WHITE MOUNTAINS – If you are one of the White Mountain community members who has repeatedly asked, “What happened to the Believe Cookie Bakeoff?” this year you do not have to ask that question. The Arts Alliance of the White Mountains is picking up where the Believe show left off. They will be hosting a similar event from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
Once again, the best cookie baker on the Mountain is being sought to hold the coveted title for the next year, and it could be you.
Like the Believe radio show’s Cookie Bakeoff, which my friend Cheryl Ford and I hosted at White Mountain Radio for six years, AAWM ‘s goal is to offer the community an event they can look forward to every year and to shine the spotlight on buying local from vendor artisans. AAWM has an additional reason for putting on the event and that is to ensure the community knows there is an art gallery and an gift shop at The Center for the Arts.
There will be 18 vendor tables for shopping, all local. With the event taking place on Sunday afternoon, knowing that many have gone to church and might be hungry for real food before tasting cookies, Persnikkity’s Twisted Lunchbox will be on-site serving some of their scrumptious food.
To spice up your purchasing power, somewhat like Black Friday, the first 10 purchases from the art gallery or gift shop of $50 or more will each receive a $10 gift certificate from JC Penney.
The talented Brad Solomon from Snowflake will entertain attendees with Christmas piano music throughout the afternoon, and everyone is invited to sing along at any time if they should be so inclined. AAWM’s Native Flute Circle will also be on hand to share some of their music with a special accent on Christmas.
Santa Claus will take leave from his duties at Santa’s White Mountain Adventure this year just to be available for photographs with you and yours. The photos will be taken by two award-winning local photographers, Gail Hofstad and Bob Martinson, purely on a donation basis for AAWM. Photos will be emailed to the recipients for their personal distribution.
Door prizes will be drawn throughout the event as people shop and peruse the art gallery and gift shop. Judges for the cookie bakeoff are Nikki Rose from Persnikkity’s, Karen Selph from Karen’s Cafe and Mina Henning of Hushhh Bakeshop. Each of the judges have offered a $25 gift certificates to be included with the drawings, along with gift subscriptions from The Maverick Magazine. Each adult will will receive a ticket upon entry for the drawings and must be present to win.
The cookie competition is limited to the first 25 entries. There is no entry fee but each person is required to register online at www.aawmcenterforthearts.com or in person at The Center for the Arts, 251 Penrod Rd., Show Low. The Center is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cookie recipe is required on the entry form and will be part of the cookie recipe booklet produced and sold by AAWM. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m, December 3. Entries accepted will receive a confirmation for their entry along with their entry number for judging. Four dozen cookies must be delivered to The Center for the Arts between 3 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 for judging. Again, presentation and taste are the only two criteria considered by the judges.
In previous years, Believe cookie bakers went all out. Some of the themes around the cookies were extraordinary. Katrina Pint and her grandmother Dorothy Schlie were the first winners in 2007 with their Orange Cream Puffs; 2008 and 2009 was Peggy Kakavas with her Triple Layer Cookies and her Cappuccino Brownie Cookie; 2010 Noreen Hart Keeler won with her Raspberry Reindeer Prints; 2011 Donna Miller wowed everyone with her Chocolate Coconut Macaroons and the last event of 2012 was won by Deb Moseman with her Orange Truffle Cookies. There was such a variety and the second and third places and the People’s Choice Award for those years were equally incredible edibles.
It may or may not be enough to wear the Best Cookie Baker on the Mountain title alone, so there are prizes and AAWM has decided to let the first place winner get first pick of the prizes. The prizes include a two-day stay in a two bedroom 5-star vacation property from Cool Mountain Vacations – dates are subject to availability and holidays are excluded – a $600 value; a Family Pass (2 adults/2 children) to Santa’s White Mountain Adventure, a value of $160; a certificate to one of Blue Apron Cooking School’s 2019 classes, a $100 value and a stainless steel cookware set from JC Penney, valued at $40.
Many of the same people who were involved in White Mountain Radio’s Believe Cookie Bakeoff are also involved in this event. When Cheryl Ford, who shared the planning and production of the event with me each year, learned a bakeoff was in the works, she was thrilled. “It was always so much fun to develop new ideas with Barbara, and the cookie bakeoff was certainly one of our sweeter endeavors. It was gratifying to see it grow from that first small contest at Torreon to a much anticipated holiday event that packed the house at Pizzeria Venti. I am really happy to see the Christmas Cookie Bakeoff return and the Arts Alliance is the perfect venue.”
Amy Brown from Pizzeria Venti is also involved. Amy is a pro at positioning the displays for the judges and the attendees. Tyrell Wiltbank of Hushhh Bakeshop, also a display expert, will be working with Amy on display.
So, now it is up to you, the countdown has begun. Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, head to your recipe box and pull out your best cookie recipe and bake – four dozen of your best cookies. One dozen is for the judges and three dozen for sampling so the public can tell us what they think.
The event is sponsored by The Maverick Magazine, Rewind 107.9, White Mountain Coffee News and the White Mountain Independent.
AAWM Center for the Arts is a non profit 501 ©(3). Their mission is “to establish the White Mountain region as a recognized Arts Experience Community within our state and to build interest in and support of all the arts.”