History of Toll House Cookies | New England’s Food Gifts

Do you know where the first chocolate chip cookie was invented? Learn the history of Toll House Cookies, America’s favorite cookie.

By Leslie Land

Mar 13 2016


Ruth Wakefield’s Original Tollhouse Cookies

Photo Credit : Adam Detour
History of Toll House Cookies
History of Toll House Cookies

In 1930, Ken and Ruth Wakefield opened a restaurant on the old toll road between Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts. The 1709 building had been the old toll house, so they called their new establishment the Toll House Inn. Toll House cookies were born (so the story goes) when Mrs. Wakefield ran out of nuts for her “Butter Drop-Do” cookies and put a chopped bar of Nestlé’s semisweet chocolate into the dough instead. She thought she was saving time—that the chopped chocolate would melt and swirl, making a sort of marble cookie. It didn’t. The cookies, christened “Chocolate Crispies,” were nevertheless a success, and the inn became known for them. As the recipe got around, the folks at Nestlé noticed an increase in sales in the Boston area, figured out the cause, and starting scoring their chocolate bars for easier breaking. Chocolate morsels followed. Shortly after that, some genius in the marketing department got Mrs. Wakefield’s permission to print the recipe on the wrapper.

— Excerpt from “Chocolate Makes You Sweet,” by Leslie Land. Yankee Magazine, February, 1999.

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