Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And That's Why You Always Bake Before Finals

Hey guys, you know what's better than taking classes? NOT taking classes! It's currently finals week in the most baking-free semester known to mankind. But now the semester is ending and that means there's time to bake again! Even though I wasn't taking any classes (and thus have no finals to take to stress out about), I did spend this semester teaching a course for the first time ever. That's right, I'm mad with power. Therefore, the only thing about finals week for me to worry about is giving my students an exam.

Now, let me give you some background on why I'm baking before giving a final exam. UConn has switched its course evaluation system to an online system. Two friends and I postulated that this would mean a lower response rate than the in-class paper evaluations (which is the opposite of what UConn seemed to hope to achieve besides the whole saving trees thing). We subsequently made a bet that whoever got the lowest response rate pre-bribery would have to buy lunch. Pre-bribery, I didn't lose. Then we decided to add bribery to the mix. I told my students that I'd bring cookies to the final if I won the bet. Well, I didn't actually win, but I didn't lose either. So I'm bringing cookies anyway. Because I'm nice. And frankly, I'm happy to be done with teaching and this is as good an excuse as any to bake!

I have no time nor energy to actually challenge myself tonight so I went with the old standby: Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies. No nuts, no fuss, just good ol' chocolate chip. Because who doesn't need a nice chocolate chip cookie after a really challenging exam an exam that fairly tests all of the material covered. I decided to make a double batch because I have 40 students and people who have been craving my baking for a while now. So according to the chocolate chip package, that would be 10 dozen cookies! Sounds about right.

There's something so calming about baking. I can't quite describe it. But even when I'm gabbing on the phone with my sister and adding the ingredients, it just starts to put me at ease. Anyway, it's been so long since I made these, I initially couldn't remember how many sticks of butter went in. Other than that though, things went smoothly aside from one really stubborn egg that didn't seem to want to crack. The shell cracked but the membrane wouldn't break! So weird. Also, I was reminded of the time when I was shopping with my mom Santa for my KitchenAid mixer and was discussing what size to get. And I remember saying, "I'll never need that bigger one, that's ludicrous! When would I ever be making that many cookies?" Yup, now is when I could've used that bigger one. The dough was practically spilling out of the mixing bowl. Whoops.

This is a short blog post because there's really nothing to say about chocolate chip cookies. But it is good to be back in the kitchen. Here's a small sampling of the huge number of cookies I'm baking:

They're delicious and they came out perfectly (seriously, I didn't burn a single cookie. They are ALL perfectly baked!) and I can't wait to share them with my students and friends. It's good to be back. And if any of my students are reading this right now, GO STUDY!