Has it ever occurred to you how powerful is the magic of accidents? Sometimes I think that my life is ruled fully by the forces of coincidence and accident. Do you get that feeling, as well? I mean, wouldn’t it be boring when everything would go as planned? My grandma has always been saying that everything happens for a reason — even in the kitchen!Can human carelessness and distraction lead to something else than deadly explosions and catastrophes? Yes! But only if you mix it with sugar, cacao nibs, butter, and flour — forgetting baking powder may indeed appear to be a really delicious blessing.It’s often impossible to reach the very roots of culinary origins. Although we did our best to do thorough choco research and bring you some sweet news! Let’s take a look at the history behind the most popular sweet chocolate accidents.
Just imagine the world of cooks and bakers that follow recipes carefully with checklists.
Melted chocolate? Check!
1 cup of sifted flour? Check!
Pinch of salt? Check!
And so on… boooring!
Oh, what a sad world that would be. A world without brownies! If not for the baker’s forgetfulness back in the 1890s, we might never have gotten to know the divine joy of the ultra chocolate, melting moist wonder cake.
The widest known brownie legend says that a housewife from Bangor, Maine was to prepare an ordinary chocolate cake. The ingredient she forgot to add (thank god!) was baking soda. The cake didn’t grow in the oven, so the rest of the ingredients created a half-baked, perfectly chewy and melting chocolate mass.
The first actual and documented brownie recipe appeared in 1899 in a community cookbook of the town of Machias in Maine. 5 years later there was published a Chicago cookbook with… Bangor Brownie recipe!
Unfortunately, we don’t know anything more about this potential mother of brownies. Brownie history recognizes only two names connected to this famous American chocolate snack from back then. That is Bertha Palmer and Fanny Farmer.
Bertha Palmer was a co-owner of Palmer House Hotel, where she told the chef to create an easy to grab cake-like lunch snack. The result was to be a square-shaped piece of chocolate bar with walnuts and apricot glaze.
Fanny Farmer, on the other hand, was a sweets manufacturer that transformed her classic cookies recipe — instead of forming biscuits she put the dough into a rectangular form and then cut the fudge-like cake into squares. That was the very beginning of a snack that nowadays we know as blondies. In the same way, she modified her chocolate cookies recipe, and so we can find Fanny Farmer’s Brownie recipe in her cookbook published in 1906.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Who can remember the Friends episode The One With Phoebe’s Cookies? Yes, the one where Monica is trying to figure out Phoebe’s grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies recipe, and suddenly the name of Nestlé® Toll House® appears…
It’s no coincidence — Nestlé® was the very first factory that released chocolate chip cookies on the market. Although that was not the company itself that came up with the idea and original recipe.
Ruth Graves Wakefield is the inventor of one of the most recognizable American tastes ever. Nestlé® Toll House® is a brand created for Wakefield’s cookies specifically. Toll House was a tourist lodge and restaurant run by Ruth and her husband Kenneth. They bought the inn around 1930 and less than 10 years later she accidentally created the legendary American cookies in the inn’s kitchen.
Culinary stories always remain a little enigmatic to some point. Even though we know precisely who the great chocolate chip cookies creator is, we can’t be sure of the exact circumstances of the happy chocolate accident. We know two versions:
Cookie Story A
Ruth Wakefield was about to make regular chocolate cookies but she was out of baking chocolate. She used chopped classic bittersweet chocolate instead and put the whole chocolate chunks to the dough without melting first — she assumed the chocolate would melt and blend into the dough during baking. As we already know — the assumption, happily, was wrong.
Cookie Story B
Ruth Wakefield was making usual ice-cream cookies. She has already started preparing the dough when she realized that she was out of nuts which the recipe required. Instead of nuts, she grabbed bittersweet chocolate and cut it into chunks.
Whichever story is real, we know who Santa Claus can thank for his favorite snack — chocolate chip cookies accompanied by a glass of milk. Thank you, Ruth, for keeping Santa’s tummy happy for over 80 years already!
The best things in life are happening by accident. Don’t worry if you suddenly stray from the path. You wouldn’t know what sweet surprises were waiting for you around the unknown corner if you just gave up. Don’t let the lack of baking soda and flour be a problem — mix up with the things you already have and see what’s gonna happen!