I woke up early with enough time to run through the main points of my upcoming exam. During the walk to school, I was cat-called by two young ladies stopped at a red light in their music blaring vehicle. Nice (sarcastic). When I arrived in the lab, I could sense that stress levels were higher than normal. Most definitely due to the looming exam. I calmly set my station before Chef handed out the exam. Before each of us made our way to our stations he said, “No talking for the rest of the day!”
So we worked in silence for four hours. Well, we could talk to chef, but we could not talk with other students. I breezed through the written exam thanks to the hours of preparation beforehand. After turning in the exam, I prepped my biscotti loaf, applied a thin coat of egg whites with my baking brush, and placed it in my oven. I was sure to set my timer to 30 minutes so I wouldn’t forget the loaves. As soon as that was out of the way I started on the practical portion of my exam—recreating chocolate chip cookies. Our unit exams consist of a written portion and a practical portion which is the actual baking portion. We are given a recipe and we have to prepare it using the appropriate method, bake it, and plate it within a certain time frame.
All was going well. I had previously planned out my four hours so I could bake off both the practical chocolate chip cookies and the biscotti. My station, which previously had no workable oven was now equipped with one so I was pretty excited to finally have what I could truly call my own space. Working in silence was actually quite comical due to the fact that we are share the same ingredients so everyone was forced to resort to body language to communicate “I need the brown sugar” or “Can I have that?” or “Watch out, I’m behind you!” I’m sure those watching through the observation windows thought we were a group comprised of ASL students.
I was making good time when all of a sudden I could smell it! Was something burning? I looked at my timer—15 minutes remaining. I checked my oven anyway. All four of my biscotti loaves were fully cooked and severely burned on the bottom! I quickly pulled them out, too focused on my practical recipe to fret. I finished the dough, prepped it for baking, and threw the trays in the freezer. As far as I knew I had done everything right with the biscotti. I marched up to Chef and asked him for an oven thermometer. I placed it in the oven and after 10 minutes it reached 400 degrees even though it was set for 350 degrees. After explaining the situation to Chef he told me to continue with the process and finish my product. He also gave me his dough he had prepared during the demo so I could bring some home to eat since he could tell that my dough was in fact “perfect.” As I started to slice my dough when it was cool enough I had a brilliant thought. What if I just cut off the burned portion of the dough and dip the edge in chocolate to hide the fact that the crust does not fully encircle the cookie. I set my mind to it and after salvaging what I could, I threw the dough back into the oven until they were nice and golden. I returned to my practical dough and threw them in another oven at the same time.
When the biscotti finished, I dipped them in chocolate and plated them on a large white dish. My chocolate chip cookies baked PERFECTLY! YES—one less problem to deal with! I plated them as well and brought both plates to Chef. He looked at them and said, “Is that your biscotti dough?” I explained what I did defending my actions by stating that I was able to take something what would otherwise have been trashed and turned it into a sellable product. He seemed to agree with me that it was, in a word, quite brilliant! Ha. I didn’t think they looked half bad. Chef told me that I received a 100% on the written portion of the exam and A’s on both the biscotti and the practical exam cookies. Oh glorious day! I was so thankful that despite the issues this day threw my way, things still managed to work out.