Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day and Tollhouse Cookies

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap." --Barbara Jordan

Father's Day around here means dessert. Which favorite of the guys will we make this year? Blueberry cheesecake? Millionaire salad (marshmallows, coconut, mandarin oranges and pineapple, etc)? Mom's (as in mother-in-law) chocolate cake with fudge icing? The latter, unfortunately, is a sad story since I failed to get the recipe when I had a chance and have never been able to get the icing the right consistency. But we've sure eaten a lot of chocolate cake trying!

This year, though, the dessert of the day will be the tried-and-true Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie, except...

Yes, I have to admit, I've adjusted, adapted, and...ahem...changed the recipe. Acceptable? Well, the cookies go fast so they must be agreeable :-) My little change is to substitute 1/2 cup canola oil for half the butter amount (the recipe calls for a cup of butter), and instead of equal amounts of granulated and brown sugar, I simply use granulated. Seems to keep the spreading to a minimum--and makes for a tasty-looking cookie ( if I don't leave them in the oven too long!).

Did you know that the original Tollhouse cookie came about by accident?

Back in the 1930s a couple by the name of Ruth and Kenneth Wakefield purchased a Cape Cod-style house in Whitman, Massachusetts that, built in 1709, had been a toll house for the toll road, and also used as an inn--a place to stop for food and rest from the long road and hard travel of the day. Ruth and Kenneth turned their house into a lodge, the Toll House Inn.

The story goes that Ruth, a dietician, was baking cookies for the Inn's menu, and the recipe called for baker's chocolate. Finding herself without, she chopped a bar of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate into little chips, and added them to the dough, thinking they would melt and spread through the cookie.  They didn't. One report (Her Story Network) says that she thought the cookies were ruined. Maybe she even debated whether or not to serve them.

The rest is history. Not only did she serve them, but the cookies were a great success. Ruth's Toll House cookies became famous when the recipe was published in newspapers. Other bakers copied her recipe, and the sale of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate increased. Nestle took notice of the increase in popularity of their product.

In 1939, The Toll House Inn cookie recipe was featured on the  Betty Crocker "Famous Foods from Famous Eating Places" radio series. Ruth, the smart business woman that she was (according to Facts About Chocolate) approached Nestle and struck a deal. Nestle got to print the recipe that we now know as "The Original Nestle Toll House Cookie" on all their semi-sweet chocolate bars and Ruth got free chocolate for life. Later, to make things easier on the consumer, Nestle started marketing chocolate "morsels," what we now know as the chocolate chip. The cookie, according to Facts, has gone on to become the most popular cookie worldwide, and the official cookie of its home state, Massachusetts.

And to think I'd dare mess with such a famous recipe...

Do you change recipes around, too? Is that sort of like changing story arcs and plot sequences sometimes? Do they come out better, too?

Happy Father's Day!


  1. I do change recipes around, sometimes they turn out good and sometimes not so good :)

  2. I think cooking for someone is a very loving gesture. I change some recipes to suit my family's tastes. Chana masala is one that had some alterations. My crepes are the overhauled version of a blend of two recipes.

  3. That's great! I always substitute oil for water in my cake recipies and brownies and no one is the wiser!