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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Toll House Cookies
by Ruth Wakefield in
Back in 1930, Kenneth and Ruth Wakefield purchased a Cape Cod-style toll house located halfway between Boston and New Bedford, on the outskirts of Whitman, Massachusetts. Originally constructed in 1709, the house served as a haven for road-weary travelers..
Ruth Wakefield Photo ©Nestle S.A. Courtesy Here, passengers paid tolls, changed horses, and ate much-welcomed home-cooked meals. It was also here, over 200 years later, that the Wakefield decided to open a lodge, calling it the Toll House Inn. In keeping with the tradition of creating delicious homemade meals, Ruth baked for guests who stayed at the Toll House Inn.
As she improved upon traditional Colonial recipes, Ruth's incredible desserts began attracting people from all over New England. One day, while preparing a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, a favorite recipe dating back to Colonial days, Ruth cut a bar of our Nestlé Semi-Sweet Chocolate into tiny bits and added them to her dough, expecting them to melt. Instead, the chocolate held its shape and softened to a delicately creamy texture. The resulting creation became very popular at the Inn. Soon, Ruth's recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, as well as other papers in the New England area. Regional sales of Nestlé Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar skyrocketed.
Toll House Cookies ©Nestle S.A. Courtesy Ruth eventually approached Nestlé and together, they reached an agreement that allowed Nestle to print what would become the Toll House Cookie recipe on the wrapper of the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar. Part of this agreement included supplying Ruth with all of the chocolate she could use to make her delicious cookies for the rest of her life.
As the popularity of the Toll House cookie continued to grow Nestle looked for ways to make it easier for people to bake. Soon, they began scoring the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar, and packaged it with a special chopper for easily cutting it into small morsels. Shortly after, in 1939, they began offering tiny pieces of chocolate in convenient, ready-to-use packages and that is how the first Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels were introduced.


Inventor Profile, Henri Nestle   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Snacks and Food  from The Great Idea Finder

Mistakes That Worked
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Paperback - 48 pages (1994) / Doubleday
Recounting the fascinating stories behind the accidental inventions of forty familiar objects and products.

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
by Catherine Thimmesh, Melissa Sweet (ill.) / Hardcover - 64 pages (2000) / Houghton Mifflin

A dozen women are profiled in this collection of short, anecdotal biographies demonstrating that necessity, ingenuity, and luck all play a part in successful inventions. The final section tells girls how to patent their inventions, and an informed bibliography.

Toll House Tried and True Recipes
Ruth Graves Wakefield / Paperback - 376 pages / Dover Press - 1977
Cookie recipes from Ruth Wakefield herself.
The All-American Cookie Book
by Nancy Baggett / Hardcover: 400 pages / Houghton Mifflin Co; (November 1, 2001)
Every American cookie you can think of is here--more than 150 of them--from luscious Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups and chewy Chocolate Thumbprint Crackles to Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies.

DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / 76488 / Less than $25.00
In the 1930s, the nation made its greatest contribution to cookie culture with the masterpiece known as chocolate chip, but we also invented the peanut butter cookie and, perhaps surprisingly, the fortune cookie. From plates left out for Santa to the Keebler elves and beyond, join us for a sweet hour as we get out our rolling pins for the history of cookies.

Invention Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. Featured Ruth Wake field for her invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Nestle Toll House Cookies
Everything you ever needed to know about Nestle Toll House Cookies. Ruth eventually approached Nestlé and together, we reached an agreement that allowed us to print what would become the Toll House Cookie recipe on the wrapper of our Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar.

Official Nestle Web Site
Is it Nestle Toll House Cookies or Wakefield cookies at this Nestle company site.
History of Chocolate
The story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins with the discovery of America. Until 1492,
the Old World knew nothing at all about the delicious and stimulating flavor that was to become the
favorite of millions.
Chocolate at the Thinking Fountain
This is the place to learn about chocolate and see what other kids think about chocolate at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Toll House Cookie Recipe
This is one of those few recipes that seem to be just about right, and real hard to improve on.


  • You'll eat about 35,000 cookies in a lifetime!
  • Part of the agreement between Nestle and Wakefield included supplying Ruth with all of the chocolate she could use to make her delicious cookies for the rest of her life.
Nestle and Tool House are trademarks of Société des Produits NESTLÉ S.A.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised May 2, 2005.

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