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A Day in the Life of an Intern - Making The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

A Day in the Life of an Intern - Making The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

August 11, 2011
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As you may or may not know, I started at Land O’Lakes as a summer intern in the Test Kitchens. I held this position for two summers and made some great memories, but I couldn’t be an intern forever.

Now I am a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens, and we have an awesome new intern, Samantha, who attends my alma mater- the University of Wisconsin-Stout, which is in Menomonie, Wisconsin. She has been working on a variety of projects here in the Test Kitchens, and I could go into detail but I think Samantha can explain…

Hi all! As an intern in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchens, it has been nothing short of amazing. Why do I say this? Because technically this is a job, though it doesn’t seem like one. I’ve been cooking and baking since I can remember with my mom and Nonna (Italian grandma), and I was thrilled at the opportunity to be in the test kitchens this summer.

I have had the chance to work in different areas of the Test Kitchens from foodservice, to consumer affairs, to retail and I haven’t had to run and get one cup of coffee for anyone! Most people think working in a test kitchen means you get to bake cookies all day. While that is a small part of life here, there are quite a few other tasks performed. One of the tests we do here in the Test Kitchens is recipe tolerance testing, which I performed this week on Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies.

We’ve all made mistakes on recipes, whether it be an ingredient mix-up or measuring the wrong amount. To ensure that, even with a mishap in the kitchen, your baked goods come out edible, we alter recipes on purpose. We take the original recipe and tolerance it by making two new batches, one with extra amounts of the dry ingredients and not enough wet ingredients, and the second time with not enough dry and more wet ingredients. This is all done using specific measurements for adding and subtracting amounts of ingredients. Then we bake the plus dry and minus dry batches using two different pan types and two different oven types.

If the cookies come out of the oven attractive and still taste good, a bit of paperwork is completed and the recipe is ready for you. If we feel some improvements could be made it is back to the drawing board. The whole process is done so that you, baking at home, get a yummy product even if a distraction led to some extra flour in the batter. If you have a question about a recipe, you can call Consumer Affairs. They know exactly how to help you rescue your recipe.

Here is what happens when we tolerance: the cookies on the far left have a little more flour and not as much liquid, the middle cookies are the "normal" cookies, and the ones on the far right have too much liquid and a lower amount of flour. Adding more flour tends to make the cookies more cakey and they don’t spread as much, while adding more liquid tends to make the cookies spread out and flatten.

We do tolerance testing in our kitchens so that you, at home, can produce the best cookies possible for family and friends. Let’s make Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Begin by preheating the oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl combine softened butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Beat at medium speed until it’s nice and creamy.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

This is going to take some muscle to mix in all the flour, and if you’re using a hand-held mixer you might need to help it out a little and mix some by hand. It’ll just be extra love and the cookies will taste that much better.

Once all the flour is incorporated stir in a bag of chocolate chips, again by hand.

Drop the cookies using a rounded tablespoon full of dough onto your ungreased cookie sheet.

Pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes depending on how you like your cookies. I personally am a fan of slightly under-baked cookies. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a couple minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack or to a napkin with a glass of milk nearby, because who can resist a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie? And ta da! Perfect Five-Star Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Do you love chocolate chip cookies? Then you will love these Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know they helped me get through my long day! Make sure to come back and let us know how they turned out by rating and reviewing the recipe, or leaving a comment here.

Come back in a few days when Alex will share a tasty muffin recipe.

Samantha is an Intern in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes,and Mallory is a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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Hi, I've made these cookies several times but recently they have flattened out on me.... what am I doing wrong?

Posted December 04, 2016 by Kasey

Love amazing this recipe! I've become the "cookie maven" of the family and friends that have received them. Must tell you that the "Land of Lakes" butter is the secret ingredient for the outcome to be different than using other brands of butter- just right. Did adjust out 1/4c of the sugar and added 1/4 c of flour and half the salt. We live in Denver , a mile high, but that adjustment is perfect here for "Perfect 5 star Chocolate Chip Cookies". Baking some at this moment!

Posted March 15, 2016 by Charlotte Koske

Working in a test kitchen seems like it would be an awesome job! I'm about to graduate college and was wondering how I could become an intern for Land O'Lakes? Thanks!

Posted March 30, 2014 by Paige
Test Kitchen Comment
From: Cindy
Land O'Lakes has an intern program. Check information about it on
Posted April 23, 2014

I would like to cut some fat and calories out by using Land O'Lakes light butter. How would that affect these cookies. Thanks.

Posted February 05, 2014 by Can light butter be used?
Test Kitchen Comment
From: Cindy
The cookies will be softer and cake-like which is different than the cookies made with regular butter. The cookies will also stale more quickly and so should be stored in the freezer to help prevent this. Yes, you will cut fat and calories but you may not approve of the cookies as much as the cookies made with butter.
Posted February 27, 2014

The recipe posted on this site calls for 1 tsp of salt, however, you do not mention salt above when making them in the test kitchen. Salt or no salt? Unsalted butter or salted butter?

Posted November 15, 2012 by Gina
Test Kitchen Comment
From: Cindy
I checked the recipe and you are correct salt should be listed in the blog. The salt would be added when you add the flour to the dough. This recipe can be made with salted or unsalted butter, Either butter works just fine in this recipe. You do not need to change the amount of salt in the recipe depending on which product you use.
Posted November 16, 2012

These look wonderful, but I was wondering if I should make any adjustments for baking at 6000 ft?

Posted June 06, 2012 by Maggie
Test Kitchen Comment
From: mallory
Hi Maggie, For high altitude baking, increase the flour to 4 1/2 cups; add 1 tablespoon water with flour; and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 1 cup each. Bake at 375F., drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Hope this helps!
Posted June 12, 2012

Love this recipe! This by far my most favourite chocolate chips cookies recipe. I do find the resulting cookie a bit too sweet for my taste. If I would like the reduce the sugar amount. How much can I reduce without affect the final texture?

Posted September 03, 2011 by Amanda

where can I get one of your aprons to go with my new land o'lake coffe mug I found at my church? I cant wait to bake these cookies..Oh and you are one lucky girl..Eat some yummy butter for me...LOL Karen

Posted August 14, 2011 by Karen
Test Kitchen Comment
From: mallory
Hi Karen! Unfortunately, our aprons aren't for purchase- they're just what we wear here in the Test Kitchens. Make sure to come back and let us know how these cookies turn out for you!
Posted August 16, 2011

I like the way the cookies look in the picture that is at the top of the blog by the picture where someone is cracking an egg in the bowl. Those cookies look perfect, not that yours don't. I am going to try your recipe. I think it would be fun to intern in a test kitchen.

Posted August 11, 2011 by Vicki K.
Test Kitchen Comment
From: mallory
Hi Vicki! Thanks for your comment. The cookies are quite delicious, and I'd love to hear how you like them!
Posted August 16, 2011