Chocolate should probably be considered essential at all times. And these days, when so many are relying on small joys to stay optimistic, we could all use something sweet.

Scott Watson, executive chef at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, part of Outreach and International Affairs, has just the mood-booster: the inn’s colossal chocolate chip cookies.

He suggests using the “pan-drop technique” when baking the cookies. This involves banging the cookie sheet on the oven rack partway through baking. Though it sounds counterintuitive, doing so helps stop the cookies from rising, making them chewier and denser, Watson says.

He also recommends bakers use cooking times and temperature as a guide. “Your kitchen at home is different from everyone else’s, so just keep an eye on the cookies the first time you make them. Take notes and adjust the temperature and time as needed.”

Though the cookies aren’t currently on the menu, Preston’s restaurant and Continental Divide Lounge at the inn are offering other delicious takeout options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch. The Great Lawn patio and Continental Divide have seating options available for patrons to enjoy their takeout options on-site while maintaining physical distancing. 

Orders can be placed by calling 540-231-1020.

To see a video of the chef making the cookies and other recipes, follow Preston’s and Continental Divide on Facebook.


Servings: 6-7 cookies

½ cup white sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (Watson uses dark brown sugar)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
7 ounces rough-chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Sea salt (optional)

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar and white sugar on low speed. Add the melted butter and mix to combine.

Add the whole egg and egg yolk and continue mixing on medium. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix on low until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. For colossal cookies, scoop 4 ¼-cup size mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each cookie.

Cook for 12-15 minutes total. After the first 6 minutes, pick the pan up and then drop it back on the rack. This helps stop the rise of the cookie, resulting in a chewier cookie.

Cook 3 more minutes, then lift and drop pan again. Finish baking 2-3 more minutes until golden brown but still soft. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, if using. Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.

Written by Isaac Rife

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