Winners crowned in Beaver Creek’s annual Opening Day cookie competition
Cookies Worth Writing Home About
By Megg Dunlap, of Edwards
2 cups super fine cake flour
1 3/4 cups high quality bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons genuine vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Dark chocolate (to top)
Flake sea salt
Sift together dry ingredients, and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars, mixing until the mixture is fluffed, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low, carefully add dry ingredients, and mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
Stir in semisweet chocolate chips. Place dough in an airtight container, and refrigerate for 48 hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop mounds slightly smaller than a golf ball onto the sheet tray. Make sure not to crowd. Press a few dark chocolate chips into each cookie.
Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center is soft, about 12 to 15 minutes.
--------- Yin & Yang Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Catherine Canaday, of Denver
Chocolate chip dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 ½ tablespoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
8 squares semisweet chocolate
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 squares white chocolate (coarsely chopped)
1/2 cup milk
Make the chocolate chip dough: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars, and then add egg and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
Make the chocolate dough: Melt butter, semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, and 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.
Scoop about 1 teaspoon of each dough, press them together to form a ball, and place onto baking sheet. Bake for about 9 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Ava’s Best Cookies
By Ava Guyton, of Evergreen
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and water, and blend until combined. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and slowly add to wet ingredients. Drop teaspoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake until golden brown.
Lines snaked around Beaver Creek Plaza on Opening Day of the mountain, as thousands queued up to taste samples from the finalists in the 12th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition. At 2 p.m. sharp, the bell rang and eager cookie connoisseurs stepped forward to claim the chocolate, chewy morsels.
First up was the Yin & Yang Chocolate Chip Cookies, baked by Catherine Canaday, of Denver, who brought her daughter, Olivia Canaday, and a friend, Brynlee Hunter, to serve the treats alongside her stepmother, Anne Sullivan, of Eagle-Vail.
“I blended two cookies of my own recipe, chocolate-chocolate and chocolate chip,” Catherine Canaday said. “It’s like Tony Romo’s crownie commercial: I blended sort of a brownie and cookie together.”
Chip the Buffalo, mascot for the University of Colorado Boulder, greeted cookie fans waiting in line for Ava’s Best Cookie, baked by 6-year-old Ava Guyton, of Evergreen, with help from her 8-year-old brother, Tyler, and parents Brad and Allison Guyton. Ava said she entered the contest “because hopefully I might win and I might not.”
“I asked her, if you win, what will you spend your money on?” Brad Guyton said, referring to the $1,000 prize for the top cookie. “And she said, ‘college, a car and taxes.’”
At the Nana’s Special Chocolate Chip Cookies tent, Nancy “Nana” Wilmers, of Gypsum, and her team cycled plates of cookies through a toaster oven, serving them up warm and gooey. This was Wilmers’ fourth time entering the contest, and she said this year’s secret ingredient was love.
“This is the first time I’ve gotten in (to the finals),” she said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get together with a lot of other people. I think that most people like cookies at the end of a ski day. It’s always a nice treat.”
Father-daughter team Robert and Schariar Milfeld, of Edwards, said their recipe was 14 years in the making. A photo of a very young Schariar making cookies was propped on an easel outside their booth, proving the longevity of the partnership.
“My dad and I have been perfecting the recipe for 14 years, and we’re surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, so we named the recipe ‘14ers,’” said Schariar Milfeld, a Battle Mountain High School senior.
“She cried when I made cookies without her,” Robert Milfeld said with a laugh, adding that the competition brings out families like his. “It just warms the soul and the spirit. It fills the stomach, but it really satisfies a niche.”
At about 2:30 .m., the lines dwindled as bakers came to the end of their mountains of cookies, and soon, all 5,000 of the gourmet bites had disappeared. At the fifth and final station, Cookies Worth Writing Home About creator Megg Dunlap, of Edwards, began breaking her treats into smaller bites to give as many people as possible a taste until they, too, were finally gone.
Competitors gathered around the fountain stage, where honorary judges Anna and Wilson Blake and their 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, of Memphis, Tennessee, called out numbers for free raffle prizes from Vail Resorts before finally getting down to the business of naming a winning cookie.
The crowd cheered as Ava Guyton claimed her third-place medal, followed by the announcement of Catherine Canaday and her Yin & Yang cookies in second place. Top honors of the day, along with the $1,000 prize and season’s bragging rights, went to Dunlap and her Cookies Worth Writing Home About.
“It’s a long day and it was all worth it,” Dunlap said. “I’m overwhelmed. People came back for seconds and thirds and raved about them. … I never would have expected to see this many people in line.”
Dunlap’s cookies were topped with a bit of dark chocolate and flakes of sea salt, which she said provided the perfect balance to the sweetness.
“Everyone raves about the cookies, and I think it’s fun to be part of a tradition like that,” she said. “After a cold day, a warm cookie is just what you need.”