The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book

The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book Book Cover The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book
Carolyn Wyman
Countryman Press
October 7, 2013

Forget apple pie and ice cream--chocolate chip cookies are America's favorite sweet and also one of its most interesting, as this one-and-only complete chocolate chip cookie history, guidebook, and cookbook proves. The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book's six highly engaging and entertaining chapters include:

-The long-overdue, never-before-told true story of the cookie's invention 75 years ago by Ruth Wakefield at her Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts, straight from Wakefield's former employees and her daughter (despite what you might have read on the Internet, it was no accident)

-A chronicling of the cookie's 1980s commercial heyday under Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos to the rise of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the early '90s to today's internet phenomena, cookie dough-stuffed cookies and cookie cake pie.

-Artistic and event tributes to the chocolate chip cokie, including its starring role in that famous episode of Friends

-A state-by-state survey of bakeries and restaurants known for their chocolate chip cookies creations, including a Boston cookie store started by now-Secretary of State John Kerry and the Chicago-area bakery whose chocolate chip cookies are so prized that there's a per-person daily limit

-Recipes for sour cream, pudding, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies; instructions for replicating Mrs. Field's, Tate's, Hillary Clinton's, and Momofuku Milk Bar's chocolate chip cookies; and fun chocolate chip dessert variations like chocolate chip cheese nut ball and Toll House truffles--more than 75 recipes in all--and tips for taking your favorite recipe to the next level.


Stumbling onto The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book at a used book sale was a happy little accident. My personal option of this book may be a little biased because I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. They are a simple yet legendary dessert (when prepared properly, as this book covers). And like most recipes, even small changes can drastically change the outcome of the food. On top of that, there is a surprising amount of history behind the chocolate chip cookie stretching back decades.

Being a pseudo-cookbook, The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book contains many different chocolate chip cookie recipes. Some of these are traditional recipes, like the Toll House cookie recipe that can be found on the back of any Toll House cookie package. Others are a bit more obscure, such as recipes that have won big chocolate chip cookie competitions across America over the last several decades. All-in-all the book features dozens of recipes for anyone with any level of interest in chocolate chip cookies to try.

While reading this book, I was surprised at the level of history behind the chocolate chip cookie. Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the cookie at the Toll House back in 1938. As the cookies became more popular, Nestlé began marketing them as the cookies used their chocolate. Originally, bits off chocolate were chipped off whole chocolate bars (“chocolate chips”) to make the cookies. Their popularity particularly soared during World War II when chocolate chip cookies were commonly sent overseas to US soldiers in care packages.

After soldiers returned home with a craving for chocolate chip cookies, more brands started to develop. Which makes sense, when you think about it. Picture the cookie section on the shelves at a grocery store. Ignore other types of cookies like Oreos and imagine all the different brands of chocolate chip cookies. Chips Ahoy, Keebler, Famous Amos, Mrs. Fields…the list goes on and on. Even within the same brand, original crunchy cookies and soft chewy cookies are usually both available. With so much history (and delicious recipes, so far I’ve tried 5), this book is a great read for any cookie connoisseur.

December 16, 2018

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