First Place: Daniel Jones’ Baklava Fingerprint Cookies
Breaking through the crunchy outer layer, the cookie gives way to flavors that explode in the mouth. Cinnamon, hazelnut, sugar, and butter give the cookies the perfect festive flavors that delight the senses. The small size allows them to be finished in a few bites, but it is almost impossible to have only one. The smells waft up from the tin, which inevitably are enough temptation to try a couple more.
The Baklava Fingerprint cookies made with hazelnuts won both overall and texture in the Midway’s Festive Faculty Bake-Off.
Baking has always been a passion for Daniel Jones, which he said was first spurred by his relationship with his family. His grandmother, someone Mr. Jones has always been close to, was the first person to show him how to cook. His family has been both a guiding light and an inspiration for Mr. Jones’ baking.
“One of my uncles spent a lot of time overseas,” Mr. Jones said, “and when he came back he showed me how to work with things I was never exposed to.”
One aspect of baking that Mr. Jones, a science teacher, loves the most is the experimentation aspect of it.
“I like doing it because of the, this is going to sounds super uber nerdy, the chemistry factor,” Mr. Jones said.
Almost never directly following a recipe, Mr. Jones usually finds his own way to improve existing baked goods.
“There are some parts of baking that there’s no margin for error; your measurements need to be exact and they need to be weighed,” Mr. Jones said, “but then there are other parts of it which are completely out of your control and you can be forgiving. There’s some margin there that you can play with.”
This margin is all Mr. Jones needs to come up with ways to perfect his craft. That, and immense amounts of practice. Mr. Jones bakes every week, and commits a large amount of effort.
“There’s a whole section of my kitchen devoted strictly to baking.” said Mr. Jones
Cookies, in particular, are a holiday tradition, which Mr. Jones often bakes to give away. This is something that connects Mr. Jones with his children.
“We do a lot of baking with the kids around this time of the year,” he said. “They cook with us anyway, so I like teaching them that aspect, the skill of being able to take these, usually inedible ingredients, mix them together and make something edible.”
The hazelnut cookies are the perfect holiday treat. They can be made in large quantities for large family gatherings, are the perfect size for a quick bite, and have the sweet scent and flavor that can act as the perfect holiday indulgence.