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Fame and fortune cookies in Vail Valley

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyScott, left, Amanda, and Lauren Dirvonas work hard at making a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the Beaver Creek Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition on Monday in their Homestead home
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Who knew cookies could be such serious business. Beaver Creek’s annual cookie competition, which takes place at 2 p.m. this afternoon in Beaver Creek Village, certainly is. It has to be official though – this year there were 90 entries of a dozen cookies a piece. Check me here, but that’s 1,080 cookies to keep track of. Judges are faced with narrowing it down to just five finalists.

“There’s definitely criteria,” said judge Mike Kloser, the director of activities for Beaver Creek Resort.

On the judging sheet, scores are calculated based on taste (50 percent), appearance (20 percent), texture (10 percent) and reproducible recipe (20 percent).



One lucky winner will be crowned this afternoon at 3 p.m. and get $1,000 reward for their cookie ingenuity.

Nate Goldberg, the product manager of the Beaver Creek Nordic Center, has been judging the annual entries for the contest since the competition’s inception.



“This was the toughest competition we’ve seen before,” he said. “The creativity is pretty amazing. One entry came in a talking box where you opened the lid and it said ‘thank you, this will be the best cookie you’ll have.’ And of course, it always helps when the warm cookies come in with a half gallon of milk.”

Simple ingredients, simple goodness

Goldberg is always amazed by the variety of entries.



“There’s such different interpretations of what a chocolate chip cookie is. You get cookies with all kinds of spices and flavors, drizzles and everything else. It’s a far cry from the traditional Toll House cookie interpretation.”

Edwards resident Heather Dirvonas and her family are one of the five finalists this year. When she asked her daughters, Lauren, 8, and Amanda, 6, if they wanted to enter the competiton, they got really excited, she said.

“We took it on as a family adventure,” Dirvonas said Monday afternoon. “We’ve got about 250 cookies in the bag, and another 750 to go, but we have time.”

The family’s recipe, called the “Epic Cookie,” doesn’t have any secret or crazy ingredients, like special spices or even fruit or nuts.

“It’s just simple ingredients, simple goodness,” she said. “Why try and reinvent the wheel?”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

Courtesy of Catherine Canaday

8 squares semi-sweet chocolate

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 c. butter

3 eggs

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 tsp real vanilla

2/3 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 squares white chocolate (coarsely chopped)

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

Melt butter, semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate. Cool to room temperature.

Beat eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until blended. Stir in white chocolate chunks and chocolate chips.

Bake 10 minutes at 325˚F. Cool and enjoy!

Courtesy of Heather Dirvonas

1 c. butter, softened

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, beaten

3 c. high-altitude flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Combine the first five ingredients in an electric mixing bowl and mix until creamy.

Combine the next three ingredients in a separate bowl and add one cup at a time to the wet ingredients in the electric mixing bowl. Mix until dry ingredients are fully blended into dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing for consistency in dough.

Fold in semi-sweet chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

Using an ice cream scooper, shape the cookie dough into balls and place onto cookie sheet.

Bake cookies for 12-13 minutes.

Courtesy of Allana Smith

1 pound butter

7 oz. brown sugar

11 oz. sugar

4 eggs

2 tbsp water

1 pound, or 12 oz. all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350˚F. In a mixing bowl combine butter, brown sugar and sugar. Mix until all ingredients are light and pale in color.

Combine eggs and water, add to bowl. Mix and combine with butter and sugars.

Combine flour, salt, baking soda. Add the rest of the ingredients in three additions until combined. Add chocolate chips, mix to combine.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment, drop 1/4 cup size scoops 2 inches apart from each other on the pan. Bake 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

Courtesy of Lisa Artacho

1 c. + 1 tbsp butter, softened

2/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Zest of 1 orange

2 1/4 c. flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

1 c. chocolate chips, melted

Topping: 3/4 c. white chocolate chips, 2 tbsp shortening

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a small bowl, combine: flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and all sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, and orange zest. Beat until combined. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until combined. Mix in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Topping: slowly melt 3/4 c. white chocolate chips with the shortening until smooth. Drizzle on cooled cookies.

Courtesy of Jennifer Downs

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. margarine

3/4 c. white sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

3 c. flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 3/4 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, stir together the butter, margarine, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, stir in the vanilla bean paste. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter until blended. Mix in the chocolate chips so they are evenly distributed. Lightly roll heaping teaspoon full of dough in a very loose ball. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, spacing 2″ apart.

Bake until the edges and top begin to brown. Approx 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to wire rack.


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