personal finance

On National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, a Lesson in Life from Mrs. Fields

A humbling moment that we can all relate to put the future cookie queen on her entrepreneurial path. If Mrs. Fields could turn a humiliating foible around to become a success, so can you.

Did you know that Aug. 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?

In honor of this day, we have provided you a short story about Mrs. Fields Cookies and also a copycat recipe that is easy to make.

Debbie Fields turned a cookie recipe into a $450 million empire. Growing up, her father made about $15,000 per year as a welder while her mother remained at home raising five children. In spite of that, Debbie said she was raised in an extremely wealthy family as her father taught her that true wealth is found in family, friends and doing what you love.

As a young girl with four siblings, her favorite food was homemade cookies. She would bake her own using imitation chocolate and margarine, because that’s all her family could afford. At age 13, she worked in a department store. She spent her first paycheck on real chocolate, vanilla and butter.

As a young housewife, years later, she and her first husband had dinner in a beautiful, yet intimidating home of one of her husband’s clients. He asked – what do you do? Mrs. Fields replied that she was “trying to get orientated.” He immediately got up, put an “enormous, leather-bound dictionary” on her lap saying, “The word is ‘oriented.’ If you can’t speak the English language, you should not speak at all.” 

After that, she vowed to “become somebody.” Following her father’s advice to do what you love, she decided to make and sell gourmet cookies.

Mrs. Fields did not just create a successful business, she created a market for expensive, high-end cookies that did not previously exist. Her family, friends and advisers all believed that she would fail. When she opened her first store, her first husband bet her that she would not have even $50 in sales the first day. In fact, while Mrs. Fields was pursuing her dream, her first husband was almost certainly calculating the write-off or tax savings from the loss.

Mrs. Fields sold $75 in cookies that first day. She took to the streets, letting people try the product. She proved that her cookies were so delicious that they sold themselves once people were provided a taste.

She structured her business to have immediate feedback so that she could quickly see how she was doing. She calculated her breakeven per month, then per day and finally per hour.

The rest is history. Mrs. Fields created a market that did not previously exist. All the experts and even her then-husband did not believe that she would succeed. Mrs. Fields believes and perhaps proved that: “The American dream is true. It works and is possible for everybody. Even the word ‘impossible’ says ‘I’m possible.’”

Thank you, Mrs. Fields, for helping us all get “orientated.” 
And now that you’re inspired by Mrs. Fields’ story, maybe you’ll be inspired to bake some cookies? Here’s a delicious recipe to try:

‘Copycat Recipe for Mrs. Fields Cookies’

(from food blog Mama Needs Cake


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 11.5 oz semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. Cream together the softened butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time until fluffy.
  4. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  6. Beat the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Allow the cookies to chill for 1 hour before baking. Keep the unused dough chilling between batches.
  9. Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter and roll into balls.
  10. Place on a baking sheet.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-13 minutes.
  12. The edges should be golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. The cookies will continue to baking while cooling.


SOURCE: Mama Needs Cake (at

Kristina Schneider contributed to this report. Schneider is a Practice Success Coach for The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc. ( Her primary responsibility involves consulting and assisting estate planning attorneys on a variety of practice-building and marketing strategies taught by nationally renowned estate planning attorney Philip Kavesh. She is a Los Angeles native and currently resides in the South Bay.

About the Author

John M. Goralka

Founder, The Goralka Law Firm

Founder of The Goralka Law Firm, John M. Goralka assists business owners, real estate owners and successful families to achieve their enlightened dreams by better protecting their assets, minimizing income and estate tax and resolving messes and transitions to preserve, protect and enhance their legacy. John is one of few California attorneys certified as a Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in both Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate.

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