History of the Chocolate Chip

Chocolate chips haven’t always been around, you know (though they’re such an American staple, many of us assume they have been). Ruth Wakefield cut/broke bars of chocolate into pieces to make her original cookies. Once the chocolate chip cookie became popular in the mid-1930’s, most home bakers continued to do just that. Fully aware that the chocolate chip cookie was behind increases in sales, the Nestlé company began producing “scored” bars which made it easier for housewives to break them up (they even put a small metal cutting tool in the packages to make the job easier). However some time in the late thirties a lightbulb went on in the head of a Nestlé product developer, and the company began manufacturing pre-formed bits, just the right size for incorporating into cookie dough. These roughly 1-centimeter extruded pieces, “chips”, hit the market in 1939, and have been with us ever since.

2 thoughts on “History of the Chocolate Chip”

  1. But isn’t the fat content of chocolate chips different now than in regular baking chocolate? When did that start?

    1. Hey Ellen!

      There’s scant evidence (at least that I could find) to determine how much cocoa butter was in those early bars. Wakefield used the “German’s Sweet Bar” I think , and that was discontinued decades ago. It might not have been all that different from today’s semi-sweet chips, but that’s just a guess. One day I hope to find out!

      – Joe

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