When we last left our friendly neighborhood baker (me), it was the night before the big cookie competition. I know you’ve been waiting all week with bated breath. (Not “baited breath”. This will explain why.) How did it turn out? What happened? Read on for the stunning conclusion to the cookie competition caper.
We pick up the story with the morning of the competition. The last four batches of cookies I had made the night before had cooled. And that morning I finished cutting the cookies. Because of a suggestion from the people running the competition, we ended up cutting them a little smaller than usual, so we had more than enough cookies. We needed 250 and we ended up with 320, even with setting aside some broken ones. In case you were wondering, the other part of the “we” in this story is my wife, who besides being generally lovely, was a tremendous help in pulling this off.
Besides the cookies themselves, there were a few other items that were important for the competition. My wife had gone out and bought different kinds of wrapping paper to decorate the table for the competition. She’s got a great design sense. It’s not something that I had even thought of, but she was all over it. Thank you, dear!
There were some other things that I had thought of though. I printed out signs for the cookies, so people at the competition would know what I was offering. I also had some mini business cards custom printed. They had pictures of the cookies on one side and the name and URL of the blog (with QR code) on the other side. So in case anyone really loved the cookies and wanted to know more, they could. It seems funny to call them business cards, because this isn’t a business, but I was doing promotion nonetheless.
After all the cookie cutting was done, we packed up the cookies, the decorations for table, the signs, the mini business cards, the serving trays (who knew there would be so many accoutrements), and off we went.
It was nearby, so it didn’t take too long to get there. Once we got inside, it was very mellow and laid back. They said to just pick a table and setup. No pomp, no circumstance. No formality. The other bakers who were already there were friendly and helpful. It was a competition, sure, but there was a sense of camaraderie.
We set about decorating and setting up the table and then putting out the cookies. After that was done, my wife did a lot of socializing with the other bakers, trading cookies, and all of that. Yes, trading cookies was a thing. All the bakers wanted to taste each other’s cookies. It was very sweet. (Pun intended.) It was fun and collegial. And the host was cool and funny. He’s kinda hard to describe, so I’ll just say he’s ridiculous in the most amazing way possible.
After all the setup came the main event. They opened the doors, and the hordes of people came. Well, smaller-than-expected hordes, because it was a wet, rainy day, which held down attendance. But there were still a lot of people. Probably not 250, maybe 150? Maybe 200? It was $20 admission, and that entitled you to as many cookies as you wanted. Not a bad deal, eh? We gave out a lot of cookies. So many that I got tired at points and had to take breaks while my wife took over. In between she also helped by refilling the cookie trays that were made empty by the cookie-eating crowds.
Some bakers were great salespeople (even though there was no selling). Some had great graphic design for their materials. Some had great cookie design. Some had great cookie names. There was a lot of really great competition. There was even another millionaire’s shortbread. (That one had salted caramel.)
All the people were so excited and so happy to be getting all these cookies. I mean, who wouldn’t be? But there were just so many cookies, so a number of people ended up sharing because they got too many. They were so stuffed. I’m glad I made them small like they asked.
Another fun thing was that other bakers came around at the end and did more cookie trading. And other people just came back to eat more. (I guess not everyone was stuffed.) After we had mostly cleaned up, we left a tray out because we had so many left. (Because of making extra, plus the low turnout because of the weather.) We probably ended up with about 100 left. Which meant that a lot of people at work ended up happy. 🙂
So how did I do in the contest? As I said, there was a lot of tough competition. And the way it worked was that everyone voted for their favorite. Which means that everyone got just one vote. I didn’t win anything. But that was okay. I talked with the host afterwards, and it turns out I got a decent amount of votes, just not enough to win. (As a side note, he also said that most people spent about 8 – 10 hours of work making the cookies. I think that’s right for me. Normally it’s about an hour for a batch and I made 8 batches.)
Even though I didn’t win, it was still a great experience. It was fun talking with the other bakers, hanging out with my wife, meeting new people, and sharing my cookies. I’m very glad I did it. Different people told me how much they loved the cookies. It was really good to get that unbiased positive feedback. And it was really good pushing myself to do something that big. I’m seriously thinking about competing again next time.
If I do it again, I need to figure some things out. It would be good to have a better pitch for the cookies, a better way to hold up the signs, a new and interesting recipe, an interesting cookie name, and better graphic design. You know, nothing serious. 😉
Thanks to everyone who came, everyone who voted for me, and everyone who participated. It was really a great event.
Since I’m already thinking about next time, I thought I would turn to you for suggestions. If you’re familiar with the cookies I’ve made, is there a recipe of mine that you would suggest I use for next time? And even if you’re not familiar, do you have any recipes in general you’d like to suggest I try out? I’m always open to suggestions. Thanks!