Willamette’s Summer Market (History of Chocolate Chip Cookies)

History of the Chocolate Chip Cookie


Hi and welcome to another episode of Around The Neighborhood with me, Scott McMahon.  This is the show about the quest for fun, history, and mystery in our backyard.


And today, we’ll be heading back to another Wednesday at the Willamette Summer Market, but before we do, some of you know how much I love chocolate chip cookies.  In fact, just the other day it was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.  Yeah, it’s a real thing.


That got me wondering, what is the history of the chocolate chip cookie?  Well, let’s take a trip through the wayback machine 🙂


Believe it or not, the creation of the chocolate chip cookie is an American invention.  Back in 1924, a woman named, Ruth Graves Wakefield, attended the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts.  Man, that’s a mouthful.  Anyway, Ruth received her culinary degree from this school and in 1930, along with her husband purchased a building in Whitman, Massachusetts.


They turned this building into a restaurant called … The Tollhouse Inn.  It was at her restaurant that she served an assortment of amazon food to the visiting guests.  One of these delicious items was a thin butterscotch nut cookie that was served with the ice cream.


Legend has it that Ruth Graves Wakefield, ran out of either nuts or baker’s chocolate which melts and makes chocolate drop cookies, anyway in the desperate act of improvising, Ruth chopped up some Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bars into her cookie mix.  The chocolate chunks didn’t melt and thus the chocolate chip cookie was invented.


That was the legend to make it sound cooler than the reality, which was that Ruth was a very smart and inventive culinary artist who was experimenting with several new options to add to the cookie ice cream combo.  So, the reality is that hard work and trials and testing is how the chocolate chip cookie was invented … But who wants to write about hard work when you’re selling a legend?  When Ruth published her best selling cookbook, “Toll House Tried & True Recipes”, the chocolate chip cookie was originally called the chocolate crunch cookie.


The crunch comes from the crispy thin cookie dough that was supposed to be an option from the thin butterscotch nut cookie that was served with ice cream.


Ruth’s chocolate crunch cookies were a huge hit among the local Massachusetts residents, including, Senator John F. Kennedy.  The interest in this special cookie went national when Ruth’s recipe was featured on “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air”, a national syndicated radio show.  Betty Crocker is a fictitious character created by the General Mills company, by the way.  Unlike Ruth Graves Wakefield who was a real person.


The popularity of the chocolate crunch cookie exploded the sale of Nestle’s semi-sweet bars.  Nestle approached Ruth with the option to buy her recipe in order to put them on all their semi-sweet packaging, as well as, buy the brand name of Toll House … all for $1 and a lifetime of chocolate.  And that’s what Ruth did.  Sold it for $1 and a lifetime supply of chocolate.


Nestle started to sell the semi-sweet chocolate bars as pre-cut chunks to help bakers more easily separate the chocolate for the cookies.  Eventually, they were produced as small bits of chocolate referred to as morsels.  It wasn’t until later that they became known as “chips”.  And that’s how the chocolate chip cookie came to be.


During World War II, the popularity of the chocolate chip cookie increased as GI’s were requesting that their families send some in the care packages.  Other chocolate companies and baking companies got in on the act, with Betty Crocker offering premade cookie dough with chocolate chips already mixed in, and Nabisco releasing Chips Ahoy, which happens to be the 2nd most popular premade cookie behind the Oreo.


The chocolate chip cookie is the most popular and the most profitable of all cookies in the world.  The cookie industry is worth more than $38 billion dollars.  $38 Billion … and Ruth sold her creation for $1.


In honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and Ruth Graves Wakefield, it’s time to head to the market to get as many different variations of the chocolate chip cookie as possible.  Here we go 🙂



Historic Willamette: http://historicwillamette.com

West Linn Historical Society: http://westlinnhistory.org/

Willamette Ale & Cider House: http://www.aleandcider.com/

Al-Amir Hummus: http://www.alamirportland.com/

Brain Freeze Shave Ice Bar: bfshaveicebar@gmail.com

J&R Mexican Foods

Lucy's Tropical Juice Drinks: https://www.facebook.com/lucysjuiceandgyros/

Faballicious Sweets: https://www.faballicious.com/

Sugar Skye: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SugarSkye

Bandit Kettle Corn: http://banditkettlecorn.com/

Xiong Garden: xionggarden44@hotmail.com

Anchor Masks: https://www.facebook.com/anchormasks/

Sudsy Elements: http://sudsyelements.com/

Gompers Distillery: https://gompersdistillery.com/

Trail Brew: https://trailbrewpdx.com/

Dregs Vodka: https://www.dregsvodka.com/

Sommerlind Baking Company: https://www.facebook.com/SommerlindBakingCo/

Westward Whiskey: https://www.westwardwhiskey.com/

Raw Oregon Honey: https://www.raworegonhoney.com/

Ah-Nuts: https://www.ah-nuts.com/

The Sojourn Collection: https://sojourncollection.com/

J Donish Designs: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jdonishdesigns

The Jump Roper Store: https://www.facebook.com/thejumpropestore/



GoPro Hero 7: https://amzn.to/36Hw4zR

GoPro Vlogging Case: https://amzn.to/2FzfxBY

GoPro Mic Adapter: https://amzn.to/35HE8zg

Microphone: https://amzn.to/2QDAvpE

GoPro Shorty Tripod Extender: https://amzn.to/307SHem



Scott McMahon, Real Estate Broker

Licensed in the State of Oregon

Premiere Property Group, LLC



▼ AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER: Around The Neighborhood is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.