The Third Annual Jackson Cookie Competition has passed. It was a bloodbath. This year's events were re-named "The Cookie Games" after the haunting trilogy The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. For those of you who have not read them, the story is set in a near future where an evil dictatorship controls its starving population by choosing two children from each district to compete in a terrible Battle to the Death. Totally disturbing, totally fun...
...just like our Cookie Competition.
My family and I have been talking smack since we were in Australia. Aaron, still furious about coming in second to Bekah last year, has been conducting a negative campaign for months. Facebook profile pics designed to intimidate, talk of bribing the four judges we have with tickets to a Jets game or broadway show, begging me shoot and cut a promotional video for his entry this year. I was tempted because it would be hilarious, but I had bigger fish to fry.
Specifically, restoring my baking reputation after a serious misjudgement last year. As you all know, I WON THE FIRST COOKIE GAMES (sorry this has to be capitalized because my family has a tendency to forget about that!) with an awesome salted oatmeal white chocolate chip treat. My family was scandalized by the salt and thought I should have served them with mustard at a baseball game. But what they did not count on is the fact that every family doesn't want to eat a gallon of melted Hershey's chocolate for dessert!
I followed this same strategy last year with a Key Lime Meltaway which my family dubbed, "bite sized nightmares." They were not nightmares, just unmemorable.
So I had a lot to prove and was confident that my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread would do the trick.
Re: Aaron's Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies. "These would be delicious if you liked Tang, Aaron"
Re: My Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread, "Too bad these aren't cookies, Sarah. I love Peanut Butter pie, though."
Re: Bekah's Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee Butter Cookies. "I'm so bored!" We break for dinner.. you know, after we eat a half-dozen cookies as an appetizer... and re-interpret the competition's rules to try and eliminate each other. I was screaming for a judge to be disqualified because I was convinced that Aaron had told her my entry wasn't technically a cookie. Bekah and Aaron tried to knock my poor sister in law out by saying no white people should be allowed to enter this year... ...of course they said that would also apply to my brother Luke and I, being the Sondra Huxtables of the Jackson family. We calmed down just enough to pack the cookies up for the judging families and prepare them for special delivery. Each competitor is allowed to supply two cookies to the judges. I tried to give myself a slight edge by packing my cookies in these cute-ass tins I bought at Big Lots for 3 cents or something. My older sister sunk that battle ship immediately by getting my whole family to chant, "NO SPECIAL TINS! NO SPECIAL TINS!" My young nieces must have a lot of respect for me. Before we left, we each cast a super secret tie breaker ballot where we were required to vote for another Jackson's cookie. As far as I know, that envelope remains sealed. Bekah did ask "can anyone draw a skull and crossbones?!" So you know that's serious. My older sister went off with her family to visit the in-laws who have judged every year since we began the Games. Aaron, Bekah, and I had two drop-offs to make. Mr. and Mrs. Neville were new this year and enthusiastic. Mrs. Neville- this kind woman holding up the winning cookie at her house who was scandalized because she didn't offer me a glass of rose within two minutes of my stepping in the house- she was the judge I was trying to have disqualified, yelling "No! F--K that! She's out!"
I'm a bad person.
Not that bad, though. She didn't vote for my cookie! The Nevilles voted unanimously for Bekah's Snoozefest butter cookie. I forgave them for their terrible judgment because they were so detailed as to which cookie they loved and why. Each competitor learns a lot from judges like these for the next Cookie Games. Bekah had only an hour to bask in the glory until the final votes came in over text. (Very American Idol) Luke, my little big "white" brother, is the new reigning champion with his chocolate caramel thumbprint cookies which he called "The Widowmakers". I would love to give you the recipe, but he refuses to share it. He tell us that he would be in danger because "if the government finds out that I'm making Widowmakers, I'll be locked up for life. The Widowmaker was formerly known as the Conflict Cookie. Certain ingredients came from a conflict region in Africa." We all received several texts after he won and until we all paid up on Christmas morning. To the victor goes the spoils. And spoil our lives, he did. "Whateva yo..you have 364 days to think about how you're going to dethrone me."
"Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king!"
"The King of Cookies, The Prince of Pastry, The Monarch of Milk Chocolate, The Father of Fudge, and the Leader of the New World Cookie Revolution!"
"Thems the breaks, kiddo. You all strayed too far from your roost. I was the only one to stay true to my heart. Let this be a learning experience for you all!" Indeed. I have 364 days to figure out what the hell went wrong! Please, PLEASE send me your favorite cookie recipes because there is not much time.
I can't lose next year. I CAN'T.
Christmas = Competition.