Bake the Season Merry with Winning Cookies from Baking Champs

Posted: Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's a sweet time when baking enthusiasts gather to celebrate the win of championship cookie bakers. On Saturday, Bluffton's Harry & David store was the venue for awards presented to first place winners and finalists of the 2010 Bluffton Today Holiday Cookie Contest. Courtesy Harry & David, first place winners in the three cookie categories of shaped, molded rolled, refrigerator and no-bake cookies, bar cookies and drop cookies, received a gourmet food basket and finalists, a congratulatory ribbon and cookie cutter. Although this year's event competed with the Bluffton Christmas Parade, first place bar cookie winner, Valerie Best, was able to attend, with husband, Jason, and children, Collin (7), Laura Grace (5) and Jonathan ( 3) cheering Best's win for "Sugar N' Spice Pumpkin Praline Bars" and "Coastal Christmas Cookies," a drop cookie runner-up. Contest winner, Charlotte Ward, was there, too, garnering the runner-up bar cookie spot for "Christmas Jewel Cookies." With Charlotte's husband, Lew, looking on, Charlotte was also recognized for years of cookie wins, one for every year since the competition began in 2006. Other cookie bakers are on top again, too, with first place drop cookie winner Cris Richardson's "Orange-Walnut Delights" backing up her 2007 first place win in the bar cookie category, as well as wins in 2008, for a first place drop cookie and a second place shaped cookie. Tracey Nadeau wins as runner-up for the second year in a row in the shaped category with "Bleu Cheese and Dried Cranberry Cocktail Cookies," the competition's first and only savory cookie entry. Lois Willig and Caroline Kennedy are also multiple winners. Finishing as finalist in the bar cookie category in 2008, Kennedy scored once more as finalist in this year's competition with shaped "Mocha Pecan Balls." Lois Willig, a first place winner in 2006 for a bar cookie and again, in 2007, for a drop cookie, placed this year as finalist in the bar cookie category for "Candy Bar Bar Cookies."

Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
Bluffton Harry & David store manager, Lainey Smith, pictured center, presents a gourmet food basket to Valerie Best (right) of Bluffton, for "Sugar 'N Spice Pumpkin Praline Bars," the first place winning bar cookie in Bluffton Today's Holiday Cookie Contest. In addition, Best won a congratulatory ribbon and cookie cutter to honor her recipe for "Christmas Coastal Cookies," the runner-up in the drop cookie category. Hilton Head Island's Charlotte Ward (left), who came in second in the bar cookie category for "Christmas Jewel Cookies," also was presented with a congratulatory ribbon and cookie cutter, as well as a gift, to help celebrate Ward's having won or placed in every cookie contest since the beginning of the competition in 2006.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at

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