Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Toll House CUPCAKES


Yes, you read that right.  Cupcakes, not cookies.  And they will change your life.  Well, if not exactly change it, then at least temporarily elevate your mood.  Every one of my tasters -- and these folks do a lot of tasting -- said, and I quote: "Amazing!" "Fabulous!" "These are sooo good!"  "The best thing you've ever made."

Plus, and this is a big plus, I've never, ever seen any recipe like this.  And unique is hard to come by in the baking world, but here is something new (and delicious) under the sun, discovered in an old box of recipes in my collection.  Finding a recipe like this -- a treasured gem from the past -- is exactly why I started my quest two years ago.

These have a lot going on: A cookie crust, a mousse-like chocolate center and a meringue-like top.  And they are so easy that anyone can prepare them. What's not to love?


First, you bake the "cups."  The batter is easy enough to whip up.


Spoon the batter into the muffin tins.  It need not be perfect, or even smoothed down. Don't worry if the batter doesn't fill up the cups.  The magic will happen in the oven.


When you pull the tins from the oven, the cookie cups might look a bit strange.  Just let them cool a bit, and they will assume the proper shape.


Next, prepare the filling.


Spoon filling into the cups and place the pans in the oven.


Voila!  You've just made yourself (and whoever you choose to share these with) very, very happy.


This photo doesn't do these justice, but I wanted to reveal the insides of this treat.
I found the mimeographed recipe on a torn sheet of paper in one of my vintage recipe boxes.  I suspect it might be from the 1960s.

66 comments:

  1. I want these right now. For breakfast. And probably lunch and dinner as well.

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  2. Oh my, yes. I will be making these.

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  3. Thanks, Ladies. Believe the hype!

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  4. When I saw the title of this post, I amost stopped reading the post. I thought, I don't want to make toll house cupcakes! I decided to read on, saw the photos and now I want to make these cupcakes...tonight! Love checking in on your blog. It would be great to see a post from you on a Lady Baltimore cake. I love the way they look, with all of the frosting and glaze, but I have never gotten around to making one.

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    1. Anonymous: That's exactly the way I felt when I first saw the recipe title, but quickly changed my mind when I saw that this recipe really did reinvent the wheel. And I've been meaning to tackle Lady Baltimore and with your prodding, I'm making it a priority! Thanks for writing.

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  5. I made these with a friend this evening since I had all of the ingredients lying around. They were a cinch to throw together and were a hit with my entire house! My oven tends to be a little feisty, so the meringue took fewer than 15 minutes to bake (I think that was the only issue.)

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    1. kkal: Thrilled that you made these and that they were so well received! And cooking times vary so much, what with oven temperatures varying, etc. Glad you got them out in time. I don't even set a timer any more -- just wait until the aroma from the oven catches my attention.

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  6. There can never be too many variations on the classic and wonderful chocolate chip cookie. These cupcakes do look incredible!

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  7. I want to make these right now!

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    1. Go ahead, luke! You won't be sorry!

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  8. These look delicious, as soon as the butter is soft, I'm making them. Early Valentine for the family!

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    1. Mary Ellen -- Waiting for the butter to soften is like waiting for paint to dry! Putting the butter on an aluminum surface hastens the process though. And your family is lucky -- these are fabulous! Do let me know how they turn out.

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    2. I'm back to say...OMG!!!!! Soooooo good. Thanks for the great recipes you post, love your site. Happy Valentine's Day to all.

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    3. That's wonderful news, Mary Ellen. Thanks so much for letting us know. (And it's so good to know that the amazing toll house cupcakes can be replicated -- kind of like a scientific theory.)

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  9. I have been making the same exact recipe since the late 70's or early 80's. I think the recipe was published in the Washington Post. Super good. Super easy. They never last long.

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    1. Jane -- I've been trying to find the genesis of this recipe, and perhaps you've solved the mystery! I agree with you -- super good and super easy. So why the heck did they never catch on or disappear from most kitchens (except for yours)? Thanks so much for writing!

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    2. Jay here, we bought cage free eggs at the Shaker Square Farmer's market (Cleveland) and Debbie and I are starting to make these now for a St. Patrick's Day party tonight. And no, we're not adding any green food coloring.

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    3. So glad to hear, Jay. A friend of a friend made them and reported that they didn't work, but I just made them again and they worked beautifully. How did yours turn out?

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    4. Susan, the cupcakes were a hit! Can't wait to make them again. We had to help the "cup" along by using a spoon to make the divot. Plus we had extra filling and baked it in a cup solo! yummy

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    5. So glad to hear it, Debbie!

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  10. I was digging thru some old recipe boxes I have, and sure enough, I found the little brochure this recipe came from in there. I'm going to have to make it, but with pecans instead of walnuts :) It also had recipes for Marshmallow Cream Fudge and Skillet Sundae Sauce.

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    1. Dear jzgplj: You must share your Marshmallow Cream Fudge and Skillet Sundae Sauce when you get a minute. What a hit that would be with ice cream this summer!

      Anonymous in Austin, TX

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    2. I just saw this. I will get those out here...sorry it's still not summer anymore :(

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  11. It was a collaboration between Nestle and Diamond Walnuts, all the recipes had walnuts in them. :)

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    1. jzplj: You've solved the mystery of the recipe's origin! I'm so grateful. Now I have to figure out why it never caught on or, if it did, why it fell out of favor. Thank you so much! And it does make sense that it emerged from the test kitchen of food manufacturers.

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  12. Susan, I've been making these wonderful delights since late 60's. My copy of the recipe came right off the back of the Toll House chip bag. They became a Christmas gift tradition for my Dad, God rest his soul. I would make a batch and gift wrap, probably half the batch, just for him. He loved them. They are so great, you can eat them warm from the oven or heat them up for a few seconds in the micro and they are just like coming out of the oven. I had never seen this recipe anywhere in all these years, so imagine my surprise when I saw them on your blog. Made my day to know that other folks were enjoying them to. Happy Baking!

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    1. Thanks, paperdoly. What I can't figure out is, if these are so good (and they are!), why they disappeared from our kitchens. Your father was a lucky man indeed to get half of the batch. Glad to know that someone out there continues to bake these. My son, who refused to friend me on Facebook, finally did -- in exchange for a batch of toll house cupcakes!

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  13. Susan, I just discovered your blog a month ago and LOVE it!! Thanks for trying and sharing all these vintage recipes! I'm so embarrassed to admit that I just tried making the Toll House Cupcakes that everyone says are so easy and mine didnt turn out! Something went wrong with the topping; it didnt turn out as a meringue at all. Did I not beat it enough?? I feel so bad as this recipe was supposed to be fool proof. Also the cupcake paper was difficult to get off of the cakes. Any advice? Thanks again, I'll keep trying!

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  14. Okay, so I made these and they taste great but the bottoms didn't sink. They just rose like a regular muffin so I had to just put the topping on top of that. Is the secret waiting until they cool, so then they sink?

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  15. Also the top didn't look like a meringue. The recipe doesn't call for discarding the yolk. Are you supposed to?

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  16. Anonymous & Beth -- Gosh, I'm so sorry these didn't work out for you. Someone else said they had difficulty with these a few weeks ago, so I tried them again and I was relieved that they worked for me. (I had only made them once before.) But I feel your pain and frustration. I'll try to trouble shoot.
    1) Removing the paper from the cupcake: I use the double layer ones available in supermarkets, the ones with a paper liner inside and an aluminum foil layer on the outside.
    2) Meringue topping: Perhaps I overstated that, for it's not a true meringue. One of my tasters compared the topping to a meringue and I liked the sound of it. It should be meringue-like though, in that it's light in texture.
    3) Shells not sinking: Mine just "sunk" after a few minutes out of the oven, but you can coax them down gently with the back of a spoon.
    Best of luck to you both. It's hard to attempt a failed recipe a second time I know, but these are really terrific and they *should* work.

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    1. I have now made these cupcakes 4 times and they keep getting better and better! I think I've worked out the kinks and they are truly delicious...and easy!

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  17. I made a batch of these for a school event and saved out a couple for my family, who loved them (even though I ignored the advice about letting the shells sink ... whoops). The younger set was very disappointed that we were giving all the rest away, so I think I have to make them again this weekend! Thank you for sharing this delicious and unusual recipe.

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    1. So glad they were a hit Lee! Thanks for writing.

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  18. Are nuts a must-have in these? I made the mistake of leaving nuts out of a tunnel of fudge cake once, and that was an epic disaster. Just wondering if this comes out right without them.

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    1. Debra -- Not entirely sure, as I've never tried it. I know about the Tunnel of Fudge cake (and all the warnings that the nuts are essential) and I suspect that the nuts serve a similar function in these cupcakes, but who knows? If you do go ahead and make them sans nuts, please report back!

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    2. Oh, I forgot to mention above that I left the nuts out and used extra chips, and that worked perfectly fine.

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    3. Wonderful news, Lee. Thanks so much for posting. This information is great to know. Hope Debra checks back.

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    4. I am going to make these for a friend of mine. I am not quite sure about the filling. When I make the cupcake itself, do I have to push it down into the liner. Does it just turn out the way it is supposed to? The filling is the clincher. You said to use walnuts, chocolate chips. I want to make them right. I thought they were a neat recipe and so easy. I appreciate any help you can give. Thank you.

      Mary Jane

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    5. Hi, Mary --
      After you bake the "liners" and remove the pan from the oven, they may be a bit puffed up but should go down naturally. If they don't seem to, try to encourage them by pressing ever so gently with the back of a tablespoon.Then just make the filling and put it in the liners and bake! Good luck.

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  19. Well, I discovered your blog about a week ago when reading my mom's Ladies Home Journal magazine, and I just love the premise behind the recipes you try. When I saw the Toll House Cupcakes recipe, I just had to try it, as it is soooo unusual. Made them exactly as described, and they turned out perfectly. They are so yummy, but I would let them cool before eating (the chocolate chips melt and are very hot!). Like most older recipes, they are high in fat content (shouldn't even mention that!) -- about 1/2 tablespoon of fat per "cupcake" -- and very sweet (I might use a dark, more bitter than semi-sweet chocolate the next time). TIP: I used the foil cupcake liners that also have a plain paper liner. These turned out better than the ones where I used just a paper liner, as the paper gets soggy from the butter in the crust. Also, when making the mousse, I whipped the egg and sugar "to the ribbon," as they say. That means the egg and sugar mixture makes a "ribbon" on top of the batter when the excess batter drips from your beaters. Ate four last night! They look beautiful outside of the paper liners, and I would definitely serve them that way at a private party.

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    1. Thanks so much for writing, Barbara! I'm glad that you had success and shared some tips. And I always use those foil/paper cupcake lines -- they are the best, and especially good in this recipe.
      If you do try the white chocolate and macadamia combo (sounds great), please report back.

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  20. Has anyone made these using white chocolate morsels and macadamia (spelling?) nuts instead of choc chips/walnuts?

    Barbara in Austin
    (Anonymous above)

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    1. Barbara: Sorry for the delayed response but I'll bet it would work with that combo.

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  21. Haven't tried the white chocolate/macadamia combo yet, but made this recipe again for a barbeque last weekend as MINI cupcakes. Guessed at baking times, but they also turned out great. Family members raved. Baking times for both mixtures were generally more than half the time for the normal-sized cupcakes. Delicious.

    Barbara in Austin
    (anonymous above)

    P.S. Made the Pecan Crispies cookie recipe yesterday, that I found in the Ladies Home Journal re: you and your blog. THEY ARE GREAT, simple, and I happened to have some pecans in the freezer leftover from Christmas. Everything I needed was in the pantry. This is a good cookie to make when making Christmas cookie baskets, as it makes loads of them (more than 40!). Took them over to my mom's house to put in the freezer, as the temptation to eat them all within a week by myself would be too much!

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    1. So glad to hear this, Barbara. And glad that the pecan crispies were such a hit.

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  22. Here's a question: How do these freeze? Does it change the texture of the filling too much? I would like to make a batch of these and freeze them for a gift for a sick friend...Anybody tried this?

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    1. Anna: I doubt they would freeze well, sorry. Maybe try a pound cake or a banana bread type of gift. Or regular old chocolate chip cookies.

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  23. OMG these are too die for ... they are a family favorite from the first bite !
    for something different and just as tastey try with a mix of chocolate & peanutter butter chhips yummy !

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  24. I know how to bake cupcakes too, but I like your baking style and I guess, I got some pointers here! ;) Thanks for sharing! :)

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  25. Hello!!I just found out your blog!!It's amazing!!I just tried to do these but the top didn't work out...as I put the filling in the shells, the shells absorbed in one second all the filling!!so they are pretty dry on the top with a very humid bottom!!what did I do wrong?I thought that maybe it's because of the sugar..you called for firmly packed, but here in Italy I can barely find the normal brown sugar, so I used that and maybe I put too much of that in it!!Any tips?? :)
    comgrats again for the blog!

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    1. Oh, Erika, I'm sorry they didn't work out, but do suspect it may be the difference in ingredients available in Italy. When I say "firmly packed," though, it refers to pressing the brown sugar firmly into the measuring cup with the back of a spoon, which increases the amount of sugar. Perhaps you need to bake the shells a bit longer and also whip up the filling longer? I wish I could be of more help ; ))

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  26. I just wanted to let you know that these are amazing cupcakes! I got the same recipe from my 88 year old grandmother who has been making them for years. I mean it is on the same paper with the same purple print and everything! =)

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    1. Wow! That's very cool, Sam. Any idea what year she started baking them?

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  27. Hello! I just found your blog and looking forward to checking out all the old recipes you have shared. I think my first recipe will be these! Am I missing where I can click on printing the recipe?

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    1. You aren't missing where, it's just that I haven't figured out how to include that feature. What I do is click on the recipe and then print it as a jpeg. I hope to figure out how to create easier access in the not-too-distant future.

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  28. Hi! I've been following your blog for quite some time! I love the recipes you post. I've made these ahhhmazing cupcakes multiple times without fail. Everyone loves them. However, this evening I tried making a batch (twice) and the bottom layer wouldn't set and the meringue overflowed. What could the problem be?

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    1. So sorry to hear this, Ashley. Very frustrating when baking doesn't work out -- I've been there many times. Was it especially humid when you baked them? Sometimes weather can torpedo a recipe. Other than that, the only thing I can suggest is to double check your ingredients, especially the sugar. I've read that beet sugar doesn't behave the same as cane sugar. So, the bottoms didn't set up and you went ahead with the filling anyway? That's what I'd do (while crossing my fingers), but want to make sure I understand.

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  29. These are wonderful!
    Have made several times. turned out great when made w/o nuts.
    turned out great with less sugar only brown.
    One batch wasn't as perfect when I was in a hurry and didn't let
    bottoms cool b4 put in topping so for future bakers don't forget to
    let cool a bit.
    Also when didn't have all ingredients just made bottoms and it was yummy.

    Love your work you do with this site and like when you even share
    with us recipes that didn't come out perfect.

    Would love for you to have a page for you to share your ingredients and
    bake-ware, etc... you use and love. Unless I have missed it.

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    1. Thanks so much for letting us know that these come out, even sans nuts!
      And one of these days, I'll put together my list of preferred ingredients, etc. Great idea!

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  30. OK - I seem to be the only one with the comment that my shells didn't turn into shells. Exactly how long is let them cool for a bit? In the end, I pressed in the middle to have a bit of room for the filling. I made 16 like the recipe called for, but it seemed as if there was more than a tablespoon in each one.

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    1. Sorry you had trouble with the shells, Lorna. It's been a while since I made them but I do recall sometimes nudging the shells into shells with the back of a spoon but they usually just cave in by themselves. I let them cool until I'm ready to fill them, however long that takes! You can add more filling, but when I do, it rises higher than the shells obscuring them. It's much more attractive when the shells are visible to frame the filling.

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  31. A blast from my past! Thank you! I went looking for the recipe so I could make a batch for my daughter, and voila! There it is! They are amazing indeed. I will be making some tonight with her.
    I think the fact that there is more than one step of baking involved deters many.And regular chocolate chip cookies are so good in and of themselves. But it is definitely worth the effort. Thanks again!

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  32. Just made these...fabulous! Not all of mine sank after the first baking period (I suspect they were just a little overdone), I layered the second part on top & finished them in the oven as per the recipe & they came out perfectly!
    Thanks so much!

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