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I don’t remember when I started cooking.
Sometimes it was in elementary school. My mom oversaw messy projects that included brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and angel cookies, and resulted in a few blue ribbons for the Allen Parish Fair bakery.
Since then, I love to cook, so when my friend Michelle Spitzer asked me if I wanted to cook with her 10-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, I was thrilled to share that love.
Gabrielle, 10, started cooking during the pandemic. Stuck at home with her younger brothers Jonah and Asher, she turned on the oven.
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I learned to cook by reading recipes from an old cookbook with a broken spine and buttery stained pages. Gabrielle follows the teachings of YouTube and Instagram Reels.
She made a cake with M&Ms hidden inside, so when it’s sliced, the candy spills out from the center.
She perfected the “burger” cake, with two layers of yellow cake as buns, a round brownie as the burger, and layers of fondant for the lettuce and tomato.
A family friend, Alexis Kiel David, taught her how to make the perfect braided challah bread.
And Gabrielle made her own cake to celebrate her 10th birthday.
I chose something much less complicated for our bake date: my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Gabrielle took the task seriously, carefully measuring the brown sugar and sifting the flour.
We ended up with 3½ dozen golden cookies.
Michelle said she was enjoying her daughter’s new hobby.
“I’m not a baker,” she said, “but I’m a really good baked goods eater. I love watching the creations she makes.”
You can also watch them by following her on Instagram @kidskitchen4u.
I think it’s great that Gabrielle has taken up baking. She may not learn like me, but some things about baking will always be the same.
Cookies will always taste best when they’re warm and gooey, straight out of the oven, and younger siblings will always jump at the chance to lick the bowl.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
2½ cups oats
12 ounces of chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
Place two racks in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
In a smaller mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
Gently stir in rolled oats, chocolate chips and nuts.
Refrigerate cookie dough for 20 minutes.
Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Shape the dough into golf ball sized balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Transfer one mold to the middle rack and the second to the rack just above. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove cookie sheets from oven and let cool about 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to baking racks to cool completely. (Or eat them while they’re hot.)
Cookies can be baked in two batches, or leftover dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.
Suzy Fleming Leonard is a business journalist with over three decades of experience. Contact her at [email protected] Find on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard
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