The exact year of the first chocolate chip cookie is up for debate. Different sources date its genesis to 1930, 1933 and 1937. Regardless, it's earned its rightful place as America's favorite cookie, and like many awesome innovations, it arrived somewhat by accident. According to dessert lore, Ruth Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, was baking a batch of "Butter Drop Do" cookies and decided to blend in a chopped chocolate bar, expecting it to melt and flavor the whole batch of dough.
Instead, the bits stayed solid. Mrs. Wakefield liked the haphazard marriage of texture and flavor, and the method quickly earned space in the pages of a Boston newspaper and heavy rotation in recipe repertoires across New England. Nestle, whose semi-sweet chocolate bars were featured in the Toll House Cookie (and who later negotiated with Mrs. Wakefield for the rights to the Toll House name), saw a spike in sales in areas where the recipe had been published, prompting the company to create the product we came to know as the chocolate chip.
Now, the beloved chocolate chip cookie is available nearly everywhere in America. The dough can be enhanced with cocoa, coffee, melted chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal or canned pumpkin; the chips can be dark or white and coupled with nuts, butterscotch or candy-coated varieties; they can be baked chewy or crisp. Often, the dough is eaten raw before it even makes it to the oven. Faced with these distractions, it's easy to forget that you can enjoy a chocolate chip cookie in pure form, home-baked and fresh off the sheet, falling apart as it's dipped in a glass of milk.