Last month, I wrote a column about my old friend Gretchen Holt and Cookies For Kids' Cancer, the group she founded when her son, Liam Witt, was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. CFKC does bake sales and other cookie-related events to raise money to fund pediatric cancer drug trials and research. Charlotte is the top money-raising site for CFKC.
Friday afternoon, I had the honor of helping judge a cookie contest for CFKC, sitting next to my fellow judge, Grier Cristenbury, 7, (above) at the Flying Biscuit Cafe at Park Road Shopping Center. The other judges were Kiran Smith of Little Ones magazine, Lisa Frame of Daily Pinch and Kerry McCray of the Meetup group Good Eats & Meets.
Twenty-five cookie recipes were entered, but luckily it had been narrowed down to seven finalists. Still, it was a tough job, people. I am here to tell you, that Grier Cristenbury is one tough cookie judge. I helped him fill out his judge's score card, with all the moms and kids watching us take every bite.
There was a lot riding on the contest. The winner gets free food for a year at the Stomp Chomp & Roll restaurants in Charlotte, the group that owns Flying Biscuit at Park Road and Stonecrest, Mama Fu's and the Pizza Peel in Cotswold, Monkey Joe's at Park Road and Moe's at Northlake.
But that's not why there's a lot riding on it. Those restaurants also will make and sell the winning cookie until the end of September, with all proceeds going to Cookies For Kids' Cancer. Just recently, New York finally passed Charlotte as the site of the biggest CFKC bake sale. With enough cookies sold, we could put that upstart Little Apple back in its place.
So, the winners: Third place went to Angela Sluder's Triple Chip Cookies and second was Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Catherine Coltrin.
The winner was Jane Cole, with Millionaire Shortbread Cookies, a three-layer arrangement of shortbread, caramel and chocolate. (That's it in the paper cup at the front of the plate.)
Here's the recipe. It's a bit British, as is Jane. But instead of making it, consider stopping by one of the Stomp, Chomp & Roll restaurants listed above and buy it. See Grier, the kid with the big smile and the big cookie? He became friends with Liam Witt when they were both patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Grier's buddy Liam died in January, at the age of 6 1/2. Let's buy a lot of cookies and eat 'em all for Grier and his fellow cancer-warriors out there.
By Jane Cole, Charlotte.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar (AKA confectioners sugar)
Salt (amount not given; I'd start with 1/2 teaspoon)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter
2 tins (cans) sweetened condensed milk
6 tablespoons Lyles golden syrup
4 bars Cadbury Milk Chocolate
3 tablespoons margarine
Whipping cream (amount not specified)
Preheat oven to 320 degrees. (yes, that's how it reads, although 325 would probably work fine).
Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch pan. Combine the flour, confectioners sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Caramel layer: Melt the butter. Mix the sweetened condensed milk and syrup well, then stir in the melted butter. Microwave 1 minute and stir well. Repeat 6 times, until mixture is thick and deeply colored. Pour over the shortbread crust.
Chocolate: Melt chocolate and margarine in a double boiler (or in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat). Add cream until all is melted and shiny. Pour over the caramel layer. Refrigerate until set. Sprinkle with a little confectioners sugar and cut into squares.