Here is the original Toll House Cookie recipe that was syndicated to newspapers nationwide during ’39, along with an ad that ran at the time. Note that this is before the chocolate had been made into chips, so home bakers had to cut chocolate bars into pieces to make them work in this recipe.
By 1943 — right in the middle of World War II — chocolate was in short supply… but the company still urged people stateside to use what little of that deliciousness that they had to make Toll House chocolate chip cookies to send off to the boys out on the front. See that request below, too!
Original vintage news story: Deliciously different chocolate cookies (1939)
The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) October 17, 1939
The problem of what to give the kiddies coming home from school, or to serve the bridge club the next time it’s your turn to entertain, can be solved by a batch of these delicious cookies.
Crisp, tender, golden brown cookies, and when you bite into one — surprise! There’s a rich bit of semisweet chocolate and a taste of walnut in that bite, and the next and the next. A perfect flavor combination!
The original Toll House Cookie recipe (from 1939)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or other shortening
1-1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 economy-size bar semisweet chocolate (7 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Important: Cut each small square of semisweet chocolate into four pieces.
Cream butter or other shortening and add sugars and beaten egg. Dissolve soda in the hot water and mix alternately with the flour sifted with the salt. Lastly, add the chopped nuts and the pieces of semisweet chocolate. Flavor with the vanilla and drop by half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven. Makes 50 cookies.
World War II: Send your soldier some chocolate chip cookies (1943)
Toll House cookie history has Colonial roots (1961)
This year  marks the 20th anniversary of the Toll House cookie. Filled with semisweet chocolate morsels and nuts, these delectable cookies have won first place in the affections of home bakers.
While the Toll House cookie as we know it is only sweet and 20, its lineage goes back to Colonial days. Then it emerged from old-fashioned beehive ovens and answered to the name of butter Drop-Do (or Dough).
Making Drop-Do cookies was no simple matter for the Colonial goodwife. To bake, she first had to milk the cow, skim the cream, and churn the butter. She snipped sugar from a hard 10-pound loaf and sifted flour through a silk cloth. Eggs were beaten with a little switch of twigs.
Because of the labor involved, women baked infrequently and shared their sweets with neighbors. The pleasant custom of sharing baked goodies continued.
By 1766, when regular stagecoach service had been established from Philadelphia to New York, the roadside inns offered cookies among other refreshments. And as the years passed, cookies still welcomed travelers to roadside inns.
Twenty years ago, the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, added to the old butter Drop-Do recipe pieces of semi-sweet chocolate chopped from a candy bar.
Amazingly, the chocolate didn’t melt in the baking, but remained as delicious little nuggets. New Englanders knew a good thing when they tasted it — and the Toll House cookie rush was on.
The cookies, however, presented a minor problem. It took sturdy arms to break, up the chocolate into the required morsels — that is, until semi-sweet chocolate morsels were created and packaged for the housewife’s convenience.
The Toll House cookie and its cousins go from mixing bowl to oven to serving platter in minutes. Unlike your ancestor who made the butter Drop-Do, you won’t have to begin by milking the cow!