The Surprising History of 3 of America's Most Beloved Cookie Recipes

Plate of Chocolate Chip Cookies
With over 2 billion cookies consumed in America each year, the cookie can easily be considered one of America's most-loved treats. Perhaps one reason cookies are so well-loved is their versatility when it comes to cookie recipes and varieties. Many of our favorite cookie flavors have a long-standing and fascinating history. Check out the history behind 3 of America's favorite cookie flavors: Chocolate Chip Though they are one of the most beloved cookie flavors in the United States, chocolate chip cookies have only been in existence for 77 years. The first batch of chocolate chip cookies was created by Ruth Wakefield, innkeeper of the Tollhouse Inn Restaurant in 1930. Believe it or not, the chocolate chip cookie was conceived out of pure accident. When making cookies for her guests one evening, Ruth discovered that she was all out of baker's chocolate. Instead, she broke up Nestle's chocolate into pieces, and incorporated the chocolate pieces into her cookie dough. That day, a cookie legend was born. The chocolate chip cookie became so popular that Nestle chocolate prices began to spike. In turn, Ruth Wakefield and her husband struck a deal with Nestle: if they printed the cookie recipe on their packaging, Nestle would provide the bakers with a lifetime supply of free chocolate. Talk about a sweet deal! Red Velvet The recent red velvet revival in food culture and food manufacturing has led to a myriad of sweet treats in the decadent and striking dessert. One of the popular manifestations of red-velvet has been adapted into decadently delicious gourmet cookie recipes. Originally, however, red velvet cake reigned supreme, and its origins aren't anything less than legendary. Many claims to origin across America have been made, but one of the most popular stories dates the first famous red velvet cake back to the 1950s in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. As the rumor goes, the hotel chef created the red velvet recipe and it was a wildly popular recipe among hotel guests and diners. A hotel guest loved the recipe so much that she requested the recipe from the chef. While he delivered it as asked, it came with a price--a $350 price tag to be exact. Infuriated, the woman sought revenge by copying the recipe and mailing it to hundreds of other individuals. This is only one of the explanations for the red velvet's mysterious origins. Many argue that there were traces of "velvet cake" recipes in the 19th century, when Victorian bakers put ingredients such as almond flour and cornstarch into their batter to make a lighter, more velvety textured cake. Others argue that the recipe originated in the South. Peanut Butter This chewy, nutty, melt-in-your-mouth confection was actually invented out of necessity. The first peanut cookie recipe was found in George Washington Carver's recipe book in 1900. As an agriculturist, he sought ways to educate others on the alternatives of flour, a crop that was being devastated at the time. Instead of peanut butter, however, Carver simply chopped up peanuts and threw them into the batter. The first official peanut butter cookie recipe appeared in 1902, in Mrs. Rorer's New Cookbook. In 1936, Pillsbury released a cookbook that adapted this recipe, introducing the first ever patterned peanut butter cookie recipe.
Re-Imagining the Traditional Cookie