Ah, it is the end of the semester. I have finished my teaching, I have completed my marking, I no longer have to get up at 6am on Tuesdays to get to Oxford in time for a 9am lecture. Bliss. I am even facing the prospect of finishing an article I've been working on for months. And the excitement that was the Great Choc Chip Cookie Research Project has come to an end.
So, which cookie was the winner? We had plain and simple, we had double choc, small and crispy, honeyed, gingery, cream cheesey (bit of a low point that one), Kiwi, biscotti, minty, and fruity. I went back through all the scores and can now announce that...[cue drum roll, flashing lights and nervous glances from contestant cookies, trying to compose themselves to look nonchalant and yet in need of your vote]....The Bonfire Night One!! Yes, the gingery treacley oaty moist one based on Den Lepard's Guardian baking column - that I forgot to add the chocolate chips to. The only one which was not actually eligible to be included in the contest has won the whole thing. But I don't care - it was the best and a ginger cookie just doesn't need to have choc chips to be a winner. Even when it's entered in a choc chip cookie contest. Its outstanding average score of 9.4 took it right to the top of the leader board, followed by the Senior Tutor's pick of The Boozy, Blonde and Fruity One, and the early favourite, The Double Choc One. My own personal favourite, The Mint Choc Chip One, came in fourth, but the winner was my close second preference so I'm happy too (as is The Scientist, who got to eat them again when I reprised them this week).
In the spirit of academic enquiry I thought a little bit more about what this project has revealed. Firstly, that my colleagues are very British in their tastes, consistently choosing crisp and crunchy over soft and chewy. On reflection I should really have called this the Choc Chip *Biscuit* Project. I like to think that this tells us something about resistance to the creep of American cultural hegemony. Secondly, everyone likes more chocolate rather than less (unless less means more gingery treacley oatyness). Thirdly that academics cannot leave semantics alone even when it comes to treats. The question of 'what is a 'cookie' seemed to perpetually exercise a few brains, though others were more than happy to let their tastebuds provide the data. I have also genuinely got to know some more people by becoming the self-appointed cookie fairy, and several other colleagues have expressed an interest in bringing in baked goods too. As long as I'm the one that gets to wear the wings and carry the wand :)
The Winner recipe here.