By EMILY SPARACINO | Editor-in-chief
VACUUM – Almost 40 children competed for top honors at the second annual holiday event at a local baking school.
While preparing the Itty Bitty Bakers 2021 Children’s Christmas Cookies on Sunday, December 19, young contestants brought their homemade cookies to a panel of judges, who were tasked with nominating the winners in the categories for the best wholemeal cookie, most festive cookie, Best tasting cookie and the most unique cookie.
The judgment took place outside the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce office, on the interior patio overlooking the Riverchase Galleria food court.
Once again, the contestants impressed the judges with their creativity and mastery of the concepts of baking and decorating cookies.
“In 2020, we had our very first Christmas Cookie Bake Off, and it was so much fun,” said Jessica Hamby, founder of Itty Bitty Bakers. “Many parents have told us that it is the highlight of Christmas for their children.”
The 2021 winners were:
- Best Multipurpose Cookie (Wooden Spoon Award) – Emma Cooley, Emma’s Deck the Doodles
- Most Festive Cookie – Ruthie McKinney, The Peppermint Party Cookie
- Best Tasting Cookie – Charlotte Guess, Caramel Gingerbread Cookies
- Most Unique Cookie – Desi McCain, Snow Cookies
The finalists in each category were:
- Best Versatile Cookie – Ruthie McKinney, First Finalist for The Peppermint Party Cookie, and Desi McCain, Second Finalist for Snow Cookies
- Most Festive Cookie – Vincent Chiu, first finalist for Melted Snowman Cookies; Evie Schrock, second finalist for Cookies for Santa; and Ellie Harris, third runner-up of Santa Madeleine Cookies
- Best Tasting Cookie – Camellia Bradford, First Finalist for Peppermint Blast Cookies; Desi McCain, second finalist for White Chocolate Chip Snow Cookies; and Emma Cooley, third finalist for Snickerdoodle Cookies with Royal Icing / Emma’s Deck the Doodles
- Most Unique Cookie – Charlotte Guess, # 1 Caramel Ginger Cookie; Oliver Mims, second for Hot Cocoa in the Snow; and Abby Harris, third finalist for Oatmeal Cream Pie Christmas Tree Cookies
The idea of baking is for kids to pull out old cookbooks, consult cookbooks from the library, and talk to older family members about their favorite cookie recipes.
Children are also encouraged to work with parents on purchasing ingredients and the kitchen cleaning process.
At the event, each child had the opportunity to practice their public speaking skills by presenting their cookies to the judges.
Once all the cookies were presented, the judges performed a taste test before determining the winners.
This year’s judges included:
- Ramsey Nuss (Pursell) of Good Neighbor Baking. Self-taught bakery, Nuss started her home baking business in early 2019 and is best known for their miniature cookie sandwiches and detailed cookie cakes.
- Ashley Brown of Ashley’s Famous Cookies. Brown started baking cookies to satisfy his sweet tooth after having his first son in 2016. Ashley’s Famous Cookies formed in 2018 and has grown as an online cookie business significantly since then.
- Adam Hickman of Foxhound Bee Company. Prior to running his beekeeping supply business full time in Birmingham, Hickman was a recipe developer for several of the nation’s top food brands.
Each winner received a $ 50 Itty Bitty Bakers credit to use on any course, camp or merchandise.
For more information on Itty Bitty Bakers, visit Ittybittybakers.com.