And the Winner Is….

New York Chef Eric Ripert and cookbook author Cindy Mushet complete their task of eating 26 different cookies.

There are far worse ways to spend a Saturday morning than judging dozens of cookies with the likes of Eric Ripert, executive chef of New York’s four-star Le Bernardin; Dominique Crenn, executive chef of Luce in the Intercontinental San Francisco; Cindy Mushet, author of the Sur La Table cookbook, “The Art & Soul of Baking”; and Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef of Farallon, Waterbar and Epic Roadhouse restaurants, all in San Francisco.

In fact, I can’t think of when I’ve had quite so much fun so early in the day.

The five of us braved sugar shock to help judge the 13th annual “Holiday Cookie Exchange” contest that aired live this past Saturday on “Dining Around with Gene Burns” (KGO Radio AM810).

First place to Swedish Pepparkakor.

The contest received a record number of entries. Burns, himself, spent a grueling 13 hours whittling down the 500 entries to a mere 26 finalists.

Even so, you just try tasting 26 cookies in one sitting. It was a tough job, but we five were up to the challenge.

Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti, and Chef Dominique Crenn can't believe they ate so many cookies.

In the end, we chose these four winners:

First place: Swedish Pepparkakor (ginger cookies). Thin, crisp, and with the bite of ginger. They tasted like Christmas.

Second place: Truffle cookies. A chocoholic lover’s delight. As intensely chocolate-y as a truffle candy.

Third place: Snow pies. Chocolate crinkle cookies turned into sandwiches with a filling of mint-flavored marshmallow cream.

Special prize (for originality): White Russian cookie cups. Vodka and Kahlua in a cookie? You betcha. Tiny, amuse bouche-sized treats with an Oreo cookie base and a dollop of boozy, creamy mousse.

Third-place winner: Snow pies.

Winners received prizes including cookware and weekend get-away packages.

The judges? Why, our gift was having the best job of all — eating our fill of cookies without having to lift a finger to bake any ourselves.

Find all 26 recipes here. And for those who missed the broadcast, you can take a listen or download a podcast for hour one, hour two, and hour three.

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  • I bet you don’t want to see another cookie for a while? 🙂 Sounds like a great time for a Saturday morning.

  • re: “I bet you don’t want to see another cookie for a while?”

    Heh, you don’t know Carolyn! I’ll bet we see another cookie story before the end of the week. 😀

  • Those snow pies look and sound like they’d win in our book. But we don’t discriminate against yummy cookies, so we’d give them all a good try! 🙂

  • Gawd, it’s frightening how well Moe knows me, and we’ve never even met! Do I dare admit this: OK, I was totally cookie’d out on Saturday afternoon, so much so that when I got home, I had to have some salami (for the salt!), and a tangerine (to cleanse my palate).

    But I confess that on Sunday, I made a batch of brown butter toffee blondies,, and yes, I ate one. Gulp. So yes, my cookie overload lasted all of 24 hours. Oh, the shame, the shame!

  • Man, the truffle cookies and white Russian cookie cups sound REALLY, REALLY good.

  • Can’t wait to try these. I asked Doc what he wanted for birthday, mac n cheese and chocolate chip cookies. How easy is this man to please?! I’m totally not worthy!

    So that’s what he got and he was happy.

    We’ll try adding a few of these to the repertoire. Thanks for all that hard field work on our behalf!

  • Oooh, sounds like so much fun. What was Eric Ripert like? I’ve always wanted to meet him and just see if I can understand his accent. Those white russian cookies are right up my alley! Sweets with alcohol, I’m all over that!

  • Eric is extremely charming and down to earth. He’s got a great sense of humor, too. When I told him my fave episode of Tony Bourdain’s show was when he, Tony, writer Michael Ruhlman, and NY Chef Scott Bryan went to the French Laundry for dinner, Eric immediately laughed. He said, “Oh my gawd, we were so wasted at the end of that night.” 😉

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