Thanks to my recent appearances on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” and “The Big Bake,” I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the various TV competitions …
Thanks to my recent appearances on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” and “The Big Bake,” I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the various TV competitions I’ve participated in over the years. (I’ve also been getting a lot of “You were robbed!” comments, which I’m very grateful for—competitors are selected worldwide these days, so the competition is stronger than ever.)
I have a lot of great memories from all of the shows, but I continually smile when I think of the Rowdy Reindeer team.
We were on “Cake Wars: Christmas” in 2016. We didn’t win—we were eliminated in the fifth episode of six—much to the agony of those who screamed, “You were robbed!” But it was a great time.
Lindsey Bickford of Longwood, FL and Dean Murray of Kiel, WI were my teammates. Lindsey was our baker, Dean was our sculptor/fruit carver, and I was the sugar artist—a part I had never performed before! But we clicked as a team—we all have wild senses of humor, a desire to be the best and a willingness to try almost anything.
It was that willingness—and a little desperation—that led to the creation of these Rowdy Reindeer cookies.
The judges were dinging us on our taste challenges. They didn’t say we were horrible, but if the term had existed at the time, they probably would have said, “Meh.”
Now here’s one for you—I’m gluten intolerant. That’s right, I’m the cake artist who can’t eat cake. But I had an idea. And we were desperate.
My dad’s favorite dessert was a double-chocolate prune cake with peppermint frosting. It was very moist, and he always begged my grandmother to make it. I baked my first one for him while I was in high school, and my dad was thrilled.
So I presented a variation on Rowdy Reindeer: what if I made double chocolate-chip cookies with peppermint icing for our next taste challenge? We were certainly taking a risk. The flavors are bold—love-it-or-hate-it bold. And remember, I couldn’t taste the cookies myself. But we rolled the dice and went with the recipe.
Well, we won the taste challenge hands-down. But something more marvelous occurred off-camera. Normally, the judges take a bite of food and throw the rest out—after all, they eat all day. But the judges insisted on finishing their cookies. And then the crew came around and finished off the rest. I’d never seen that before, and I haven’t seen it since.
Now you have the recipe that so impressed the judges on “Cake Wars: Christmas” back in 2016. I hope you enjoy making and sharing these cookies during this holiday season.
Kim M. Simons is an award-winning artist, food artist, and cake artist. She has recently competed on @FoodNetwork’s “Halloween Wars” and “The Big Bake,” both of which can be streamed. Kim and her team—The Bah Hum Bakers—were champions of “Holiday Wars” in 2019. Kim’s cookbook featuring gluten-free recipes,”Get All Cook-y with Kim,”can be purchased on https://www.amazon.com.
Rowdy Reindeer cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Melt butter. Mix butter with brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl.
Add eggs; mix well.
Add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir until moist and dough-like.
Stir in 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips.
Chill dough in fridge 1 hour.
Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-9 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Stir in milk and peppermint extract.
Frost cookies, then sprinkle with crushed candy to taste.
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