Mar 12

@nestlefoodie’s Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Better than the original! Shhh…don’t tell!)

in Chocolate, Dessert, Recipes by Type

Nestle Toll House I’m going to let you in on a little secret—the best Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe is not the one that they put on every package of chocolate chips.  The Toll House recipe gets its name from the Toll House Restaurant—a real toll house in Whitman, Massachusetts built in 1709 where a toll was charged for the use of the highway between Boston and New Bedford, and stage coach passengers would stop for a meal while the stage coach horses were changed.  In 1937, Ruth Graves Wakefield, the woman who ran the Toll House Restaurant, was making a batch of “Butter Drop Do” cookies (a favorite recipe that dated back to colonial times), and realized that she was out of baker’s chocolate.  So Ruth grabbed a bar of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped it into small pieces, and stirred the pieces into the dough, thinking that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the cookies.  To her surprise, the pieces held their shape. (Don’t you wish there was a blog post about that find!)  The cookies were a fantastic mistake, because they quickly became popular at the restaurant, and her recipe was eventually published in newspapers in the New England area, and eventually on the wrapper of the Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar.  The popularity of the recipe eventually led to the development of chocolate chips—making it easier for consumers to make the beloved Toll House cookies.

Fast forward to the present.  Last week a tweet on Twitter from @nestlefoodie (Chris Garboski, the Head of Nestle HQ test kitchen) caught my eye:

nestlefoodie tweet

I decided that it would be fun to make a batch of cookies using the original recipe and a batch using Chris’s method and then compare them side-by-side.  For fun, I also decided to throw in a third batch using some ingredients inspired by a conversation this past weekend with Carrie of Deliciously Organic about using healthier ingredients.

Here are the results—three different cookies all based on the original Toll House recipe.  For all of the cookies, I used a small cookie dough scoop so that I could also have an accurate idea of how the differences in ingredients affected the outcome of the cookies.  Cookie #1 on the left was made using the original Toll House recipe.  Cookie #2 in the middle was made using Chris’s changes: no nuts, and 1/2 the butter called for in the recipe (1/2 cup instead of 1 cup).  Cookie #3 on the right was made using no nuts, 1/2 the butter, substituting whole wheat pastry flour for 1/2 of the all-purpose flour, and substituting sucanat (dehydrated sugar cane juice) for the granulated sugar and the brown sugar.

3 versions of the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Cookie #1 spread the most out of the three (due to more butter).  Cookie #2 spread the least, and was chewier in consistency.  Cookie #3 spread slightly more than Cookie #2, was slightly less chewy than Cookie #2 (but still chewier than Cookie #1), was darker in color, and had a stronger molasses flavor to it.  All three cookies were delicious, but when all three were tasted consecutively by different people, there was a clear winner: #2.  While #3 was good, we all decided that the stronger molasses flavor wasn’t what we were looking for in a cookie.  Cookie #3 has potential, it just needs a bit more tweaking!  Everyone like the chewier consistency of #2 and the lack of nuts—we’re all about giving the spotlight to the chocolate.  Even Squirrel liked #2 better—she said it was “the pretty cookie.”

So now the secret is out—the best Nestle Toll House cookie recipe is not the one on the package—it’s @nestlefoodie’s Toll House cookie recipe.  Sorry Ms. Wakefield, but you’ve been one upped!  This delicious chewier chocolate chip cookie is better than the original, even though it’s lower in calories and fat.  Despite the decrease in butter, there is no decrease in flavor!  Note that I have decreased the cooking time to 8 to 10 minutes (the original recipe calls for 9 to 11 minutes), because I found these cooked quicker.  Make sure when you take the cookies out of the oven that you only leave them on the baking sheets to cool for 2 minutes.  If you leave them on the sheets for longer, they will become more difficult to remove!

@nestlefoodie's Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

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@nestlefoodie’s Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from Chris Garboski, adapted from the Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes 60 cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate large mixer bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until the dough is creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the dough well after each addition.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and then remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best March 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

R – This is a fabulous post, I like the side by side comparison. Who knew that less butter would improve a cookie?!


Paula - bell'alimento March 12, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Ah, just love that Squirrel, 2 is the pretty cookie ; ) Can’t wait to try these NEXT week *sigh* What a delicious experiment!


redkathy March 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Great post! Love those chewy cookies. Bet I would pick #2 also. Thanks for sharing this info with us, very interesting indeed!


QSOgirl March 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I’ve been making my Toll House cookies this way for a while, too. Definitely like these tweaks!
One question, though, how do you get such nice puffy cookies? Mine *always* spread out (my friends tease me about it — goodnaturedly, of course, otherwise they wouldn’t get any more cookies, haha). I have tried both margarine and butter, and I always cream it with the sugar before mixing in the rest of the ingredients. I also chill my dough–usually overnight– before baking.
Thanks! I really enjoyed the side-by-side comparison!!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 14, 2010 at 7:38 am

There are some cookie doughs that chill first, but with this particular one I make sure that both the eggs and the butter are at room temperature before I use them and then I bake the dough at room temperature as well!


Amy Klun August 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

I have found that using butter flavored crisco in place of butter makes a more cake-like, puffier cookie, still chewy, but less flat. Works every time.


Jeanne October 3, 2015 at 10:03 pm

do not use melted butter . it will spread out if the butter is too soft … it should just barely be room temp.


Kate @ Savour Fare March 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I have to say, I’d like to try the lower butter thing but I am a fanatical devotee of nuts in my chocolate chip cookies. OTOH, I remember some of the best cc cookies I ever made were at the age of 8, before I learned to read recipes properly, which doubled both the butter and the chocolate chips.


Lyndsey March 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I think #3 looks the best. I usually cut down in the sugar with sweet recipes, but never thought of cutting the butter. Good to know. This is a great post! Thanks!


jenjenk March 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm

i’ve got a glass of milk to go PERFECTLY with those cookies! :)


MaryMoh March 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Love these chewy cookies. Looks perfect & delicious. Thanks for sharing.


Debi (Table Talk) March 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I think you need to take this new found knowledge and make a 4th cookie:
Compost Cookies with the lower fat dough. I am still thinking about those, and holding off making them so I don’t eat all of them myself.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 14, 2010 at 7:39 am

You crack me up Debi! But ooooh the possibilities!! :D


Trisha March 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I like to use only 1 egg and a little more flour and they turn out very soft.


the lacquer spoon March 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Amazing! I personally like #3 the best, but it’s a matter of appearance. Love them all in taste :))


Winnie March 12, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for doing the hard work to figure out which is the best so I don’t have to!
Love the final photo…yum yum yum!


Gali March 13, 2010 at 6:29 am

I love these kinds of experiments! Those look like some yummy cookies.


Michelle March 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I’ve tried so many Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes and finally starting subbing 1/2 c. Coconut Flour and boy are these cookies good! No more spreading problem and the cookies are fat and chewy. My husband’s favorite and I make him 2 dozen every Christmas!


Fuji Papa March 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I enjoyed the sample at the house. I didn’t pay attention to which was which, but enjoyed them all. I do love nuts in cookies.


Donna - Dishy Goodness March 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm

What a great comparison, Rachael! Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite! I am going to have to give #2 recipe a try….your photo of them makes me want to reach through my screen and grab them up!


nakedbeet March 14, 2010 at 12:10 am

Great lineup! I think I’d probably err towards #3 and continue tweaking myself.


Erin March 14, 2010 at 9:27 am

After reading your post, I had to try my own version of your bake-off. I stuck with just Cookie #1 vs #2 and #2 came up the clear winner. If I hadn’t told the testers about the butter, they would never have noticed the difference. We will now be sticking with the Original recipe minus half the butter at our house! :-)


Carrie @ Deliciously Organic March 14, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I never would have thought to try that recipe with half the butter. Very interesting! I love that you did a bake-off, I don’t have many friends that would do something like that! Your my kinda girl. :)


bunkycooks March 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

#2 is a pretty cookie! I am so happy to know that less butter makes for a better Toll House cookie. I need to cut the butter somewhere! ;) Great post and comparison!


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Yum… Those cookies look great… I love the new recipe! I’ll definitely give them a try. I think I have some Nestle Toll House chocolate chips in my pantry just waiting to be used. :)


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme March 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

Who would have guessed that the Toll House cookies could be improved by halving the amount of butter?!? Must give these a try as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing!


Nestle Kitchens March 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm

We love that you did this test! Making dessert healthier doesn’t always have to be hard, thanks to Chris. :)

Our culinary expert Chris – @nestlefoodie – has tons of tips on Twitter and on our blog:

We’d love to hear what you think of some of our recipes.


marla {family fresh cooking} March 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I would love to dive into that stack of cookies! Fantastic that you put the three recipes to the test. I wonder which one I would have chosen? I usually love the whole grain flavor….but who knows. I could gobble them all :) Awesome photos!!
Are you gonna make version 2 for the Bake Sale next month?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 16, 2010 at 7:42 am

Thanks Marla! Nope, I’ve got some other goodies up my sleeve for the Bake Sale!


jeannie August 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

I just made a batch # 2!, Turned out perfect! Just what I was looking for in a chocolate chip cookie! I never bake CCC because it seems way too greasy, flat, spreads everywhere, too crispy on edges… But, this recipe turned out fluffy, & soft with just the right crisp on edges! I was just telling a group of friends that I can bake just about anything but not CCC! They flop every time!

I am extremely impressed with these little gems.
I used rounded Tablespoonfuls and ended up with only 32 cookies. I’ll try another batch with teaspoonfuls next time. I do like the higher temp/less bake time as well. Thanks!


Liz - Meal Makeover Mom March 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I’m all for using a little less butter. So glad they came out as great as they did. I typically bake with all-purpose as well as whole wheat flour .. and I’m big on canola oil (vs butter) and finely chopped nuts. My kids love my cookies but I think they would welcome a change w/ the traditional Toll House.


[email protected] March 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Nestlé toll house cookies are my absolute favourite since I can remember. Next time I make them, I will definitely try these out!


lalinelalaine March 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

yummy !!!
thank you for the comparison
i’d love to try the receipe but we do not use cups in France and stick butter
everything is in gram
i have to find a something that measure cup but for the moment i didn’t find it
thank you again for sharing the receipe


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 22, 2010 at 7:44 am

You can make the conversion! I like using Gourmet Sleuth’s calculator:


Terra March 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I’m definitely going to have to try that. I usually use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, and then do 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour. I also add about 1/2 cup of flax seed and some coconut to mine… they are chewy and delicious! :) Everyone asks me for the recipe, they have no idea I just like to tweak the Tollhouse one. :) Thanks for posting this though, I’m going to try it.


Marly March 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I agree – this was a great post. I can’t wait to go make some more chocolate chip cookies using this recipe. Hmmm, if I use 1/2 the fat…does that mean I get to eat twice as many?


Pam May 8, 2010 at 8:17 am

Really good recipe! My family love the puffy cookies and they are not near as greasy…. For those not in the US, I used 2 1/2 cups plain flour. Next time I make them, I’ll weigh everything and post that.


Veronica May 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I tried this recipe today and I have to say that these cookies are delicious. My mom loved them and loved how they were not greasy. I will definetely continue to use this recipe. Thanks for the post :)


Keith July 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Tried recipe #2 and they turned out fantastic!

As far as the spreading problem that some were having. This is fixed by not greasing the cookie sheet. The first time I tried it that way I thought they would stick, but no they didn’t stick :)


Amery Ray August 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Tried cookie recipe #2 at 6100 ft (Colorado) with high altitude modifications: extra 1/4 cup flour, 2 tsp water and only 2/3 cup of each type of sugar. Turned out FABULOUS. The way we got our cookies puffy was to make “towers” on the cookie sheet and we also put parchment paper on the cookie sheet. That was an Alton Brown tip. The “towers” are pretty much heaped tablespoons of dough but placed on the paper lined sheet in a 1inch diameter by 2.5 inch tall “tower”. This allowed for better melting and much puffier cookie. This is now my new choc chip cookie recipe when the kids ask for cookies, thanks to you!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) August 4, 2010 at 7:45 am

Thank goodness for Alton Brown! ;-)


Lisa August 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

My grandmother always added Special K cereal to her Toll House cookies when she was out of nuts. It adds a nice soft crunchy texture to the cookie. Still my favorite to this day, and I’m almost 50 (OMG that was hard to type!).


Fuji Mama (Rachael) August 5, 2010 at 7:46 am

What a fun idea Lisa! I’m going to HAVE to try that!


Elizabeth August 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I just took a batch of these cookies out of the oven, major chocolate chip cookie craving, and they are AMAZING! This is going to be my new go to cookie recipe!


Ann Jebaratnam September 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hi there, thank you so much for this. I’ve been looking high and low for a really good choc chip cookie recipe and have found some. I’ve tried David Leite’s recipe as well as David Leibovitz’s one. They’re both really really great BUT I have a big problem of spreading. They all turn out flat for some reason. Perhaps the less butter in this one will help give me a higher, rounded cookie which is what I’d like. I’m going to try half the recipe and see how it turns out first. Will let you know what happens. :-)


Clara January 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

Mmmm these came out great! Though I did have to add some walnuts back in as I ran out of chocolate chips, haha :)


Julie October 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Was searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe with less butter and came across your site. Made this recipe today. I had self-rising flour, so I omitted the soda & salt, otherwise followed it as is. Great recipe! Delish! The whole family loved them. Thanks!


Linda from NJ December 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Thank you !! Thank you !! Thank you !! I made a batch with dark chocolate chips using 1/2 the butter of the original recipe (as noted) and they are WONDERFUL! Thick and full and they didn’t spread out and in my opinion taste better (not greasey). I’m so happy you posted this and hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing the information with others. If you have any concern please do not hesitate to contact me and I will remove my post or change what you feel is needed. Thank you again!! I’m in love with chocolate chip cookies again.


The Covert Housewife January 1, 2012 at 12:08 am

this is an awesome recipe! I made several batches for Christmas & new years but did a bit of changes. Used half wheat flour, used mini hershey kisses AND plain m&ms :-) also baked for just 6-8 mins and it was a huge hit! Thanks for sharing! :-)


Sharon from Iowa March 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I still like the original recipe, but I do add a few T. of milk to my cookie dough, and it really improves the texture.


Michelle Pierre May 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

This recipe was easy to make. Made some substitutions. I used evaporated cane sugar and the cookies were very good. They were moist and chewy, just the way I like them. I prefer this recipe than the recipe on the package of chocolate chip morsels. I will be making these cookies again.


Theresa August 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I made these today and think they are wonderful!! My husband commented how they are so much lighter but still have the same classic flavor. I added nuts because that’s how I like my choc chip cookies – fabulous texture. I liked them even more when they were fully cooled down. Thank you for sharing!!


Hapee January 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

A very well done blog post, especially with the “side-by-side” comparison. I have to say though, as a nut fan, that I am so frustrated lately by everyone making their cookies and brownies without nuts anymore. To me, that really reduces the appeal of the sweet substantially. I would also point out that a small dose of nuts, such as walnuts, every day are surprisingly beneficial to one’s health. A study conducted a few years back showed that eating no more than a total of three walnuts (six halves) daily had remarkably effective benefits for the cardiovascular system. Nuts are an ancient food for humans, and we’ve been convinced by numerous modern references that they aren’t good for us because they are high in fat, etc. I hope that people won’t entirely give up on including nuts in their baked goods, especially the old classics like Toll House cookies, which really are best with the nuts. That’s my vote, anyway. :)


Fuji Mama (Rachael) January 6, 2013 at 7:49 am

Nuts vs. no nuts is all a matter of mood on the day of baking at our house! And with this batch, I wanted to really taste the difference in the cookie, so opted for fewer ingredients. These are amazing with nuts too of course!


Shellygirl March 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I find that useing shortening instead of butter works best, it doesn’t melt as fast and yeilds a chewy consistancy. I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies this way for years and everyone always asks what my recipe is, I say it’s the Toll House recipe use shortening instead of butter. I’ve used the butter flavored shortening, but I swear by the plain.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 10, 2013 at 7:52 am

I’ve found that the butter flavored shortening yields some weird results when making cookies! So I’m with you on using the plain.


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