Getting Geared up for the 2018 Season!

So, here we are end of July.  Summer has peaked and we are already looking to Fall. Well, I am, anyway.  When The Chicago Bears go back to training camp, I go back into the kitchen.  It’s training camp for the players, and treat-making training in the kitchen for me.  Now is my time to kick it into high-gear and really start reading baking blogs in search of new and exciting treats to add to my rotation for the upcoming NFL season.  Not only do they have to be new and exciting and taste good (obviously), but, they have to transport well, serve well (like pick up and eat with your hands) and it’s a bonus if you can make ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer. Those are all key things I look for in a recipe.

So, with that said, I just came across an idea that has left me kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner. Cookie Dough…Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Who doesn’t love to eat cookie dough? I mean, they served it to us as a dessert in massive tubs in the ice-cream cooler when I was in college. This is not a new thing…it’s been a real treat since the 80’s at least (yes I’m old). And if any of you are familiar with the show Shark Tank, you might have seen the sisters from Illinois who won the backing of their brilliant and delicious product: The Cookie Dough Cafe, which is egg-less edible cookie dough.  It’s amazing! But it does come with a price tag.

So, I set out to try and make my own…I said, I’m staying in on this Friday night and not drinking wine and test baking. Ok, good decision, time well spent – I LOVED what I made.  I found a great recipe from a blogger named “Cooking Classy” in which she shares her recipe.  Basically, it’s a standard chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, but you swap out the eggs for Half-and-Half cream. And there is no need for baking soda since there is no baking involved.

Here is a sneak peak of what mine looked like:


I tell you, they tasted delicious.  I make 100 cookies a week for the Chicago Bears, so I know cookie dough.  These definitely tasted a little bit different, but delicious, none-the-less. And my co-workers all loved them! However, if you know me, I like to add a touch of my own creativity.  So here is what I am thinking: I’m going to brown the butter in a pan instead of using room temperature.  I think that might give them an extra kick. Or, it could make them a soupy mess…we shall see! I’m also going to do a test run of covering some in either milk chocolate, or half milk, half semi-sweet and then a sprinkle of sea salt.  I’m going to send some to work and take a poll. I’ll let you know the results.  But in the meantime, here is a link to the recipe: Cooking Classy

And best part about these little bites of joy… I can make a ton ahead of time and freeze them! I’m going to be so organized this season and get a good night’s sleep each week! 🙂

I’ll check back with you on the results of my edits to the recipe and let you know if they were a hit!

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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

4 thoughts on “Getting Geared up for the 2018 Season!

  1. I heard about this blog from your appearance on the Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder show. I’m always hesitant about trying recipes so I’m thankful to find your tried and true “Bears approved” recipes. Thank you for sharing them.


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