Chocolate chip cookies are not only the most searched-for cookie on the web, they’re also the beginner cookie for many budding bakers—including legendary chefs. When F&W Best New Chef 1995 Traci des Jardins was just three years old, her mother taught her how to make the iconic cookie. It was the first thing she remembers learning in the kitchen. Former Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Nancy Olson had a similar experience. Her childhood experiments included packaged mac and cheese and undertaking the recipe on the back of a bag of Nestlé Toll House chocolate chips. “I was about 12,” Olson says. “I remember my mom saying I made better chocolate chip cookies than she did, and that was an amazing compliment. No doubt it led to me feeling confident in the kitchen.”
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