we should all be grateful to her. She was making a type of butter cookie that had been around since the colonial times. To make these cookies different, she decided to add a chocolate flavor to them. Normally, a baker would accomplish this by adding cocoa powder. The problem was Mrs. Wakefield was out of cocoa powder. So she decided to substitute what she had on hand. The innkeeper and baker cut up a Nestle’s chocolate bar and dropped the pieces into her dough. After all, the temperature at which cookies bake is hot enough to melt chocolate, or so she thought. She later admitted that she assumed the chocolate would melt into the cookies, giving them a nice, even chocolate flavor. The innkeeper had expected to pull out chocolate cookies, but to her surprise the pieces of chocolate remained intact. Though they were a bit melted, rather than chocolate cookies, she had butter cookies with pieces of chocolate in them. She called them her Toll House crunch cookies, but they are known today as chocolate chip cookies. Her reward from Nestle, whose sales skyrocketed after they put her recipe on their packaging, was a lifetime supply of chocolate. Here is one mistake that definitely changed the world for the better. Yumm.

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