Winner!

Every year my place of employment has a cookie contest. I was hired just in time last year to participate, but I didn’t realize how competitive it might be. My little white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, while delicious, didn’t compare to some of the other confections. Plus, I didn’t realize that there was money involved. So when the contest was announced this year, I started plotting my win. I searched the Internet high and low (I entered “creative cookies” in Google) and stumbled across some cupcakes decorated to look like sushi rolls. I love tromp l’oeil type things, so I decided to try and make cookies that looked like sushi. I found some other sources that used Rice Krispie treats as the basis for the cookie, but to tell the truth, I’m not a huge fan of Rice Krispie treats. I decided to go with sugar cookies.

Amanda emailed me her favorite sugar cookie recipe from the Joy of Cooking. This recipe is seriously great. We used it when we made these fall cookies and then when we made some Easter cookies, so I knew it was a winner. But I had some hurdles to overcome. I wanted the cookies to be taller. Again, Amanda came to the rescue with the genius idea of stacking cookies like sandwiches. I also had to find the right decorations. In the inspiration picture, the sushi used fruit and coconut. I decided to use Runts and Swedish fish and pick out some orange Nerdz for roe. I figured candy would last longer. I could only find red fruit roll-ups to use as the seaweed wrap. So, I made a trial batch on Saturday afternoon so I would have time to switch things up if I needed to before Sunday. I’m glad I did. Here’s the trial:

It was ok, but I thought it looked more like a bird’s nest than a sushi roll. I emailed the picture to Amanda and asked her to take a quick look at it, even though she and Mike were headed out the door for a date. She called me back with an excellent suggestions to use Mike and Ike’s or jellybeans and cut them in half so they would lay flat instead of looking like rounded eggs. I stopped by a different store on my way out that night to pick up some new ingredients and found the bluish-green fruit roll-up, too. So yay! Then on Sunday night, I put together my cookies.

The winner of the Most Creative cookie last year made tiny little pies that she put into a baker’s box. I learned from her that presentation is just as important in making a good impression. So I picked up a cheap little plate and some chopsticks to add to the effect. We could only submit two cookies for judging, so I picked out my favorite two and put my plate together.

We had to wait until noon today to find out the results of the cookie competition, but I think you already know that I won! (Did the title give it away?) So I got a cute little certificate and a gift card, but most importantly, I got to be a winner!!

I also loved how many people said, “And they even taste good!” What? Were they expecting fish? Only the Swedish kind.

(Also, it’s obvious that part of this win goes to Amanda. I’m lucky to have such an awesome sister.)

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Delphi, Indiana

Erica and I have a tradition of visiting small towns in Indiana. During my two years there, we went on outings to communities like Crawfordsville, Kokomo, Frankfort, and even Otterbein. So when Erica asked me what I wanted to do on my visit, I answered without hesitation that I really wanted to visit a random small town. We decided on Logansport. Delphi was just a bonus.

On the way into town, Erica told me about how the community had raised money to create a replica of an old canal boat, and then it was burned down by an old man. We had heard that another one was built, so we tried to find it. The closes we got, though, was this playground.

Looks like they are building some sort of interpretive center in the park though. Maybe on future visits to Delphi (it might happen), I can check it out.

Meanwhile, there are lots of other sites to check out in Delphi… like old buildings!

And some newer buildings:

And some old buildings attempting to look newer:

Or just this awesome Chinese restaurant.

With very bright bricks!

There is, of course, the town War Memorial, but this one looks more threatening than most.

What with the pointy guns on each corner and all.

But the best place to visit in Delphi? The Stone House Bakery.

It’s the kind of place where you can sit at the counter and enjoy some baked goods in peace.

Or meet up with an old girlfriend (or possibly your mom) and enjoy a slice of pie.

Or where the display of cookies looks so tempting that you say, “I’ll take one of each!”

Apparently they are re-routing the major highway so it won’t go through Delphi anymore, but the cookies are worth the extra miles.

Sunday Afternoon

frosting

It finally feels a little like fall around here, so we celebrated by making some fall-themed sugar cookies. Amanda promised to show me all her tricks, but I got a phone call just as she started mixing everything. I missed all the techniques but showed up in time to roll out the dough.

cutting them out

Meanwhile, Peter was just chilling in his room eating an apple he stole from my desk. No apple tastes sweeter than the forbidden one.

tasting the forbidden fruit

And Penny was all bundled up in her fleece.

penny and pirates

Look! she’s got some adorable bottom teeth now.

two little teeth

I was also in charge of baking them, so I took them in and out of the oven at the right time.

baked

And then we frosted them. We had pumpkins, apples, leaves, and acorns.

one of each

And a few gala apples that looked kind of like a peach.

peach and apple

Finally, they were all frosted (and even texturized!). Next step: share them.

platter

No pictures of that part, though. Too busy eating.