This Is the Inventor of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

Like many great things, this classic cookie was invented by a woman

Ruth Wakefield invented what we now call the chocolate chip cookie for her Toll House Inn in the 1930s.

You know the cookie, but you may not know the name or the history behind it. Ruth Wakefield, co-owner of Massachusetts’ Toll House Inn, invented chocolate chip cookies in the 1930s. She named the soon-to-be-iconic treat after the restaurant that she co-owned with her husband.

According to The New York Times, she came up with the recipe as a variation to the popular Butter Crop Do pecan icebox cookie. “We had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream,” Wakefield recalled in a 1970s interview with the paper. “Everybody seemed to love it, but I was trying to give them something different.”

NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE® is a trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland

The Massachusetts-born and -bred former home economics teacher included the recipe for her chocolate chip cookie, which she called the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie,” in the 1938 edition of her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes. It was reprinted by The Boston Herald-Traveler and was even featured on Betty Crocker’s radio program Famous Foods From Famous Eating Places.

The Times reports that Wakefield sold the rights to reproduce her recipe to Nestlé in 1939 (for a rumored price of $1) and was hired as a recipe consultant by the brand. The brand later introduced Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, aka chocolate chips, and included Wakefield’s original chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of all packages, where it remains today. The brand sells about 90 billion individual morsels annually.

NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE® is a trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland

The Wakefields’ Toll House Inn was sold in 1967 and destroyed by a fire in 1984. It has since been memorialized with a historical marker at its former location in the town of Whitman. Think you’ll never have a better cookie than Wakefield’s original recipe? Check out The Daily Meal’s definitive ranking of store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough.