[If you need to, you can catch up on Part One here]
All of the bakers descended on our friend's house on Sunday evening. Another great part of this tradition is that she feeds us a fantastic dinner of spaghetti and homemade meatballs, sausage and gravy. And yes, I said gravy...I am 1/4 Italian after all. To thank her for being a hostess with the mostess, I made her a Pittsburgh Steelers wreath (sorry for the poor quality blackberry photo!)
After dinner is done and the dishes have been cleared...it's cookie time. Our hostess makes a little recipe book of everyone's entries that year and gives us baggies to start doling out our goodies to everyone around the table. We also make a "sampling plate" in the center that everyone taste tests from. After each of us has sampled each of the entries, we rank our favorites 1-2-3 and the hostess leaves the room to tabulate the votes.
While we were assured this year's voting was extremely close (and I would be inclined to believe her, everyone really stepped up their game this year!) the winner was the Coconut Macaroon. And the winning baker was absolutely thrilled -- her face was pretty priceless. She has truly come a long way from her early entries of bringing a cake the first year (I wasn't there but was told she didn't really "get" the whole cookie exchange concept the first go-round) to another year where she entered cookies so burnt on the bottom that I think we wondered why we even taking a little baggie of them home with us.
But I am not going to lie....I really wanted to win. I have even forced people to taste test all the cookies that I brought home with me and tell me their honest opinions. Well, I don't know how honest they are being to my face, but you get the picture. I can't let it go! So Just as in previous years, I will continue to keep my eye out for that perfect cookie recipe...the one that I can tuck away until next year that will be the 1st place winner. But the losing doesn't sting so much when you get to have a wonderful evening catching up and laughing with friends, eating a delicious dinner, drinking wine, and bringing home more cookies than anyone should keep in the house at one given time. A huge THANK YOU to our hostess for putting this together every year. And thank you to everyone who takes time out of their busy schedules to not only show up, but to put some time and thought into their baking creations and keep the competition stiff. Love all you ladies and hope we can keep this tradition going for years to come!
Other random notes from Cookie Throwdown 2010:
• Two words for next year – scoring cards. Hostess, don’t you worry about this one, I will take care of it for next year. But we need to start tallying by points in categories I think. This ain’t our first time at the rodeo anymore so I think we need to get more sophisticated in our voting.
• Another word for next year - trophy....we need one. I am thinking a golden spatula might be pretty darn spiffy.
• Everyone seriously brought their A game this year...some really impressive baking done by all.
• Was very excited to have a first-timer in the mix who moved back to the East COast this year. Her debut at the cookie party was impressive to say the least.
• I may be a little biased...but my friends have some of the cutest (and happiest!) kids I have ever seen.
• Best conoslation prize for not winning? A high five from my friend's son.
For those out there participating in your own cookie exchanges this weekend Good Luck & Happy Baking! And should you want to share your winning recipes with me....well I can't say I would be opposed to that.