Warning: This article might make your mouth water and your stomach grumble for Chef Jeff cookies. But that’s not a bad thing…right?
If you were to stop any Mount Holyoke student and ask them what their favorite food on campus is, I bet a lot of those answers would include Chef Jeff cookies. And I’m not ashamed to say I am one of the many students who spends a lot of their dining dollars on these heavenly desserts.
Although there might be some students who have never tried a Chef Jeff, I’m sure most people know of them. But how many students actually know the backstory behind the famous cookies? I’m guessing not too many. The Monday before Thanksgiving break I went to Blanch at around 8:00 AM to buy two Chef Jeff cookies for my sister. As I was placing them in a small paper bag, I started to wonder about the history of the cookie. And then it occurred to me: I had no idea who Chef Jeff was, or when he created these cookies. So for my article this week, I decided to do some research about Mount Holyoke’s famous Chef Jeff cookies and share my findings with you!
For starters, Chef Jeff is a man named Jeffrey Sadowski, who used to be a chef at Mount Holyoke around 2006. An article posted to the College’s website November of 2006 tells us how Sadowski paired up with Joseph Jeresaty, who is a local businessman, to market his delicious cookie dough. Jeresaty and Sadowski called their business Zuzzy’s. It’s raw cookie dough made from pasteurized eggs that’s sold in pint-sized ice cream containers. Zuzzy’s comes in five different flavors: chocolate chip, Heath bar, M&M, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin, and chocolate truffle and Oreo. The Daily Hampshire Gazette wrote a feature about the two men, including the fact that they “produce about 80 cases of their product a month and are working to expand and distribute around the Valley and beyond.”
Side note: I checked their Facebook, and it hasn’t been updated in four years. I’m not sure if Sadowski stopped selling his cookie dough to local stores or if Sadowski and Jeresaty just stopped posting to their website and Facebook.
The other piece of information I found regarding the cookies was on a website called Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a recipe website run by a woman named Julianne, an alum from Mount Holyoke, who attended the school before Jeff Sadowski was a chef at the College. According to her post, Sadowski started making his cookies available for sale when he switched from being an in-dorm chef to manager of Blanch after it was remodeled in the late 1990’s.
Later, Sadowski shared his recipe for the famous cookies in the student cookbook project “Recipes Beyond the Gates”. In 2012, as a way to celebrate 175 years since MHC was founded, the Mount Holyoke community compiled a recipe book with submissions sent by staff, students, and faculty. His recipe, which is posted on Julianne’s website, is the following:
Chef Jeff Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside. Cream together the sugars and the butter, using a mixer, until very light and fluffy (optimally, this should take between 5-10 minutes!). Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended. Gradually add the flour to the butter mixture, followed by the chocolate chips, and mix until blended (do NOT overmix).
Spoon the dough onto a prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies several inches apart, as they will spread. Bake for *about* 10-11 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown but the centers are not completely cooked. Cool for a minute on the pan then place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 12 large cookies.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m seriously craving a chocolate chip cookie right about now. Unfortunately, Chef Jeff cookies are now only available to buy at Blanch Monday-Friday, 8:00-10:45 AM.
If you haven’t tried these cookies yet, you definitely need to change that! I’m not kidding when I say they are life-changing. Seriously, the first time I ate one I was pretty sure my tongue died and went to Heaven. The next time you find yourself craving some sweets and are walking by Blanch, you know what to do!
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