Paying It Forward with Tollhouse Cookies

Today is International Pay it Forward Day (PIFD). Last year, over 250,000 participants paid it forward in 30 countries. This year PIFD is aiming to inspire over 3 million acts of kindness around the world. For our contribution, we made 3 dozen Toll House chocolate chip cookies and took them to our neighborhood fire fighters at Atlanta's oldest fire station - Fire Station #19. They have been serving the Virginia-Highland community since June 1st, 1925. We also gave a donation to the Station's Renovation fund to help renovate and restore this local landmark.

Every little boy dreams of being a fire fighter! When they were little, our boys loved visiting Station #19. Each evening we would take an evening stroll which invariably took us by the station house. The firefighters would patiently help them climb in the front and answer questions. Once a month on Sundays, the station also offers free ice cream in conjunction with “Storytime.”  

A trademark name for a cookie made with flour, butter, and brown sugar and semisweet chocolate chips, "Toll House" chocolate chip cookies were accidentally created by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1930. She owned a very popular restaurant,  the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts. She was known to give diners a whole extra helping to take home with her homemade cookies for dessert.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour     
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (12 oz. package) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (if you want)

Preheat oven to 375o F. Combine flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, then beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and blend well. Fold in chips and nuts.

I refrigerate the dough until thoroughly chilled before putting them on the cookie sheet which allows the leavening ingredients to work before the butter flattens out the cookies.

Drop the chilled dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

*Cinnamon is my secret ingredient which was not included in Ms. Wakefield's original recipe!

20 More Ideas for "Paying It Forward:"
1.    Donate unused cookbooks to a library.
2.    Help the New York Public Library transcribe their historical restaurant menus collection. 
3.    Cheer on your teammate.
4.    Collect canned goods for your local Food Bank.
5     Leave your magazine behind on the bus for someone else to enjoy.
6.    Tip your waitress generously.
7.    Put a quarter in a parking meter that’s about to expire.
8.    Mow your neighbor’s lawn while you are mowing yours.
9.    Be a designated driver.
10.  Take a box of donuts or bagels to the Teacher’s Lounge of your local school.
11.  Next time you leave a Carnival, give all your unused tickets to someone coming in the gate.
12.  Thank a police officer for his service to the community.
13.  Let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store.
14.  Hold the door open for someone.
15.  Take extras vegetables from your garden to a senior citizen living alone
16.  Give up your seat on a crowded train or bus.
17.  Offer the mail carriers and delivery drivers something cold to drink on a warm day.
18.  Give blood.
19.  Return your shopping cart.
20.  Head over to Doc Chey's Noodle House for lunch to celebrate "Pay It Forward" Day!