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No, There’s probably little chance that you can make cookies as good as these

ImageThe best way you can actually get your hands on these is to take my General Biology, Microbiology or Ecology class. Much like a magician’s slight of hand, baking exceptionally delicious cookies is just not something that can be done without a long apprenticeship, years of dedication and highly selective ingredient choice.

Given all that, I feel no fear that sharing my recipe will reduce the relative supremacy of my own cookies. And since I’m home today with a sick boy, it’s just the right timing to make up a scrumptious batch.

The Recipe (Altered subtly, but importantly from the original Nestle TollHouse instructions)

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons home-made vanilla-in-vodka extract

2 large farm-fresh eggs from the

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Chocolate Chunks

1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chunks and nuts. Drop by massive flops onto  parchment paper atop insulated baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove immediately to wire racks to cool with a high quality spatula such as Williams-Sonoma’s Fish Spatula

FAQ

-Really? ‘Massive flops’? Don’t you worry about making your cookies too big?

Don’t be a sissy. These are real cookies. If you want that little crap, pick up a bag of Chips-Ahoy.

-But Don’t they run into each other when they cook?

What did I say about being a sissy. Next question.

-Why Baking Soda AND Baking Powder?

Because sometimes you need to do it right. I would love to cite Cook’s Illustrated here, but their article / video on this topic is behind the paywall. Suffice to say it’s just better that way. Also see here.

-Is it necessary to use the parchment paper? Nestle just says to grease the cookie sheet.

That’s totally what you should do. Grease the sheet. Then scrape off the cookies when they get stuck, burn the batch you just forgot in the oven while dealing with the burnt bits on this sheet and then have more to wash up when you finish. Or, you could use parchment paper.

-Is there some music that goes best with cooking cookies?

Yes. You should listen to Rush, Journey and Marillion – but be careful with Rush, because they try to sneak in a bunch of crap songs when you’re not paying attention.  – And you bake cookies.

– What about high-end gourmet chips?

Funny. They all come out worse than the Nestle ones. Stick to what works.

-Do you eat the dough, while you’re cooking – I mean baking?

Yes, of course I do.

-Do I need to get my own backyard chickens for farm-fresh eggs?

Yes.

-What’s this about vodka-vanilla extract?

There’s a right way and a wrong way. You go on using imitation vanilla, I’ll use my own extract in vodka. We’ll see whose cookies are better.

-Is it true that chocolate chip cookies are best with milk?

Only if you’re out of espresso.

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/wNYpAJCfTTg

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Semester’s End

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 3.24.50 PM

Our Jeopardy-themed final exam review

It’s the last week of the Fall 2012 Semester and I’ve been spending a lot of time working on getting the final exam written and edited, making sure all my students’ papers are graded and accounted for and putting together a good review session complete with a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and a pot of coffee.

Attendance was really down today because a lot of my students are sick (actually I am pretty ill as well) and our review day is actually not an official school day anyway, so I couldn’t even guilt students into attending. Nevertheless, I thought the cookies were good, the coffee was hot and our review session Jeopardy went very well.

There were only a few times today that I felt driven to drink as we went through a semester’s worth of material and tried to untangle any remaining confused lines of reasoning and replace them with what I hope are clear principles. This is the time of year that I think, “All I want is for them to understand a few key ideas,” but the reality is that key ideas are hard to examine – tests have to cover the details of some specific condition, and I just hope they exemplify the important points.

Mostly, what I want to say to any of my students who might read this, is ‘Thanks for taking my class. I hope you learned something this semester that makes you look at the world a little differently. I look forward to seeing some familiar faces in Microbiology next semester, but if I don’t have you in class again, I wish you all the best.’

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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