A Bel Air High School freshman believes he may have baked the world’s largest Oreo cookie.
In a roundabout way, the cookie was part of a project for Tyler Hall’s English-language arts class, taught by 2018 Harford Teacher of the Year Dr. Paula Stanton.
When baked, the giant cookie weighed about 164 pounds — 2 pounds, 3 ounces larger than the Guinness World Record of 161 pounds, 13 ounces, set earlier this year in Mondoez, Bahrain.
“The whole thing started out as a school project we were told about a few weeks ago,” Hall said. “I figured it would be something different, I don’t think anyone else was doing it.”
For the English-language arts class, students were allotted 20 percent of their class time to work on a self-directed project with an English-language arts connection, Stanton said.
Students were given a list of projects, and they talked about why they were important.
Stanton pointed out that Post-it Notes and gmail were examples from companies — 3M and Google, respectively — in which employees were allowed to do their own projects “and great things came out of them.”
On the list of things they could do was break a world record, which Hall chose, and the project had to connect to unity or diversity, Stanton said.
Students had to give a 60-second pitch and the class voted on whether the project would move forward.
“The project was really about improving presentation skills, but also helping refine their skills and engaging in something important to them,” Stanton said.
Hall connected the cookie to diversity by saying that if he baked a giant cookie, he could have it at school and bring diverse groups of people into the room to talk about how different they are and the bonds they share.
Hall finished the cookie – which looks more like a giant sheet cake – at Newberry Bakery on Bond Street in Bel Air.
“I really applaud him for his tenacity, because he is determined to make this cookie,” Stanton said.
Hall abandoned the idea of setting a Guinness world record when he realized he needed to give them 12 weeks notice about his attempt, which would take him into the next school year, he said.
Not breaking the record has no impact on Hall’s grade on the project, Stanton said.
“The whole idea is the learning process and what he went through. If he can articulate the process, what he learned, the challenges he faced and what he’d do differently next time, and engage the audience in how it relates to unity and diversity, then he’s all good for us,” she said.
Hall figured out that to get a 164-pound cookie, he would need to make 24 6-pound sheet cakes and one to two 20-pound buckets of creme or filler, he said.
He couldn’t use the oven at his home, so he turned to Newberry Bakery, which agreed to help Hall with his project.
He made the first batch of cakes — 12 sheets — on June 3 using a 50-pound bag of chocolate cake mix, eggs and water, which he put in a large mixer, mixed and scooped out onto the sheet pans. All 12 baked in the same oven for 30 minutes, he said.
They were kept in the Newberry freezer and he made the remaining sheets and creme last weekend. He put on the finishing touches Tuesday.
When finished, Hall said, he expected the cookie to be between 1 ½ to 2 feet tall and 4 to 4 ½ feet long.
“It’s going to be very big,” he said.
Among other things from his project, Hall has learned how to bake.
“I had no idea how to make a cake beforehand,” he said, “and just what it really takes to push yourself. It’s a huge achievement, and I had to go through a lot of steps to get here.”