With enormous thanks to sponsor Mrs. G‘s and host Glenmoore Farm, our contestants, judges, and volunteers, we can report that the 8th annual MercerMe Cut-Throat Cookie Exchange was held Saturday night with a minimum of bloodshed, a lot of laughter, and some really great cookies.
Anne Nixon and Mike Ellery hosted the yearly gathering at the Glenmore Farm which featured 18 local bakers. We can’t say enough about the generosity of the Ellerys who offer their space, their warmth, their judging skills, their cat, and even their alcohol. Anne and Mike are the best and if you want to host an event in a really cool venue, check them out here.
Mrs. G was a new sponsor this year and sent two great employees to act as judges: Andrea Churner, Mrs. G’s Customer Experience Director, and Matt Poslusny, an appliance expert at Mrs. G’s and food expert on the side. Thanks to Mrs. G, Andrea, and Matt for providing the prizes that our contestants so richly deserved.
Rounding out the judging staff were Kurt and Sheila Reynartson, Cut-Throat Cookie Competition stalwarts, and Donald Ade, husband of Renata Barnes, who has not missed a year judging (bless you, Donald!). We also want to express great thanks to volunteers Anita Williams, Lillie Rukenstein, and Chris Lott who kept the cookie train running – displaying the entries, setting them up and delivering to the judges, packing everyone’s portions, and being all around sunshine.
Now to the contestants: this year we were finally able to get Angela Ratliff to make good on seven years of
threats promises to enter. Her Hause freunde, a nod to her German ancestry and featuring layers of almond and chocolate was this writer’s #1 favorite cookie. Another of our favorites was last year’s winner, Sarah Ohls’ Chocolate covered strawberry cookie, which burst with strawberry flavor.
In another ode to ancestry and roots, first time entrant Johanna Mora celebrated her homeland of Costa Rica with a cookie called Costa Rican Sunshine. Even though she was a newbie, Johanna struck exactly the right attitude as her trash talk commenced as soon as she came through the door – she made us laugh!
One thing to note is that many of this year’s offering highlighted some amazing details, from the intricacies of pattern in overall shape to the attention to details that adorned the cookies. Interestingly, two winning entries featured an underutilized cookie ingredient: cornmeal! Cynthia O’Connor’s Ukrainian Hanukah cookie reminded us of the value of community and how much we really do need each other and how quickly things can change.
Of course the cookie exchange isn’t only fun and games – our bakers and our sponsors have given generously to charity, most recently, we sent more than $1,200 to Rolling Harvest, which connects farmers to people experiencing food insecurity.
And without further ado, the winners are:
Name Cookie Award Catherine Cahill Cranberry Orange Buttercream Macaron Winner Katie Stevens Chocolate Snowflake with Salted Mocha Cream Runner Up Terri McDonagh Blackberry basil corn meal wreath Most original Hanna McCollum 3C Tango Best Tasting Monica Mesa Cardamom Petal Delight Best appearance
For lots more photos, see the gallery below ( a couple of the cookies aren’t pictured because they came in after the photographer became involved in writing the trivia questions she forgot to bring with her!) Double click on photos to get captions.
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