August 4 marks National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! While it’s true that we already had National Chocolate Chip Day in May, today we’re celebrating the treat most of us use chocolate chips for.
Americans eat chocolate chip cookies every day. You can find chunks of them in ice cream, lining the cookie aisle of your local grocery store or even in your cereal bowl! Yes, thanks to General Mills’ popular Cookie Crisp, you really can have cookies for breakfast.
Here’s a look at the history of the holiday and some chocolate chip cookie deals you can find.
1. The History of the Holiday Is a Mystery
Like its May sibling, the history of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is a mystery. National Day Calendar notes that it couldn’t trace the creator of the holiday. Google Trends does show that there have been searches for it since 2004, although it isn’t nearly as popular as its May counterpart.
It’s not quite clear why the holiday would be in August, since we enjoy chocolate chip cookies all year round. Plus, it’s over two months after the birth of Ruth Graves Wakefield, the Massachusetts woman credited with creating the first chocolate chip cookie. She was born on June 17, 1903. It would make more sense to celebrate the day on her birthday!
2. Ruth Graves Wakefield Is Credited With Inventing the Chocolate Chip Cookie in 1937
The person credited with inventing the chocolate chip cookie we love today is Ruth Graves Wakefield, who lived from 1903 to 1977. According to Cooks Info, Wakefield and her husband Kenneth Donald Wakefield bought a Cape Cod-style toll house near Whitman, Massachusetts. Since it was a mid-point between Boston and New Bedford, it was a popular place for people to stop and have a meal.
The inn was first built in 1709 as a place for people to rest while they changed horses and paid their tolls. When the Wakefields bought it, they turned it into an inn again and added a restaurant. Wakefield did all the cooking and, in 1930, she published the cookbook Ruth Wakefield’s Recipes Tried and True.
The story goes that she created the chocolate chip cookie by “accident.” Supposedly, she was making her Butter Drop Dough cookies, which were supposed to have melted baking chocolate in the recipe. She couldn’t find any, so she used chunks of a Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar expecting them to melt in the batter. That didn’t happen. This seems a bit preposterous though, since Wakefield was a trained baker so she probably would have expected this. Anyway, the “Toll House Crunch Cookie,” which first included nuts, was born.
Nestle saw that sales of its Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar were climbing as the recipe became more popular. Eventually, the company began printing the recipe on the package. Eventually, Nestle decided to produce Nestlé Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels so you didn’t have to chop up the bar yourself.
Sadly, the Toll House Inn was destroyed in a 1984 fire and never rebuilt.
3. Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar Makes $3 Million a Year Selling Chocolate Chip Cookies at the Minnesota State Fair
If you need evidence of just how popular chocolate chip cookies are, look no further than Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar in Minnesota. Founded by St. Paul native Martha Rossini Olson over 30 years ago, the company is famous for the cookie pail they sell at the Minnesota State Fair for $16. As the MinnPost notes, the company’s pail design hasn’t changed in 28 years and each pail has four dozen fresh baked cookies.
Delish reports that their booth makes $3 million over the 12-day fair each year. Although Olson does make other cookie varieties, they only sell chocolate chip at the fair for a big reason.
“All the time, people will say, ‘you know, I really like oatmeal,’ and I say, ‘you know, I do too—we actually have those in grocery stores [as frozen dough], but we can hardly handle just chocolate chip,'” Olson told Delish. “That’s the truth. We cannot give people more than one choice, because our lines get so long, so this just works out better for us.”
Martha’s Sweet Cookies is so well known that the company was featured on Andrew Zimmerman’s Travel Channel show when he visited the Minnesota State Fair.
4. Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy! Was the First Pre-Made Chocolate Chip Cookies Available Nationally
According to statistics from Statista.com, Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies have reached $619.4 million in sales in 2017 so far. The only cookie outpacing it is Nabisco’s Oreo brand, which reached $674.2 million.
As AdWeek notes, Chips Ahoy! was launched in 1963, becoming the first brand of pre-made chocolate chip cookies available nationwide.
In the years since, Nabisco has introduced a variety of Chips Ahoy! flavors, including White Fudge Chewy, Peanut Butter Chunky, Chunky Chips Ahoy!, Pecan, Almonst and even Candy Blast Chips Ahoy!.
5. There Are Several Ways to Get Free Cookies on National Chocolate Chip Day
There are plenty of opportunities for free cookies today, no matter where you live. For example, the DoubleTree Hotel chain is offering free cookies to anyone who walks into their lobbies, even without a reservation. If you live near a Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip store, you can also get a free cookie.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is offering a coupon for their Pizooki, a hot cookie with vanilla bean ice cream, if you sign up for their rewards program today.
Houlihan’s is another chain offering free cookies.