Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Very Fortunate 'Mistake'

Have you ever wondered why people call chocolate chip cookies 'Tollhouse Cookies'?

I have, many times. I wonder why all kinds of things are called what they are...why do you ask? My mind can be a confusing place sometimes...but I like it there! :)

So as I was pondering what to do with the kids on this icy morning (since school has been canceled), I went immediately to the most obvious choice...bake cookies! Who doesn't love cookies? And it's a win-win, because the kids can be involved and they really enjoy it! However, as I was considering what kind of cookies to make, and (of course) chocolate chip came to mind, I started wondering again (for the 874th time) why people call them Tollhouse Cookies.

What did we ever do without Google, people? It is by far one of the most important tools in this house. And no, I am not kidding. So I took some time to do a little research, and guess what? I'm going to share with you the reason chocolate chip cookies are so often referred to as Tollhouse Cookies!

Apparently, a woman named Ruth Wakefield (and her husband, of course) operated a New England lodge called the Tollhouse Inn, so named because the house was originally a "toll house" where travelers stopped to pay a toll for using the highway. While their horses were being taken care of, they enjoyed a home cooked meal in the toll house. Anyway, one evening she was preparing to make her favorite treat, Butter Drop Do cookies, and though the recipe called for baker's chocolate, she had none. Can you imagine? I would be in a state of distress! HaHa! So what did Ruth do? She had a bar of semi-sweet chocolate, a gift from Andrew Nestle of the one and only Nestle Chocolate she chopped it up into small pieces and used it in place of the baker's chocolate. Although she expected the chocolate to melt into the cookie like baker's chocolate would, it didn't. Oh, of course the morsels softened up a bit, but they didn't disperse and become part of the cookie.

She served the cookies to her guests, and before long, the word was out about these amazing cookies! The recipe was published in a local paper, and soon was featured on the Betty Crocker radio series, "Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places". Eventually, Mrs. Wakefield cut a deal with Nestle and offered to let them print the recipe on their packages of semisweet chocolate in exchange for a lifetime supply of their chocolate! What a deal, eh? Yes, Mrs. Wakefield, I think we'd have gotten along just fiiiiiine.

And as you all know, the Nestle Tollhouse Cookie recipe has become the most popular cookie of all time. Talk about a VERY fortunate mistake!

So there you have it! Now you (and I) both know why chocolate chip cookies are referred to as Tollhouse cookies! Or maybe it's the other way around, since they were called Tollhouse cookies first. Oh well, no matter! They are still the most scrumptious cookie in my book!!!


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