Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oat Lace Cookies (Page 665)

  • Date: Thursday, January 17, 2008 -- 10pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I have been eyeing the recipe for these cookies for quite some time, so last week I finally made them. These lacy desserts were tasty, but I object a bit to calling them cookies. There was nothing cookie-like about them. They contained no flour, and hence came out very thin and fragile. They were much more like candy than cookies. They had a very rich buttery flavor, tempered only slightly by the oats. I made the "cookies" exactly as directed: 2 teaspoon balls of batter spaced 3 inches apart. Nonetheless, they all spread together in the oven. The two "cookies" pictured are the only ones out of the entire batch that didn't end up fusing with the "cookies" around them. One entire cookie sheet of them ended up as a big blob of "cookie." They still tasted fine, and they broke apart easily into pieces, but they weren't terribly attractive once broken into fragments. These lacy treats weren't really meant to stand alone. They would make a lovely component of an intricate dessert. For example, they would be a lovely side to creme brulee or a pot de creme. But if you are looking for a typical, substantial cookie, this is not the recipe for you.

This recipe isn't online.

Today I had an unpleasant interaction with one of my students. My class took a quiz last week and the grader gave them back to me today. Historically, cheating has been a problem in this course, so it is recommended that you write at least 2 different versions of each quiz and hand them out so that students in adjacent seats have different versions of the quiz. So I did this, without mentioning to the students that they weren't all taking the exact same quiz. The second question on quiz version A was: Draw a graph of a function f(x) that is increasing everywhere and concave up for negative values of x and concave down for positive values of x. The analogous question on version B was the opposite: Draw a graph of a function f(x) that is decreasing everywhere and concave down for negative values of x and concave up for positive values of x. It turned out that both versions of this question were difficult for many students. Out of the 77 students who took the quiz though, there were two students who gave perfect answers to the question on the other version of the quiz than they took. Those of you out there who are mathematically inclined will understand how unlikely it is that this would happen by accident. Sure a student many confuse concave up and concave down, but confusing increasing and decreasing? Unlikely. And confusing it all so that you get exactly the wrong answer, which magically happens to be the right answer for the person in the seat next to you? Even more unlikely. So I wrote, "Please see me after class," on the two papers. Only one of the students came to class though. After class I had a little talk with him. It was very uncomfortable. I didn't accuse him of cheating. I just explained that I found it suspicious, and I wanted to warn him about the consequences of cheating. Interestingly, he didn't deny that he had cheated. He didn't confirm it either. Actually he didn't say much. I found the whole thing very difficult and unpleasant. I sincerely hope that I won't continue to have problems like these throughout the semester.

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