Blog: Cookie Takedown 2012
Brooklyn’s own Santa Claus, Matt Timms descended upon the Bell House on a chilly and rainy Sunday afternoon. Yet inside the sprawling venue, the vibe was warm and all about the holiday season. Yes folks, the “Cookie Takedown” has returned! This sweet “Takedown” pits dozens of inventive home cooks against each other to truly see who can create the most unique and of course deliciously baked pastry. As the clock counted down to start time all of the wide eyed participants filed into the main room with trays overloaded with these delectable confections. Each home cook had a dynamic personality on display just like the cookies they came to compete with, making this unlike any cooking competition around. The LocalBozo.com crew was happy to be on hand for this completely sold out event which perfectly got us into the spirit of the season.
Shortly after 2pm, Timms hit the microphone alerting the doormen to let the hungry crowd inside. And like clockwork, Timms made his trademark funny yet informative announcements about how each of the ticket holders should move down the line in order to make sure everyone is getting food. I don’t care how many of these events I attend, this never gets old. All at once both guests and home cooks donned gigantic smiles upon their faces as they began to interact together. The cooks/bakers were able to recite their recipe and pitch to each guest like they had been trained by the best Public Relations people in the business. This extroverted act only helped them in a contest that demands cookie creators be outgoing. But before we would load up our plates with decadent biscuits (British cookie) it was time to wet our whistles. Both of the Bell House’s bars were flowing with great booze as per usual. Yet during the holiday season one has to up their game when it comes to midday imbibing. Fortunately, one of the main sponsors was the ever popular Bulleit Bourbon. And what better way to use this killer liquor then to add it to creamy eggnog for a outstanding spiked treat. Every guest was given one of these perfectly mixed drinks free of charge with the price of admission. The Christmasy cocktail was like a liquid comfortable sweater while you sit by the fire. Later in the afternoon I would even see event-goers dunking their cookies into the drink.
With boozy drink in hand and with a nose getting rosy like Rudolph’s, it was time to take down some cookies! Our first stop was literally impossible to miss for one reason alone- women wearing fake mustaches. “Jamie’s Sweet Stache” featured a team of two sisters both donning comedically fake mustaches. They were full of energy and simply psyched to be there. When it came to their cookie entry however, it was all business. Jamie came with an oatmeal butterscotch cookie, which lived up to it’s dual flavor title. The next cookie purveyor was mere steps away and a friend of this site. Susan of “The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen” came to the Takedown with what I would call one of the most ambitious creations of the day. From scratch Susan brought to life her very own version of the highly popular gourmet macaroon. Four flavors were on hand for judging consideration and of course tasting. Our crew opted for and ultimately loved the chocolate mint and homemade Nutella variety. These two samplings were perfectly sweet, and exactly the way to launch into an afternoon of having dessert way before dinner.
Sure cookies are known to be sweet, but this is the Takedown and there are no rules, man! The sky is far from the limit when it came to some of these baked taste sensations. A prime example of this anything goes attitude came from the ladies at the “Drunk Chocolate Pigs” table. The women with the humorous title came with a cookie loaded with, get this: bacon, maple and bourbon! This is the type of cookie where you need to sit down on the couch and take a breather after having a few. Moments later with a tall boy beer in hand it was back to hitting some of the more wilder creations. And what a better place to end up then with the team from “Miso Awesome Cookies.” The “Miso” crew came full force with a chunky cookie loaded with salty and slightly spicy wasabi peas. That addition was a serious first for this writer. The steady crowd of happy and full guests continued to sample these treats and chat with their respective creators. And with plenty of metal on the stereo and a constant flow a beer you really had a party on your hands. But like everything awesome, it eventually has to come to an end, for now that is.
Timms took to the microphone yet again to make sure everyone had voted for their favorite cookies. And trust me it was hard to choose. The selections I’ve listed in this space were seriously only a tip of the iceberg of the highly creative and delicious baked goods we sampled throughout the entire afternoon. Everyone who participated is a winner for simply putting forth the effort. With all the votes counted each of the home cooks joined Matt Timms and the judges on stage to introduce themselves as per a fantastic ritual for all these Takedowns. The judges announced two of their selections first. And in a funny twist, both choices had marshmallow like ingredients in common – a cookie called the “Fluffer Nutjob” and a divine take on the popular campfire treat the s’more. Yet in the end the people get the final say. Third place would go to the ladies of “Drunk Chocolate Pigs” (Contestant 16), 2nd place to the home cooks of the sweet and salty chocolate chip snowflakes (Contestant 12) and the crowning of 1st went to “The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen’s” killer and stunningly beautiful macaroons. Everyone who won took home a few choice pieces of kitchen gear to keep up the good work. But in the end material items are no match for the adoration of ones peers. Matt Timms knows this well, and his Takedowns continue to grow in popularity and at the same time becoming the measuring tool for what makes a truly well-rounded cook.
- Jay Rubin