...that something as 'basic' as your classic, all-American chocolate chip cookie could be so darn hard to master! Well, actually I sorta knew. Or rather, I had an inkling.

My first night of pastry school back in 2012 was a clue.  We were a group of 13 women with voracious appetites for butter and sugar and our first evening's assignment was to bake an assortment of cookies; roll cookies that you mix, freeze, cut & bake; drop cookies; traditional shortbread and of course, classic chocolate chip cookies.

This wasn't our assignment because cookies are simple to make.  On the contrary; this was our first night's assignment to show us how critical precision and technique are in baking in order to achieve delicious and consistent results with optimal texture and appearance.

As a home baker prior to pastry school, I often took shortcuts on things such as properly measuring flour or rotating pans in the oven (woe is me, I don't have a convection oven at home).  Our cookie class was a great time to re-set, go over the basics and show us how something so seemingly easy as the perfect cookie is actually very difficult to achieve.

Every time I'm in the test kitchen now attempting to create the ultimate double chocolate chunk cookie for you, I have flashbacks to this first evening. Am I measuring everything properly? Have I optimized the time in fridge -to- time in oven ratio for these little babies? Is the salt level too high (probably) or not enough to bring out the wonderful flavors of the butter and chocolate?

Each batch feels like it's inching a little closer to the finish line but also still just not. quite. there.

Fortunately, I am helped along the way by a great team of taste-testers at Green Toys, Inc. (plug: these are AMAZING eco-friendly toys made from recycled milk-jug plastic here in the USA!) a group of honest folks providing constructive feedback who always have an appetite. How lucky am I?