Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Well, you can all stop holding your breath - I didn't place in this weekend's Cookie and Cupcake Competition, but boy did I have a great time.
The non-cake eater that I am wrestled with even submitting a cupcake recipe, but I did it anyway. After all, I've got just as good of a chance as anyone, right? I concocted a "Hint of Lime" cupcake that was a variation on 7 up cake, with a lime cheesecake icing adorned with fresh dried lime zest. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. The cookie lover I am made an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie with Dried Cranberries - a HUGE hit!
Now, let the following scene play out so you can feel like you were at the contest with me: The contest starts at two o'clock Sunday and I decide at 12:30pm as I'm clearing away lunch dishes, that I don't like my cupcake recipe that I made the night before. So I start from scratch and bake something completely different. Have I lost my mind? Yes. The icing was already done, so I figured I could just ice the cupcakes when I got to the competition to allow them enough time to cool during the car ride there.
With literally 9 minutes before I have to walk out the door, I pop my cookies in the oven so they are nice and fresh and the chocolate chips are melted bliss for the judges. In the midst of this, I freak out and tell my husband that I am completely overwhelmed and need his help. He helps pack the car with the laundry list of items I've pulled together for my display, as well as goes to work printing out labels for my entries so people know what in the world they are looking at and tasting. I've since re-named him Saint Rob.
With no time left to spare, I speed to the competition and am precariously balancing everything in my snap 'n go stroller - who said they were just for hauling children? Here is where I basically lose the contest. I didn't realize it was first come, first serve on the tables, so I grab an empty one near the back of the room.
MISTAKE! Even with two sets of judges, after eating 25+ cookies, by the time they get to me, one of the remaining 3 contestants, they are so full of cookies they can't even see straight and have all gone into diabetic comas. Clearly next year I need to get my snap 'n go into the room a little quicker to secure a better spot - all winners came from the front part of the room when the tastebuds were fresh and hadn't succumbed to diabetic shock.
I knew I had a winning cookie, and this is how: I'm enjoying a casual conversation with my mother in law and one of my girlfriends who had also entered the contest this year, when LO AND BEHOLD, a Cookie Monster of a woman sidles up to my table - my perfectly displayed table that had been untouched by human hands and was waiting in expectation for the judges. This woman loses her presence of mind and begins taking my cookies!
I cried out in utter shock and disbelief "MA'AM!!! PUT THAT BACK! I haven't been judged yet!" She turned and gave me a confused look and without missing a beat replied, "But they were so delicious looking, I wanted one. I kept walking by and I just wanted one." I told her that she first needed to ask permission before just helping herself, and secondly, she needed to put the cookie back, as I was still waiting for the judges. She merely stood there dumbfounded, so I took the cookie off her napkin and promptly entered it back into my display. Call me a miser, but there were only a few cookies on display (they require 6 to compete) and presentation is a huge determining factor!
Wouldn't you know, of the cookies on display in my lovely silver dish, they choose the man-handled one from the crazy woman. Of course! Why would they choose anything but? I had the most perfect looking cookies displayed by hand placing the chocolate chips and dried cranberries in each blob of dough so they baked to perfection and they looked worthy of a cover shot in Southern Living. I got rave reviews of how gooey the chocolate chips were (Ya think? I only made them 5 seconds ago) and the Pastry Chef said 7 up cake was her favorite in the world. Clearly it was an overdose of sugar that made them choose others - but that's ok. I was in it to have fun and it's only fair that others have a chance in the limelight.
Once the competition was over and well deserving winners announced, I was pounced on by other contestants to eat my cookies. The oohs and ahhs made me feel like a winner, despite returning home with nothing more than a good Cookie Monster Story. I had a great time and loved seeing the innovation and creativity others poured into their work. It's an inspiration to enter again next year!
Thanks for cheering me on!