Chocolate Chip Cookies Inventor Sold The Recipe For $1 And A Lifetime’s Supply Of Chocolate

If you’ve discovered a popular recipe, and a large corporation offers to buy it from you, do you give it to them?

Only if they throw in a lifetime of free chocolate.

Ruth Graves Wakefield was the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie. In the 1930s, she and her husband ran a inn on a highway in the US. She cooked and served all the food and soon gained local fame for her lobster dinners and desserts. One of the most popular desserts was the chocolate chip cookie, which she’d invented in 1938.  

inventor of chocolate chip cookie ruth wakefield

“We had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream. Everybody seemed to love it, but I was trying to give them something different. So I came up with Toll House cookie,” she later said. The cookie, which she called the Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie, was a smash hit. During WWII, US soldiers around the area who were stationed overseas shared the cookies they received in care packages from back home with soldiers from other parts of the US. Soon, hundreds of soldiers were writing home asking their families to send them some Toll House cookies, and Wakefield was soon inundated with letters from around the world requesting her recipe. 

Nestle soon heard of the craze, and thought they could take the cookie to a wider audience. Andrew Nestlé and Ruth Wakefield made a business arrangement: Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. 

Nestlé began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies and printing the recipe for the Toll House Cookie on its package. And the package continues to this day – this is what Nestle’s cookies look like, over 80 years later.


A global brand and an iconic recipe – all because of $1 and a lifetime’s supply of chocolate.


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