Rosman High School's Foods II Advanced class makes a special contribution to Transylvania County's Sesquicentennial celebration

Students in Rosman High School's Foods II Advanced class made a special contribution to the initiation of Transylvania County's sesquicentennial celebration and at the same time learned some valuable lessons about professional food preparation.  Planners of the event asked Mrs. Billie Wilson if her class could prepare special cookies for the event. In the Foods II course students learn the basics of professional food preparation, and Mrs. Wilson felt this would be a perfect project for the class.

Cookies were to be distributed to persons in attendance at the opening event.  Estimates were that about 250 people would be present, and each should receive three cookies packaged in small cellophane bags adorned with the sesquicentennial logo.  One of the students in the class said, "When Mrs. Wilson told us we were going to make 750 cookies, we thought it would take forever."  However, they reported they were thrilled to have been asked and eager to take on the challenge.

This initial step was to determine what kind of cookies and what size they should be.  They decided on Snickerdoodle cookies because they keep well and contain basic ingredients that nearly everyone can eat.  The class mixed a batch of cookies and used a metric scale to measure the dough into cookies ranging from 20 grams each and increasing by 2 gram intervals up to 34 grams.  They needed to see which ones would fit best in the cellophane bags.  The 30 gram cookie was an ideal fit: and three of them were just the right quantity for the bags.

Once the cookie weight was determined, the students carefully converted to metric weights the quantities of ingredients in the cups and ounces recipe for a single batch.  They determined that if one recipe would make seventeen 30gram cookies, allowing for a few possible broken or misshaped cookies, it would take 50 batches of cookies to meet the 750 goal.  Fortunately the foods lab at Rosman High has a very large professional mixer in which students could prepare the equivalent of 10 single recipes of cookies at a time.  One student's description of the mixing process was: "We used a scale to measure 70 ounces of sugar and 78 ounces of flour.  The sugar was mixed with the butter in the commercial mixer.  While that was being mixed, somebody cracked 10 eggs; and the eggs, flour and other dry ingredients were added to the sugar-butter mixture in the commerical mixer."

Frequently in professional food preparation it is imperative that the products be exactly the same size and shape.  In order to achieve this, the dough for each cookie was weighed before the cookie went into the oven.  When the weight was right, each ball of cookie dough was rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  All the cookies were shaped and refrigerated before baking began.  Students experimented with the dough to see if refrigerated dough would spread and bake the same as room temperature dough.  They found it necessary to press the tops of each refrigerated cookie in order for it to spread to the proper diameter.  Of the actual baking process, one student commented, "Fortunately these cookies didn't take very long to bake, so they were coming in and out of the oven at light speed."

Before the baked cookies could be placed in their cellophane bags, the labels had to be placed on the bags. Students made a template that could be placed over the bag to assure proper placement of the logo label on the front as well as the ingredient information on the back.  Then they bagged the cooked and cooled cookies, checking carefully to be sure all of them met the standard for size, shape and color.  Several students pointed out that the bagging process was probably the most challenging because the slender bags were tall and the tops had to be rolled back in order to insert the cookies.  Once in bags, the bags were sealed with a vacuum sealer and the tops folded over and stapled in order to create a just-the-right-size, very professional looking packaging.  Before boxing the packages, they were checked to be sure no bag contained a broken cookie.

Students pointed out the most important step in the whole procedure was to maintain cleanliness throughout the process.  "Before stepping into the kitchen, the students had to put on hair restraints and clean aprons; both had to be worn at all times. Once in the kitchen, they had to wash their hands thoroughly before beginning the cooking.  They even had to put their hair back when they were putting the labels on the bags."

The class was unanimous in their evaluation of the experience.  "This was a fun project, especially for our very first thing we did in our class."  "It was hard, work, but everyone had a good time making (the cookies), and we did it!"  Mrs. Wilson feels it was a  "GREAT learning experience and great math lesson. It was also a lesson on quality control. ... They had the experience of seeing what a bakery goes through to produce the exact product day in and day out."

    Scaling Cookies                                                                            Left to Right - Alean Muniz, Will Garber, Denise JonesLeft to Right - Kimmy Owen, Laura Galloway, Isaiah Jones, Danielle Raines, Clarissa WhitmireLeft to Right - Kimmy Owen, Laura Galloway, Isaiah Jones, Danielle Raines, Clarissa Whitmire

 

 

                                                                                                                               

    Packaging & Sealing Cookies   Left to Right - Denise Jones, Kimmy Owen, Alena MunizLeft to Right - Will Garber, Laura Galloway, Isaiah Jones, Kimmey Owen        Left to Right - Laura Galloway, Alena Muniz

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