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‘Cookie Day’ is a Sweet Success!

‘Cookie Day’ is one of the instructional highlights at Promise Culinary School. Not only can students show off their new skills, but they also are able to enjoy the sweets of their labor when the day is over.

Every hands-on cooking class begins with a formal lesson about the foods they’ll be creating that day. Cookies? Simple, right? Flour, butter, sugar, spices – what could be easier? Not so fast, says Chef Elizabeth Sadi.

She instructs students on the eight cookie categories and how each is made:

  • Piped or bagged, using a soft dough, like spritz cookies
  • Cut out or rolled, using a stiffer dough that can be rolled out and cut into different shapes
  • Sheet cookies baked in a sheet pan such as lemon bars
  • Bar cookies made with a stiff dough shaped in a log and baked to make b
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  • Wafer/stencil or tuile cookies, made with a soft batter and shaped with a stencil
  • Ice box cookies made from dough shaped into a log, refrigerated and then cut, such as pinwheel cookies
  • Drop cookies made from a semi-soft dough and dropped onto cookie sheets, such as oatmeal and chocolate chip
  • Molded cookies, made from a stiff dough molded into balls, crescents or logs by hand such as Mexican wedding cookies

And there are different ways of combining ingredients and shaping the cookies. Students also are taught how to make crackers, which involve different types of ingredients such as more pungent spices.

Jennifer shows off her oatmeal cookies

“They are learning how to apply different techniques – how to use a stencil, and the different mixing methods like creaming and sanding,” she said.

The students had to complete their baking before class ended that day and display their cookies on platters for their instructor to taste. While all looked and tasted delicious to the untrained consumer, the cookies had to meet the approval of Chef Elizabeth’s discerning palette. While complimenting their hard work, she also pointed out the mistakes – too much spice here, too much liquid there – that others might not notice.

Jennifer, now in her third month of culinary training, especially liked cookie day. “Cooking is a fun experience,” she said. “I’m learning things I never did before, like baking cookies. And we made pasta – from scratch.”

While Jennifer admits she struggles with some of the classroom work and reading, the program has been a positive experience as she learns how to prepare foods she had never worked with before.

“I’m getting there and understanding more,” she said. And, she gets to bring the oatmeal cookies she made home to her little boys, she says with a smile.