The celebrity cookie showdown

One day it just appeared on my desk, as if by magic. I returned from a meeting and there it sat, an unassuming glass jar with a translucent label, bearing the words “Stagnaro’s Cookies” in plain script.

I couldn’t help giggling as I unscrewed the white lid and extracted the scroll of paper from within. It was, as I had guessed, an invitation to compete in this year’s Celebrity Cookie Auction.

Now, I don’t consider myself a celebrity, but far be it from me to dissuade anyone who believes otherwise. (Go ahead, feed that needy little ego. In this case, feed it cookies.)

The auction itself is the centerpiece of A Night of Cookies and Cream, The Children’s Center’s annual fundraising campaign. This year’s event takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at the Norwich Fire Station. In addition to the cookie auction, there are always a host of other family friendly activities – and of course plenty of cookies and milk for all to enjoy.

Proceeds from the event benefit the center’s Scholarship Fund, which helps offset the cost of child care for families with a demonstrated financial need. This is where the local celebs (and pseudo-celebs like myself) come in. We’re asked to whip up a batch of our favorite cookies to be sold by silent auction.

But let’s call it what it is – a cookie showdown. Competition is fierce – both for the best-tasting cookie and the one which raises the most money for the cause.

The competition was fierce last year. While I made it into the top tier with my delightfully delectable Raspberry Pecan Thumbprints (based on a recipe I stole from the lovely Pam Jones), I only went home with a consolation prize. The $135 those babies raised was only a drop in the bucket compared to what the top earner raised.

This year, my goal is to take the gold. And by that I mean, the Golden Cookie, awarded to the cookies which raise the most money in the event’s silent auction.

To do it, I’m going to have to top last year’s cookies. Which will be no small feat – those thumbprints were incredibly tasty. The big question is, do I go with the tried and true, or stretch my cookie sheet out there and try another recipe?

With my cookie deadline fast approaching (I have to have them in by noon on Tuesday, the day prior to the auction), I don’t have much time to make this important decision. Because if I’m going to switch things up, I need to go about it the right way. Which will involve sampling. Lots of sampling.

Somehow I think I could probably rope a colleague or two into helping me with that if push comes to shove.

And then, of course, once I’ve perfected whatever amazing cookie I plan to enter, I’ll have to basically sell my soul to top last year’s fundraising total. But I’m up for the challenge.

It’ll be no easy task, I know. I’ve seen the list of celebs who have agreed to tie on their aprons and pull out their cookie sheets this year. I’ll be up against the likes Marty Dietrich, David Emerson, Elizabeth Monaco, both McNeil brothers, Maureen Carpenter and countless others. Even Senator Tom Libous!

Will my cookies be able to hold their own against the likes of these bonafide celebrities? I guess we’ll just have to see how the cookie crumbles next Wednesday night.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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