When my daughter, Melissa Madeline, was 7 years old she was coloring and made a mistake. I was amazed when she turned the mistake into a parrot. She said to me the wisest words I will never forget: “Artists like me like mistakes. When I make a mistake I just use it to be something.”
This applies of course not only to art but to all of life and also to cooking. In fact, some of my best food and some of America’s favorite foods have been created by mistake. Perhaps you’ve heard this story before, but if not it is worth telling. In 1930, Ruth Wakefield and her husband, Kenneth, bought a Cape Cod style house on the outskirts of Whitman, Massachusetts. The house had originally been built in 1709 as a haven for road-weary travelers who would come to change horses, pay tolls and eat a home-cooked meal.
200 years later, when Ruth bought the house, she decided to continue on in that tradition and recreate an Inn. Ruth was famous for her baking and people came from all over New England just to eat her food. One day she was making one of her favorite recipes for chocolate cookies. Instead of grating a chocolate bar or using cocoa powder she took a chocolate bar and chopped it into bits thinking it would just melt into the cookie. The chocolate did not combine with the dough and instead remained pieces and Chocolate Chips cookies were invented that day by a simple mistake. Her Inn of course was called the Toll House Inn and the famous Toll House Cookie recipe was invented. At that time chocolate chips did not exist and Andrew Nestle was only making chocolate bars. Because of the demand for chocolate from Ruth’s recipe the company began scoring the bars to make them easier to chop. Eventually in 1939, ten years later, the semi-sweet chocolate chips were born. Andrew Nestle gave Ruth Wakefield and lifetime supply of chocolate in exchange for the publishing Ruth’s recipe on the back of their bag.
Recently a friend of mine shared with me another famous Chocolate Chips cookie recipe. The urban legend that went around was that it was the $250 cookie recipe from Neiman Marcus. The whole story is false and the recipe that was being passed around was actually for Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’m including both for you as well as my recipe for Chocolate Chips Crunch Cookies. And here is to the mistakes in life turning into a sweet inventions! Maili
An urban myth is a modern folk tale, its origins unknown, its believability enhanced simply by the frequency with which it is repeated. Our signature chocolate chip cookieis the subject of one such myth. If you haven’t heard the story, we won’t perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it. Copy it, print it out, pass it along to friends and family. It’s a terrific recipe. And it’s absolutely free.
|1.||Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)|
|2.||Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.|
|3.||In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.|
|4.||Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.|
|Yield:||2 dozen cookies|
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Then here is the recipe for Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chips Cookie Recipe.