Is there anything more tantalizing than the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Not much. And that’s why people across the country are celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day today, Aug. 4.
Believe it or not, the world didn’t know the iconic sweet treat before 1938, when a very good baker named Ruth Graves Wakefield created it.
A few years earlier, Wakefield and her husband had purchased a roadside motel in Whitman, Mass., that became known as a stop for travelers who could pay a toll, change horses and enjoy a home-cooked meal before moving on. It was there, at the Toll House Inn, that Wakefield took a Nestlé’s semisweet chocolate bar, broke it into small pieces and used those pieces as a substitute for baker’s chocolate in a cookie recipe. Although some accounts say she did this by accident, others recall her doing this deliberately in an attempt to create a different kind of dessert for the inn’s guests.
Apparently, she thought the pieces would melt and absorb into the dough, creating a chocolate cookie. Of course, that didn’t happen, but everyone loved the tasty treats (eventually dubbed Toll House Crunch cookies), anyway. The recipe was published in a Boston newspaper, and the rest, as they say, is history. She gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name in exchange for a lifetime supply of the company's chocolate.
For those who’d like to raise a glass of milk to Wakefield but don’t have time to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies (the original recipe is below) to go with it, here are a few places that are passing out free ones today, in honor of the holiday.
DoubleTree Hotel: The hotel chain generally provides guests with a free chocolate chip cookie at bedtime, but today anyone can stop by and get one, with or without a reservation.
Houlihan’s: Anyone eating lunch or dinner at the restaurant chain today will get a free chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
Coolhaus: If you purchase an ice cream sandwich at one of the Los Angeles–area or New York locations, you’ll receive a free cookie.
So what if you’re one of the rare few who don’t like chocolate chip cookies? No worries. Sunday is National Root Beer Float Day, and those are pretty good, too.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.