The Historic Candy Origin Of Chocolate Chips

Many childhood memories have been shaped around baking chocolate chip cookies with family members. Pouring a bag of chocolate chips into the cookie dough is one of the easiest ways to get a young child involved in baking. From the uniquely satisfying sound of the chips spilling out of the bag and into the bowl to the delicious flavor that the chips add to the cookies, these little delights add a sweet flavor many baked dessert recipes. 

According to Nestlé, the chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Wakefield who operated the Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. In the 1930s, she decided to add pieces of chocolate from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into her Butter Drop Do cookie recipe. A Boston newspaper later picked up the "Toll House Crunch Cookie" recipe and its popularity grew, according to Nestlé. The recipe became known by its current moniker, chocolate chip cookies, around 1940 (via Back Then History). 

While our earliest experiences with chocolate chips are usually in cookies, there are so many more recipes to explore, from The Ultimate Italian Rainbow Cookie Recipe to the Chocolate Orange Tart Recipe. While chocolate chips may be most often associated with baking, the origin of the little pieces of pre-packaged chocolate was for a slightly different purpose.

Chocolate chips as a candy

Nestlé may be one of the best-known maker of chocolate chips (which it refers to as chocolate morsels) but the history of the confectionary treat goes back much further than when the Swiss company started manufacturing them. According to New England Recipes, candy referred to as chocolate chips emerged in the 1890s. In 1892, Kaufmannns in Pennsylvania described its new candy department in a newspaper advertisement and listed "Chocolate Chips" as an item the sold (per New England Recipes).

It wasn't until 1939 that Nestlé took its semi-sweet chocolate bars and turned them into 160 pieces that were perfectly-sized for Nestlé Toll House cookies. A little while later, Nestlé began selling the product that we are most familiar with today. These are referred to by the company as, "'ready-to-use teardrop shaped morsel." Other companies have since created their own chocolate chips, from small manufacturers like Wilbur's of Maine to international brands like The Hershey Company. 

It's much easier to categorize chocolate chips as a kind of candy when you take into consideration all of the different flavor variations now available for the treat. One of Nestlé Toll House's newest products is its DelightFulls Filled Baking Morsels that come in four flavors, including milk chocolate morsels with caramel or peanut butter filling. 

Whether a candy or addition to a baked dish, who hasn't snuck a few handfuls of chocolate chips into their mouths while they cooked with them?