Sunday, December 20, 2015

Oh, what a night! - part one

Last Wednesday night Demaray Hall was jumping! It was merry, it was lively, and crumbs were flying everywhere. After sampling the SEVENTEEN delectable offerings, judges Dana Arnim, Kevan Atteberry, and Emily Russin couldn't be reached for comment, as they were all too busy swigging from a giant milk carton and making no sense whatsoever.

Our annual Cookie Contest crowned two worthy winners:

For Most Beautiful Cookie, Kathy Manchip emerged victorious with her stunning Holly Jolly Iced Sugar Cookies. They tasted wonderful –  almost too beautiful to chomp into (but we did)! Congratulations, Kathy! Her beautiful recipe is below.
Holly Jolly Sugar Cookies

- A batch of sugar cookies using your preferred recipe. (I cut out rounds, but any shape with enough surface area would work well.)
- A batch of royal icing using your preferred recipe. (Leave most of it white and color a small amount green.)
- Small red sugar beads/balls. (You can get these at Jo-Ann's or online.)
- Two piping bags and two round tips, one larger and one small.

- Fill the piping bag with the royal icing, one color for each bag. Attach the tips, using the smaller round tip on the green bag.
- Pipe a border of the white royal icing onto the cookie, and flood it. There are many online videos for how to do this if you haven't tried it before.
- While the icing is still wet (it will form a crust pretty quickly, so work fast) and using the green icing, pipe a small, elongated blob onto the surface of the white icing. Do them at an angle to each other like the hands of a clock.
- Take your tooth pick and drag the edges of the green blob outward to create the spikes of the holly leaf.
- Also while the icing is still wet, drop three red sugar beads/balls onto the surface of the cookie where the leaves almost touch.

- Allow the royal icing to dry and harden for at least a few hours.

Too beautiful to eat? Kathy Manchip's Holly Jolly cookies.

Judge Atteberry with cookie artiste Kathy.

For Most Delicious Cookie, Lois Brandt's Giant Turtle Cookie confections were a huge hit. Here's the sinfully scrummy recipe:

Lois Brandt's Turtle Cookies made our taste buds sing!

Lois loves her new signed print by David Weisner!


1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:
14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft Traditional Caramels)
3 T. heavy cream

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli baking chips)
1 tsp. shortening or butter


Prepare the Cookies: 

1.  Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

2.  With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.

3.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

4.  Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy.  Place chopped pecans in another bowl.  Roll chilled dough into 1 ½ inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.  Note that the original recipe called for smaller 1 inch balls.  The caramel/chocolate ratio will be higher (it was too sweet for me). 1 inch balls gives you a batch of about 24 cookies.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 15 minutes. (About 12 minutes for 1 inch cookies)

Prepare the Caramel Filling: 
6.  Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7.  Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations.  Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you are going to use the drizzle, put waxed paper under the wire rack to catch stray chocolate.

Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle (optional): 
8.  Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top plastic bag.  Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften.  Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed. Make sure chocolate is well-kneaded, otherwise you get a constipated plastic bag.

9.  Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag.  Drizzle chocolate over your cooled Giant Turtle Cookies.

Makes about 12 2-inch cookies or 24 1-inch cookies.

No comments: