Cookiepalooza 2013: #CookieSwapNYC & #CookieTakedown

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies. That's the gist of my weekend. Which was a very nice and blessed one indeed to be able to say, "I had too much sugar." Things started post-work Friday evening with me making over 100 toasted coconut and lime shortbread cookies as my entry for the Cookie Takedown on Sunday, which also happened on Saturday being split into 2 days instead of lumped into one. (Hope everyone had fun on Saturday!)

On Saturday morn I took about a dozen of my cookies from the 100+ batch to The Coffee Foundry in Greenwich Village where there were cookies, bars, and a nice display of Zugar Haus boxes. We set up our cookies along the bar (with labels) and ordered drinks from the great staff at the Foundry for cappuccinos with designs, tea, or even hot chocolate with co-sponsor Divine Chocolates. Along the bar were samples of Divine Chocolates mint chocolate or chocolate with ginger inside for all to taste and some cheese, multigrain crisps, and grapes to set off a bit of the savory vibe.

And then, we got to cookie eating and chatting and more cookie eating.

Kristin and Brittany with City Harvest told us more about how we can help with volunteer opportunities. One-third of the proceeds from each ticket sold went to City Harvest, a great food bank in NYC that provides food to the hungry. And if you tweet using the hashtag #feedourpeople $5 gets donated to City Harvest. So get to tweeting y'all!

I didn't load up on sweets since I had Cookie Takedown the next day but very much enjoyed what I did have such as Jennifer McHenry's bourbon cheesecake brownies made with, yup, Divine Chocolate. Hazel Sy's French macarons were a nice treat as was my introduction to Kouign Amann by Take The Toyz. There was an array of items from gluten-free, to chocolate filled, to zesty, and whoopie, and bar based. So delicious. So comforting for a chilly and windy Saturday morning transitioning into afternoon, and so many wonderful people. Sweets for a cause? I'm in for that every year.

Big, huge, ginormous thanks Divine Chocolate and Zugar Haus for being sponsors of this event and for providing goodies to attendees/donators. Look out for this event again next year right around the holidays by following organizer, foodie, and cool peep Lillian Huang.

Sooo, there was more baking on Saturday evening and then we rested in time for...the Takedown Sunday Edition. I had over 200 cookies, less than the almost 300 I made last year and I was feeling good about how many I made. The fact that they were small in size (thanks to a shot glass used as a cookie cutter) and getting to The Bell House 45 minutes before showtime snagging one of the front tables for me and my gal Angela of Mind Over Batter. After setting up was done I got some pics (and tastes) of some of the other entrants. I saw that I was one of the few if only one who's cookie was citrus based. There were many, many chocolate cookies this time around either with chocolate chips or chocolate based with bourbon or whiskey infused (or mixed) into batters, cookies, and yes even low-fat milk! There were a couple bacon entries and peanut butter was a fave this year as well. My neighbors who had The Last Call Choco Taco had orange zest in their cream but that was it I had the lone citrus cookie that, as Angela deemed it, could serve as a palate cleanser after all those sweets! I got a good amount of compliments on my cookie for it being different and smelling wonderfully like lime. Thanks y'all! And it was so nice to get support from fellow Takedowner Daisy Bow who had won at this year's Ice Cream Takedown and placed in the Bacon Takedown and others who had been entrants in the Ice Cream Takedown. Yay, Takedowner support!

So, as the lines wound around The Bell House and we're an hour in I realize, I'm running out of cookies! I made about 250 (or more) and brought 220+ with me and I was steadily losing ground. A few people around me were also running out of cookies. On the one hand it's good because it's less to take home but bad because you want everyone to taste your cookie! We got through many lines and I found I had 2 cookies left and those, over a course of minutes, were plucked away. And then I had nada. Last year I made about 300 and had a crapload left. This year I make over 200 and run out. Guess there's no winning when it comes to the numbers game but glad people seemed to enjoy my cookies.

Did I win? Nope. Did I place? Nope. Was it a lot of work to make 200+ cookies and test my recipe? Hell to the yeah. Did I have a fun time and get some great cookies, meet nice people, have eggnog, hang with my foodie friends and such? Yes on all counts. Would I do it again? Sure, why not? It's fun to see the variety of cookies that come through and what people, and the judges, like. Matt Timms is a fantastic host for the Takedowns because he appreciates everyone who enters and participates. Once all the work is done it's a really fun time with great people. I was glad to see Emily Hanhan of Nomnivorous place as one of the judge's Top 3 for her Ugly Betties (chocolate cookie packed with salted peanuts and caramel) as well as my FAVE cookie of the day the Smashed and Spiked by Elizabeth Peek of a sweet potato soft cookie that I continuously kept calling a pumpkin cookie. Oh goodness I loved her cookie and was so glad it placed with the people's choice. Elizabeth's as well as Angela's dark peanut butter chocolate and Emily's Ugly Betties were my top picks. And the big winner was the Vermonster cookie packed with peanuts and chocolate and had a maple syrup drizzle that won the people's top choice and the judge's top choice. Hrm, wonder if I had done my maple cookie this year if it would've placed? Who's to say. Either way I am proud of my lime shortbread and was glad to give lime some shine at the Takedown. It just doesn't get as much love as it should.