Category: Editor's Welcome
Abby Burnett of Kingston shows off her new, red KitchenAid stand mixer as winner of our Christmas Cookie Contest. Courtesy of Abby Kingston.

The Arkansas Living staff has been giddy for Christmas to come since July, when we announced our Christmas Cookie Contest.

We asked readers to enter their favorite recipes, and, wow, did you ever deliver in a “crumb-believable” way! You submitted every kind of cookies imaginable: bar cookies, candied fruit cookies, chocolate cookies, dried/fresh fruit cookies, iced/filled cookies, ginger cookies, molasses cookies, no-bake cookies, nut cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, spice cookies, sugar cookies … and even one bacon cookie (talk about “bacon” spirits bright)!

Even “dough” it was incredibly difficult, we narrowed entries down to 11 favorites, baked up a storm and invited Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas colleagues to score finalists in an epic cookie taste test. We ranked cookies’ appearance, flavor, texture and “wow factor” on a scale of 1 (Bah, humbug!) to 5 (Magical).

Abby Burnett’s Almond-Raspberry Bars. Photo by Jennifer Christman Cia.

The competition was very close. Ultimately, the Almond-Raspberry Bars recipe, submitted by Abby Burnett of Kingston (Carroll Electric Cooperative), raised the bar and won.

As our grand-prize winner, Abby received a KitchenAid stand mixer — and it will be put to great use. When I called Abby to notify her, she told me she’s a board member of Paws and Claws Pet Shelter in Madison County, and she bakes pies (everything from coconut cream to Concord grape) to sell for shelter fundraisers. So sweet.

On the subject of pies, each of our other 10 finalists received a signed copy of Arkansas Living contributor and food historian Kat Robinson’s “The Great Arkansas Pie Book.”

And, hey, since we’ve already blown our diets, come with me on a delicious tour of Magnolia Bake Shop, Arkansas’ oldest bakery, which has produced treats and smiles for 95 years.

Wishing you the sweetest Christmas!