NCU News

I Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dr. Doyle Srader, associate professor of speech and communication

We were always excited when Connie paid us a visit. We were the Baylor debate team, and Connie was our coach’s wife. If she turned up, there was a possibility she had cookies. And oh, they would haunt your dreams: home-baked, melt-in-your-mouth good. When we asked for the recipe, she’d just smile.

One day I did Connie some favor, and she asked what she could do for me in return. I said, “At least give me a hint about how you make cookies.” She did. The hint is none of your business. So, that afternoon I went home and whipped up a perfect batch, right? Wrong. It took another ten years, no exaggeration, before I had my big breakthrough. Edison didn’t sweat half as much over his light bulbs as I did over my flour, chocolate chips, and … just never you mind.

If I were a mechanic, or a surgeon, I’d be trained to use a set of tools. But I’m not; I’m a college professor. I’m an educator, and anything my eye falls on has potential. It might sound odd, but knowing how to make tasty chocolate chip cookies has proved to be one of my most useful tools. Sometimes I split a class into teams and make the lesson a contest, like writing a speech or doing a pre-test review. The stakes? Whoever wins gets a batch of cookies. You should see them scramble for that. Sometimes I whip up a batch to welcome visitors, or brand new freshmen, to campus. And sometimes when I need a creative outlet, I try variations on the recipe. I’ve made peanut butter and jelly cookies by adding strawberry jell-o® powder to the dough and substituting peanut butter chips for chocolate. I’ve separated out blue and yellow miniature M&Ms, used food coloring to dye some of the cookies blue and others yellow, and made Beacon Cookies. And at this writing, I’m watching for the perfect opportunity to tackle my first batch of pumpkin pie cookies, and, following that, Oregon Duck cookies. Neither recipe is quite ready to debut; soon, though.

And one of my favorite things about NCU is that the scale of the campus community is small enough to make baking cookies a manageable undertaking. At some of the large state schools where I’ve taught in the past, a lower-division class might have four or five hundred students, and even if I tried to whip up the dough in a cement mixer and bake them in a volcano, I couldn’t make a big enough batch to do more than give everyone a glimpse. But here, I can show a little love for my fellow Beacons with something from my kitchen.

Now if you’ll excuse me, all this writing has made me hungry.