What would you give for a Chef Jeff Cookie right about now? Here you go.

Are you among the throngs who are missing the fabulous food at Mount Holyoke College? We asked Dining Services for recipes for student-favorite dishes and Katie Gay, menu coordinator, happily obliged. 

Here then are recipes for General Tso’s Chicken, Chicken 65 and Chef Jeff M&M Cookies. And if you're observing Ramadan, these are some tasty options to break your daily fast with.

Dining Services use 200 pounds of chicken to serve one meal of Chicken 65, says Peter Haas, executive chef. They use 12 gallons of sauce for “the generals” in one day. The bakers make about 300 of these cookies a week and have to hand-scoop them all. 

“Delish!” said one recipe tester. “Not much left. They loved it.” 

We’re sure you’ll agree.

They're posted here and in PDF format. 

Chef Jeff Cookies  |  Chicken 65  |  General Tso’s Chicken

M&M cookies on a wire cooling rack

Chef Jeff Cookies from Mount Holyoke College

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 14 three-inch cookies

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick + ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

½ cup sugar 

½ cup + 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 

1 egg 

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup M&Ms


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside. 

In a stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugars on medium speed for 7 to 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients to combine. Add the M&Ms and mix until evenly dispersed. Do not overmix. 

Form dough into 1 ½ inch balls.

The dough can be refrigerated or frozen for later use at this point. If frozen, place dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to baking. 

On a cookie pan lined with parchment paper or non-stick liner, place balls 3 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown but the centers are not completely cooked. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a minute before transferring to a wire rack. Cool 10 more minutes before eating or freezing.

(Adapted from Dining Services at Mount Holyoke College) 

Chef Jeff Cookies from Mount Holyoke College (PDF)

a plate of finished Chicken 65 on a plate waiting to be eaten

Chicken 65 from Mount Holyoke College

Katie Gay, the menu coordinator for Dining Services, shares this story about the name of this recipe: “Just before we opened the new dining center, we met with some Muslim students to get their input for some new recipes. One was for Chicken 65. I had never heard of it before, but after checking it out I knew this would be popular. It has been really well received.”

Start to finish: 30 minutes, plus 4-12 hours marinating time
Servings: 5-6

spice mix

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 dash chili powder

liquid ingredients

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced


1 tablespoon or more olive or vegetable oil for frying

2 pounds chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes, or chicken tenders


In a medium bowl, combine the flour and the cornstarch. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the spices — salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chili powder — and add to the flour and cornstarch mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the yogurt, ginger and garlic. Fold in the flour/spice mixture. Add the chicken and mix well to coat each piece.

Marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken pieces. Saute until golden on all sides, about 15 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan.

Serve immediately with pasta, rice or potatoes and vegetables of choice.

(Adapted from Dining Services at Mount Holyoke College)

Chicken 65 from Mount Holyoke College (pdf)

A plate of cooked chicken and vegetables with a sauce

General Tso’s Chicken 

Start to finish: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Servings: 6

1 ¾ cup chicken stock

⅓ cup mirin 

½ cup teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

⅓ cup sweet soy sauce*

½ cup dark soy sauce 

1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili paste (or more, to taste)

¾ cup sugar 

⅓ cup cornstarch


1 tablespoon canola oil for frying

6-12 cloves garlic (to taste), minced

1 inch ginger root, minced**


1 pound sliced carrots

2 pounds broccoli florets


2-4 tablespoons canola oil for frying

2 pounds chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes

Sesame seeds (optional)

Minced chili pepper (optional)

* You can substitute ¼ soy sauce + ⅜ cup brown sugar. Add 1-2 teaspoons molasses for greater depth of flavor.

** Pro tip: freeze your ginger root and grate with the fine side of a cheese grater for faster prep.


Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl (preferably with a pour spout), combine the stock, mirin, rice vinegar, sweet and dark soy sauces, chili paste, sugar and cornstarch and set aside. 

In a two-quart saucepan over medium heat, add one tablespoon oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and vegetables are slightly soft. 

Stir in the sauce mixture and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. You will see dark bits rise to the top. This is the cornstarch thickening. Just keep stirring.

In a small bowl, strain out the garlic and ginger and cool the sauce. The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to three days. Set aside.   

Prepare the vegetables: In a large microwave-proof bowl, add  3-4 tablespoons of water to the carrots and broccoli and cover with a plate. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. The vegetables should be crisp. Run under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside. 

Prepare the chicken: In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, start adding the chicken. Cook, stirring every 3-4 minutes, until it begins to brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan. 

Line a large heat-proof bowl with several layers of paper towels for draining. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and place in the bowl. Keep warm. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more oil if necessary. Wipe out the frying pan.

Reheat and assemble: In the same pan over medium heat, add the cooked vegetables and as much sauce as you’d like (approximately 1 ½ to 2 cups). Cook until warmed through, then add the chicken and additional sauce, if desired.

Serve hot over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chili pepper if desired.

(Adapted from Dining Services at Mount Holyoke College)

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