Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies


It is amazing what a difference a single year can make, especially if you are in your formative years. When I entered sophomore year last year, I felt as clueless as I had as a freshman. I had no idea which clubs to join or what activities to involve myself in. I knew that I definitely without a doubt wanted to go to university after high school, but I had no inkling of what I was going to major in or where I wanted to go.

But over the past year, I learned to see myself in a more positive and confident light. I joined as many clubs as I could; I volunteered; I started thinking about university. I started figuring out what I enjoyed doing; I pursued my passions; I started a blog. Now as a junior, I’m finally starting to feel sure of myself and my ability to accomplish tasks.


This year, I decided to start a baking/cooking club at school. When I first entered high school as a freshman, I had my heart set on joining the baking club. I was pretty disappointed to discover that not only was there no such thing, but our school didn’t even have a kitchen or culinary arts program. But to my joy, it was announced at the end of my freshman year that there would be a culinary arts course the following year. I grappled at the opportunity to take the class, trading in grade ten business for the grade ten culinary arts course.


I really enjoyed taking the culinary arts course. After a long stressful day, culinary arts was a tension-reliever. However, the whole program was so brand-new and we didn’t even have a kitchen to use; we did our lessons in a drama room and then borrowed the oven in the cafeteria kitchen. The talk of building a kitchen floated around for several months and finally commenced towards the end of my sophomore year. The kitchen wasn’t completed in time for last year’s culinary arts students to use and unfortunately, I didn't have enough space in my schedule to take the grade eleven course this year.


The idea of starting a baking/cooking club at school had imbued in my mind during the summer. While everyone groaned about going back to school, I was excited at the thought of starting the baking/cooking club that I had so desperately wanted to join as a freshman. And because two heads are always better than one, I asked my friend Suzy to start the club with me. We spoke to our former culinary arts teacher and he agreed to be the staff advisor for the club.


After working out the logistics of our club, like how often we were going to meet and how we were going to accept members, Suzy and I got down to the nitty gritty issue of what kinds of foods we were going to make in our club. We decided to begin with simple recipes and to work our way up from there. The first recipe we are going to make in the club: Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate Chip Cookies are about as simple as baking gets. But just to be sure that the recipe wasn’t a dud, I knew I just had to make these at home at least once. These are the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had, hands down. They are crisp around the edges and slightly chewy around the middle and golden brown all around. My friends The focus group seemed to enjoy them as well and agreed that the cookies would be the perfect kick-off to our new baking/cooking club.  

Click below for the recipe.


Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Source: Joy of Baking
Yield: Around 2 dozen 3-inch cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar (I used cane sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (270 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional; I didn't use nuts as I am allergic to them)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated, adding the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) about half way through mixing. If you find the dough very soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (I found this step unnecessary).  


Using two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (35 grams) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 12-14 minutes , or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Note: You can freeze this dough. Form the dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze and then place the balls of dough in a plastic bag, seal, and freeze. When baking, simply place the frozen balls of dough on a baking sheet and bake as directed - may have to increase baking time a few minutes.





5 comments:

  1. Hey. It's seriously amazing to see such a passionate young cook like you who's so proactive as to start your own club! I tell you, you're doing so much good through that for yourself and more importantly, for students in your school many years to come. You're nothing short of brilliant at your age and I hope you keep shining! Your talent is waaay beyond your years. I hope you get to inspire people around you to start cooking and baking too =)

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  2. What a great idea to start a cooking club for your high school!!! I agree with Winston...you are an inspiration! Great cookies, too :)

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  3. ahhhh i'm so happy that you started a cooking club in your school! i run the cooking club for my students right now :). the cookies look fantastic! hope you are having a great week! ps - i can't wait to see what you make with those homemade pasta tools!

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  4. I wish I had your baking passion when I was in high school. You're indeed an inspirations for the others.
    Great idea for a cooking club, can't wait to read more about it!
    The cookies look phenomenal!

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  5. Amazing to see this foods. What a great idea to start a cooking club for your high school. I hope you get more and more success in your future.
    hediyelik eşya

    ReplyDelete

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