Annual Christmas Dessert Contest

Christmas Dessert Contest on

   The dessert contest is over now and these were the winners.  First place, was obviously, Sophia!  She was so excited over her win and got to choose which wrapped prize she wanted.

 1st Place Winner on My Humble Home and Gaarden

   She did not go for the big present.  Instead, she chose the smallest, which was a set of cookie cutters.  It included a set of stamps with different designs on them to use with the cookie cutters.

   For the cookie recipe, click here ► Vanilla Bean Cookies

  2nd Place Winner on My Humble Home and Garden

  Second place went to Emily and Jon-Michael, with their Santa Oreo cake balls.  I think they did an amazing job.  They have not had a lot of experience and learned a lot in the process.  Have you made cake balls?  I have and they are not the easiest to make!

   Emily and Jon-Michael chose the decorating tube and tips set as their prize.


  Third place went to Aidan and his mother, Tiffany.  They struggled with their dessert idea.

    You can see the Santa on the pretzel was adorable, but the frosting was not holding its shape.  

   Probably the candy melts would have worked better for them with royal icing decorations, but isn’t this adorable?  

    I love the little decorator balls on his beard!  Great idea!

   3rd Place Winner on My Humble Home and Garden

   In frustration and out of time, they went for the taste and forgot the theme!   Aidan ended up with a Christmas tree and Gingerbread cupcake mold pan as his prize.

Christmas Dessert Contest 2013

December 24, 2013


   My family always gets together on Christmas Eve and we exchange gifts and celebrate the season.  With grown children, there is always a scheduling problem, so we have an open house that day and serve an unending plethora of appetizers.

  A few years ago, we started a holiday tradition of having a dessert contest, featuring mini desserts.  We have a theme each year, and this year it was Holly.  It is great fun to see what each of the kids comes up with to represent the specified theme.

   With my son Jon-Michael’s help, I created a scoring paper for all of the desserts.  Each dessert is given a number and each is judged on a scale from 1 – 10.  Everyone is a judge, tastes the desserts and scores each one.

    It is really all done in fun and the grandkids sometimes give a score of 10,000 or more to their favorite.  I give prizes for the top three, which are usually mini dessert dishes, cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc. 

  The recipe below has the white chocolate frosting, which I usually use for these cookies, however, Sophia and I used an icing recipe from ‘‘,  and the recipe is below her cookie picture on the right.

 We also got the idea for the cookies there.  Yes, Sophia, who is 6 years old, has a little different interpretation!

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

1 vanilla bean

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

  **For frosting:

1 pkg. (12-ounce) white chocolate chips


   Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Carefully scrape out seeds, using a small sharp knife.  Set seeds aside.


  Beat butter in a large mixing bowl at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla bean seeds, beating until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla extract, mixing well.

   Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until smooth.  Shape dough into two discs.  Wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour.


  Roll each disc to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Cut with cookie cutters  Place on lightly greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks and cool. 

** Combine 1/3 cup white chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon shortening in a 1 cup glass measure.  Melt chocolate chips according to package directions.

  Place cookies on a wire rack over wax paper.  Spread white chocolate mixture over each cookie.  Sprinkle cookies with glitter and sparkling sugar if desired.

Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
assorted food coloring
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

NOTE: Other extract flavors can be used in place of almond extract if desired, i.e. orange, mint, lemon…

Mix the powdered sugar and milk until no longer lumpy. Add the corn syrup and extract and beat until smooth. If the icing is too thick, beat in some more corn syrup until desired consistency (not so thick that it can’t be spread, but not so thin that it flows over the sides of the cookie).

Separate the white icing into different bowls and add the different food colors to each bowl. Be sure to keep the other bowls covered when not in use or else the icing will begin to dry.


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