I nearly failed biology my freshman year of high school.
Now, my D+ had very little to do with my actual performance in the class, and a lot to do with the personal vendetta the teacher seemed to have against me. People like to say teachers “don’t play favorites.” Well after working as a teacher in a number of different schools, I can verify that is 100% a load of lies. I absolutely had favorite kids. They were what made my job worthwhile, and you better believe I treated them differently for being the conscientious, polite, and hardworking little elementary schoolers they were. I also had my least favorite students. That handful of kids that I would dread seeing each day, the ones who made me wonder who on earth their parents were, the ones who knew exactly how to make me blow a fuse.
Be what it may, every teacher I’ve ever worked with also had favorites and least favorites.
My ninth grade science teacher did not like me. In my defense, my performance in school was always incredibly important to me. I tend to keep unrealistic standards for myself, so I did whatever it took to get A’s and nothing less, make the Dean’s List, and graduate with top honors. (Yes, I now realize how not-all-that-important these things truly are). Teachers liked me for it. You care about their class and your work, they care about you. It’s simple.
The situation with this science teacher was complicated. I was friends with her son and he got himself expelled from school mid-year. I am pretty good at admitting when I’m wrong, but in this situation I think this lady was just crazy and bitter and wanted to make my 14-year-old life difficult. I deserved a B at least.
However, I am no scientist. And no, I still don’t care about Gregor Mendel’s pea pods, which was my big project that year. And for someone who bakes as much as I do, I maintain a very poor understanding of basic chemistry and how things work. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t have tried to put marshmallows into bread batter and then been totally surprised when they melted right in.
Sugar melts when heated. Obviously marshmallows will not remain whole after nearly an hour in a 350 degree oven. I now know this, and my visions of “s’mores bread” have forever been put to rest.
Some of the greatest discoveries in science were made inadvertently, when the scientists were studying something else entirely. I have no examples of this. I just remember hearing it one time. This Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread was my discovery that arose from attempting to make s’mores bread, which would have been a quick bread flavored by brown sugar, with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows baked in. When I cut into that bread to see my marshmallows had vanished, I was disappointed. Then I ate it, and I couldn’t believe how good it has. It tasted exactly like a chocolate chip cookie, but in bread form. So I decided to make it again right then and there, swapping out the marshmallows for walnuts, and rename it Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread.
Not just any chocolate chip cookie bread though, as this has a “secret ingredient”…
Biscoff spread! Also known as “cookie butter” to all those who shop at Trader Joe’s. I only recently decided to try the stuff this past year, after hearing for months about the jars that had been creating a phenomenon nationwide.
My initial reaction? It’s good.
I don’t know. People and their super sweet spreads, man. I feel the same way about cookie butter as I do about Nutella. I like it, sure, but I don’t understand the cult following. I would eat cookie butter with an apple, a banana, or maybe stirred into yogurt. But spread it on toast?! That’s literally spreading cookies on bread.
Needless to say, I’ve had 3/4 of a jar of cookie butter sitting in my cabinet for months. When I went to attempt s’mores bread, I wanted the base to be reminiscent of that warm graham cracker flavor, but I knew using graham flour or graham cracker crumbs instead of all-purpose flour would make the bread too dense. Brown sugar would help, but I didn’t think it would be enough. After a little brainstorming I thought, why not try replacing some of the butter with cookie butter? Graham crackers are cookies, after all.
My expectations were not high, so when a light, fluffy bread with the warm, subtle flavors of molasses and cinnamon came out of the oven, my mind was blown. After I got over the disappearing marshmallows, that is.
After making the simple switch to walnuts, the result was perfect. That wasn’t even a week ago, and I have since made this Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread three more times. I had to share it with everyone I planned to see over the weekend, and I did. But to come home to a cupboard void of any left for myself would be disappointing, so I made a third loaf for safekeeping. As surprised as I am to say it, I would take a slice of this over an actual chocolate chip cookie any day.
Despite my extremely limited understanding of the science behind what happens inside my oven, I like to think I’m an expert in knowing when something tastes good. I’ve been eating every day for two and a half decades, after all. So trust the expert; go buy a jar of cookie butter and bake a loaf of Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread.
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread
Yields an 8×4″ loaf pan
Soft, fluffy bread flavored with brown sugar and biscoff spread, studded with chocolate chips and walnuts. It tastes exactly like a chocolate chip cookie!
- 1 3/4 cup (210g) flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup (60g) cookie butter
- 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 3oz. semisweet chocolate chips
- 2oz. (1/2 cup) walnuts (or pecans), chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 8×4″ loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer on medium speed to cream the butter and cookie butter together, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and canola oil and continue to beat until combined. Add eggs, and vanilla to the bowl. Beat on medium low just until the mixture is uniform.
Add about half the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Stream in the milk, then add the remaining dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Mix just until everything is combined, no longer.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a knife and inverting it onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool for two hours before slicing.