Daily Dish

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Category: L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

The top 10: Our favorite holiday cookies for 2011

Nearly 200 entries were submitted in the L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off this year, and more than 7,000 votes were cast by readers. We took the top 50 vote-getters and put them to the test this past weekend at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena.

And the results are in! Here are our 10 favorite holiday cookies from this year's Cookie Bake-Off:

  • Hungarian Isler Cookies, submitted by Monica Csaszni
  • Chocolate Raspberry Linzer Cookies, submitted by Cheryl Margolin
  • Almond Candy Cane Cookies, submitted by Kristen Johnson
  • Dulce de Leche Cookies, submitted by Zaira Angelo
  • Ronnie's Raspberry Crescents, submitted by Kim Nykanen
  • White Chocolate Turtle Cookies, submitted by Nicole Cleghorn
  • Cranberry Thumbprints, submitted by Kim Gerber
  • Ambrosia Macaroons, submitted by Tene Harris
  • Sweet Tart Oat Nut Bars, submitted by Ronna Ballister
  • Granny's Sugar Cookies, submitted by Vicki Wawerchak

We'll be inviting the readers who submitted the top 10 cookie recipes to downtown L.A. for a tour of the Test Kitchen and to be photographed in our studio. The recipes are scheduled to run in the Food section on Dec. 15.


L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off: Tasting the Top 50

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Photo: Chocolate Raspberry Linzer Cookies. Credit: Betty Hallock

A perfect 10

This fall we asked readers of the L.A. Times Food section to tell us about those recipes for our first Holiday Cookie Bake-Off, and we asked the public to help us crowd-source their favorites. More than 350 recipes were submitted online, and almost 80,000 votes were cast. We took the top 50 vote getters and tested them all. (It was a tough job....)

Here, without further delay, are our 10 favorites:

--Rene Lynch
Twitter /renelynch

Cookie fans: Sign up for the L.A. Times Food newsletter

Stop trying to bribe us with cookies.

We've been getting phone calls, e-mails, Twitter messages and more, all pleading for an early look at our top 10 favorite cookies from the first L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. Some of you have even offered to send in a batch of freshly baked holiday cookies in exchange for the recipe collection.

Now, normally you could indeed bribe me with a cookie. But not in this case. We're in the final stages of testing the cookies, and then editing the recipes to comply with L.A. Times format, and styling and shooting the final dishes in our studio. (And you thought we were just sitting around eating holiday cookies.)

The recipes will be posted online Dec. 15 and appear in print on Dec. 16. But you can also get the cookies e-mailed to your in-box if you sign up for the L.A. Times Food newsletter. Click here to do just that.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch 


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Photo credit: Peppermint pinwheel cookies by Shauna Cruz, one of the cookies that made it to the top 10. Don't ask me for the recipe! It's not ready yet. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

The results are in: Here are our favorite holiday cookies

Toque Here are the 10 favorite holiday cookies in the first-ever L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off:

Grandma Chandler's Christmas Cookies, submitted by Christy Cowell

Peppermint Pinwheels, by Shauna Cruz

Silver Bells, by Holly Hall

Sour Cherry Rugelach, by Leah Koch

Amanda's Amazing Sugar Cookies, by Amanda Rettke

Banbury Tarts, by Jacqueline Shubitowski

Nana's Russian Tea Cookies, by Jody Truitt

Bourbon Balls, by Kate Wheeler

Keeflees, by Michelle Yockey

The Ultimate Wedding Cookie, by Bonnie Zanardi

Congratulations to all.

When we first announced the bake-off earlier this year, we had no idea what to expect. Given our production deadlines and the testing schedule, we had to put a Nov. 15 deadline on the contest. Some worried that it was too early -- that it didn't give readers enough time to get into the holiday cookie spirit.

We worried for nothing.

In the end, more than 350 cookie recipes were submitted for a reader vote, and more than 79,000 votes were cast. We took the 50 favorite recipes as determined by the public vote, and put them to the test Saturday at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena. There, student bakers prepared the top 50 vote-getters. And L.A. Times Food editor Russ Parsons, deputy editor Betty Hallock and test kitchen manager Noelle Carter joined Lachlan Sands, dean of Cordon Bleu, Rebecca Marrs, director of career services at Cordon Bleu, and Porsche Reid, a student, and taste-tested their way to their 10 favorite holiday cookies.

Recipes for the 10 will be posted online Dec. 15 and published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Times Food section.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Chef Lachlan Sands, left, dean of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles, and Rebecca Marrs, director of career services, judge cookies for the L.A.Times Holiday Cookie Bake-off. The entries were judged on texture, flavor, richness, visual appeal and holiday spirit. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off: Round 1 results

The results are in: Over 79,000 votes were cast online in the first-ever L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. In all, we had 353 submissions. You'll find the top 50 vote-getters listed below, in alphabetical order. (Note that some people submitted more than one cookie recipe.)

So, what's next?

Continue reading »

Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off -- enter now, or else

Today's the deadline. You've got just a few more hours to enter your favorite holiday cookie in the first ever L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. We have more than 300 entries so far, including this recipe for Italian thumbprint cookies with apricot jam and honey from Amelia Schaffner of the food blog, Z Tasty Life. She's also on Twitter @ztastylife.

Schaffner says these cookies -- filled with apricot jam and honey, and then dusted with confectioners' sugar -- hold a secret. She also says: "They are perfect for the holidays: The dusting of powder sugar is reminiscent of snow and the shiny center is perfect for a golden table. You can imagine the wonder of the kids at Christmas time biting into these melting 'moments.' "

Thanks for sharing your recipe, Amelia.

Even if you're not submitting a recipe to the contest, you can still vote for your favorite cookies. The top cookies will be published in the L.A. Times Food section later this year.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter /renelynch

Photo: Amelia Schaffner

More than 225 cookies submitted in the L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-off

But where's your holiday cookie recipe?

You have until Nov. 15 to submit your favorite holiday cookie recipe to the first-ever L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. (Voting is already underway.) Winners will see their recipes printed in an upcoming L.A. Times Food section this holiday season.

So far, we have more than 225 cookie recipes submitted, including Tuesday's featured cookie: Amazing Sugar Cookies and Icing by Amanda Rettke of the blog I Am Baker. You can also follow her on Twitter @manda2177

Amanda says this recipe is special because:

"...it changed how I perceived myself in the kitchen. I am not a great cook and am still a beginning baker, but this recipe is one of those magical concoctions that can transform even the most horrific of wannabe chefs....every year we make these cookies and donate them to local law enforcement and church bakes sales, hoping that they will bring the same joy and delight to the receiver as they do the creator.

"I cant say we wouldn't find ways to enjoy our Holiday season without the recipe, but the insatiable joy it brings to everyone who sees and samples it is addictive to say the least!"

Thank you for sharing your recipe, Amanda.

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Amanda Rettke

L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off: Chocolate Cherry Ganache Cookies

Sippity Did you vote? No, not in that lil' 'ol election to decide the fate of our country. I'm talking about the really important election: the L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off.

You have until Nov. 15 to submit your favorite holiday recipe. Details here. But the voting is going on now. (In a nod to Chicago-style politics, you are allowed to vote up to 10 times a day, every day. Which means you shouldn't feel shy about voting for your own cookie, as well as someone else's.)

Wednesday's featured recipe is for Chocolate Cherry Ganache Cookies and comes to us from Greg Henry, who is better known in the online world for his Los Angeles-based food blog, Sippity Sup, and is on Twitter @sippitysup. So check out his blog, follow him on Twitter, submit your cookie recipe and VOTE! And vote. And vote ...

Greg says he likes these cookies because:

Well, these cookies are all about chocolate. They are made with chocolate ganache in the dough, making them rich and moist. I have seen versions of this cookie in quite a few places. All with different add-ins. I like cherry and Amaretto ...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, Greg.

--Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Greg Henry

Welcome to the L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off

Holiday_cookies300 What's your favorite holiday cookie recipe? And what makes it so special? Why does your family love it so? And would you be willing to share that with the rest of us?

Welcome to the first-ever L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. From now until Nov. 15, we welcome you to upload that recipe  -- and the story behind it -- to our database. We'd love a photo too!

Here's how the contest works: Readers will vote online for their favorite cookies. Go ahead -- vote for your own cookie, and ask your family and friends to cast their ballots in your favor too. From there, we're enlisting some pastry-chefs-in-training at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena to test the top vote-getters and help winnow them down to the 10 favorites.

We'll fete the winners in a style becoming a foodie: You'll come down to the L.A. Times Test Kitchen for photos and a tour. And we'll publish those recipes in the L.A. Times Food section in December.

Don't worry if your cookie isn't an original work of art. If your family's favorite cookie comes from Martha Stewart Living, no problem. We just ask that you do your best to give credit where credit is due. (And if you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite cookies from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.)

Most important, we want to know why it just wouldn't be a joyous holiday season in your household without your favorite cookie.

For you social-media hounds, join us on Twitter to chat about our favorite cookies: #LATcookies.

And let me be one of the first to say: Happy holidays!

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Read the story behind these holiday cookies -- the ones Times staff writer Mary MacVean's mother made for her -- by clicking here. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times


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