Tag Archives: Toll House

The Recipe on the Chip Bag Is All Wrong


Marguerite Gaquin, daughter of late Toll House baker Sue Brides, and I succumb to the charms of Boston TV host Maria Stephanos, up to and including Gaquin showing us her mother’s original recipe! As chapter one of my book explains, Brides was chief baker for cookie inventor and Toll House restaurant owner Ruth Wakefield and was at her side when Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie. See more photos and what Gaquin says is the real, original recipe at WCVB’s website.

Chocolate Chip Day 2014

chipsresizedbSadly, I spent Chocolate Chip Day 2014 at my dad’s wake but Kate Erbland picked up the slack with this Mental Floss meditation on the chocolate chip (duly crediting some of my historic findings). There are also book mentions in two recent Dede Wilson pieces (one in the Boston Globe and this other one on her Bakepedia website) exploring  her obsession with making Toll House cookies the way Ruth Wakefield intended.

Whitman Library Tolled for Me This Weekend

Welcoming library sign

Welcoming library sign

Tons of fun in Toll House-land this weekend. Learned a number of new things about the Toll House during my panel discussion with former Toll House employees I interviewed, and others who turned out for the event. Like what else besides the beloved pecan rolls came standard in the Toll House bread basket (cornbread, gingerbread, even rum bread). Former Toll House waitress/panelist Carol Cavanagh amused the SRO crowd with a story about the customer who tried to test her ability to memorize their orders (a requirement for waitresses at the Toll House) by playing musical chairs when she went into the kitchen to place them. But Carol was too good for them and after she matched up every dish with the right person, one of the mischief-makers sighed and said, “Young lady, you just cost me $5.”

Saturday's panel (L to R): Me and ex-Toll House waitresses Marguerite Gaquin, June O'Leary and Carol Cavanagh

Saturday’s panel (L to R): Me and ex-Toll House waitresses Marguerite Gaquin, June O’Leary and Carol Cavanagh

Entries in the event’s chocolate chip cookie contest were almost all flat and soft and nutless (despite published judging criteria that called for fidelity to the classic Toll House taste, which includes walnuts).

1st place winner gets his prizes: my book, cookies and Nestle morsels to practice his craft

1st place winner gets his prizes: my book, cookies and Nestle morsels to practice his craft

Could excessive sensitivity to people with nut allergies be driving the chocolate chip cookie with nuts from our land? (Say it’s not so!) No surprise — me being one of the judges and all — that the top-scoring cookie contained walnuts and all the other ingredients and amounts Toll House cookie inventor Ruth Wakefield called for. But big surprise that their baker was 14-year-old Matthew Kelcourse, who beat out all the adults with his complex-tasting, pleasantly textured beauties, this contest having no separate youth category. His recipe is here.

Book Launch Event in Whitman Oct. 19

I will launch the book in the town where this cookie began. The Saturday, Oct. 19 event will be held at the Whitman Public Library, 100 Webster St., Whitman, Mass. from 2:00pm to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. It will and feature a Toll House cookie contest and a panel discussion featuring former Toll House employees, including Marguerite Gaquin (pictured below), daughter of the late Toll House baker Sue Brides. This will be followed by a book signing. Cookie entries need to be at the library by 1:15 p.m.; the panel discussion begins at 2 p.m., followed by the cookie awards ceremony, book signing and refreshments (featuring guess what!). The event is free and open to the public.