Nestle Launched an A.I. Cookie Coach to Answer All Your Baking Questions

Just don't plan on talking to "Ruth" about anything other than cookies.

Nestle Toll House Cookies
Photo: Nestlé Toll House

Chocolate chip cookies are so commonplace, you may assume they've been around for all of time. (Or at least since the advent of ovens.) But a bit of history: The iconic cookie is credited with being invented at the Toll House Inn by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. A year later, Nestle—whose chocolate Wakefield used—bought the recipe, put it on their packaging, and the official Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie was born.

With such a strong tie to the cookie's origins, Nestle certainly has a claim to be the chocolate chip cookie experts—and now, they're bringing that 80-plus years of knowledge to the internet in the most modern way possible: an artificial intelligence-powered "Cookie Coach."

Nestle Toll House Cookie Coach Ruth
Nestlé Toll House

On, cookie makers can now chat with "Ruth"—named after Wakefield—billed as "an interactive way to get answers to cookie questions" who's ready to talk 24-7. "From ingredient substitutions to recipe ratios, mastering the perfect texture and more, Ruth can answer the most commonly-asked questions about how to make cookies (and not screw them up)," Nestle explains. "Beyond the basics, she can also answer questions like, 'How can I make my cookies gluten-free?' or 'Why do cookies burn?'" Ruth can even offer up instructional photos and videos.

"With 70 percent of our inbound calls related to perfecting the iconic Nestle Toll House cookie recipe, we wanted to give consumers a consistent expert, powered by AI, who could provide a step-by-step overview of how to perfect their cookies, make customizations based on dietary and personal preferences, and respond to a cookie 911," Orchid Bertelsen, head of digital strategy and innovation at Nestle USA, explained.

As an AI bot with a single purpose, Ruth keeps things pretty streamlined. When I asked her why my (theoretical) cookies were too gooey, she responded with four short choices: But one was "Raw Cookies," so she set me down the right path. However, when I asked if I could use blueberries instead of chocolate chips, she simply sidestepped the question and provided a list of Nestle Morsels. And definitely don't hit up Ruth for casual conversation: She completely ignored my question about her favorite David Bowie album.

That said, Nestle also offered the reminder that Ruth is built from artificial intelligence, meaning the more questions you ask her, the smarter she should get. So maybe one day I'll be able to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie and she'll be able to appreciate Aladdin Sane.

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