I'm gonna repeat myself. Just because I know I've already mumbled about teaching and students and such things. Well, you know, when you're a PhD student, life is quite limited to labs, classes, teaching and a little bit of fun social life.
Truth is, teaching is a big part of what I want my future to look like. Professor Bon? hopefully!. In the meantime, I devote my Monday and Wednesday nights to teaching general chemistry. It's certainly an interesting experience. You know those shows about colleges (like Community), in which there's a character who is the stereotypical student of some kind? I have them all.
There's the ones who are in college just because mum and dad wanted them to be, there's the mom with two kids who goes to school full time while she works full time, there's the already PhD who is back in school because he wants to go to med school. Prom queen, army guy, funny guy, dorky boys. I've had them all. And they are all great in their own way.
Teaching is probably the most rewarding experience one could have. It's also one of the toughest ones. When T.A evaluations come, you see nasty comments (probably from that one student who yelled at you in class and called you an idiot), that make you feel terrible. Just until you read the good ones. Those make it all worth it. The long hours of grading, the class preparation, the late nights teaching when you've been at work for over 12 hrs. It all pays off.
Today I was having a terrible day. One of those in which everything seems terrible. Then a few of my students tried to make me laugh. They tried really hard, goofing around and cracking jokes. And by the end of lab, I was in the best mood I've been in, all week.
Teaching is as good as these cookies. The home made version of the infamous girl scouts cookie, but cheaper, healthier and tastier. My friend Chase loves them to death. Since we pounded an entire box while playing cribbage a few days ago, I decided to make him a batch. He loved them and so will you.
Homemade thin mints
For the cookies
8 ounces/1 stick of butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon of fine grain salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
For the chocolate coating
12 ounces of chocolate chips
Cream the butter, vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. Finally stir in the flour and mix until just combined. Don't overmix or your cookies will be hard. Place the dough in the freezer for about 30 min. Then roll it between two pieces of parchment paper, to about 1/8 in thickness. This dough is soft. My kitchen was hot and it kept getting too soft to cut and place in the baking sheet without it getting weirdly shaped. To prevent that, I rolled the dough and put it in the freezer for about 2 min before cutting shapes with the cookie cutter. That way they kept shape and were easier to handle. Also, you want to roll a bit of dough at a time, or again, it'll get soft and it'll be hard to handle.
Bake the cookies at 350 for about 10 minutes or until you can smell them. They burn fast, so be careful.
Once the cookies are baked, let them cool completely so they harden, otherwise they'll break when you try to coat them (10 min in the freezer will shorten the cooling time). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then add the peppermint extract to your taste. You don't want to add it before since heat could alter the flavor (this doesn't happen with oils, only extracts) . I'm a big fan of microwaving chocolate, but you want to keep it warm while you coat the cookies and a double boiler works best for that. Dip the cookies one at a time. I still have to perfect the coating technique. I threw them in the chocolate, coated both sides and then using two forks, removed the excess chocolate (specially the one that sticks at the bottom). It's a matter of practice, my first cookies were extremely coated. Place the coated cookies in a piece of parchment paper and let them cool so the chocolate hardens. Once again, the freezer does the trick in a few minutes. Store in the fridge to prevent the chocolate from melting.