• Pittsburgh's Best Christmas Cookie Winners

    By: Jessica Fera


    PITTSBURGH,None - For many families in western Pa., Christmas cookies are a cherished tradition.

    WPXI.com is searching for Pittsburgh's Best Christmas Cookie and when we asked for submissions we received lots of great recipes!

    A panel of judges sorted through the recipes to choose the finalists. They were required to bring 2 dozen of their cookies to the WPXI studios for a taste-test. Cookies were judged based on flavor, texture and appearance.

    WPXI.com viewers were able to vote for their favorite from the list of finalists, Dec. 13 to Dec. 20. The cookie with the highest score after combining the taste-test results and results from public voting was named Pittsburgh's Best Christmas Cookie!

    First, second and third place winners will each receive a coveted "Pittsburgh's Best" award certificate, along with a Williams-Sonoma gift card.

    The contest was open to businesses as well as all non-professional bakers.


    1st Place Taste Test, 1st Place Overall:  Oreo Truffles Submitted by Jill Hunter & Melissa Pittera

    Ingredients & Directions:

    Take one block of cream cheese (room temperature).
    Take one package of Oreo cookies.
    Smash the Oreo cookies until they are very fine.
    Put in the cream cheese with the Oreos and mix it.
    Make them into balls.
    Then dip them in melted chocolate or white chocolate.
    Put them on wax paper on a cookie tray and put in the refrigerator.
    Notes: Instead of Oreo cookies, you can also do this with birthday cake or even cookie dough.

    2nd Place Taste Test: Joanne’s Sugar Cookies Submitted by Joanne Witherow


    ½ cup margarine or butter (1 stick)
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 1/4 cups all purpose flour


    1. In large mixer bowl, cream margarine or butter and granulated sugar until it turns a light shade. This usually takes about 3 minutes.
    2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
    3. Add baking powder.
    4. Add flour one cup at a time.
    6. On a floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness. (I roll mine ¼” thick.)
    7. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use.
    8. Place cookies on parchment covered sheet. (Parchment is not absolutely necessary.)
    9. Bake at 375° for about 8-10 minutes. (Depends on your oven, I do not like my cookies real dark on the bottom.)
    10. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing. Cool completely on wire rack or cloth.

    Decorating Icing

    1 cup all vegetable shortening
    1/4 cup warm water
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1 pound confectioner's sugar (3-3/4 cups)

    1. Place shortening in a large bowl.
    2. Using mixer; beat on low/medium speed until light and fluffy.
    3. Add water.
    4. Beat at first on low speed and gradually increase it.
    5. Add the vanilla and almond extract.
    6. Continue beating, until icing is light and fluffy.
    7. Decorate sugar cookies anyway you desire. Let icing sit some before packing.

    3rd Place Taste Test, 2nd Place Overall: Chocolate Chocolate Minty Surprises Submitted by Teresa Panek


    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1 pkg Hershey’s Candy Cane kisses, chopped
    1 pkg Andes Peppermint crunch mints, halved


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Cream together butter and both types of sugar in a stand mixer. Once it is light and fluffy add in the eggs one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla extract. Add in cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mix until well combined. Mix in the flour and mix until smooth. (Some lumps are ok, they will bake out.)

    Using a cookie scoop, drop by tablespoons on parchment lined baking sheets. Half the dough balls and place ½ piece of the Andes peppermint crunch in the middle of all your dough balls. Then wrap your dough around the mint (make sure the chocolate dough covers the mint completely). Then, using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool for a minute. Sprinkle cookies with the chopped candy cane kisses and let cool on wire cooling racks.



    9th Place Taste Test, 3rd Place Overall: The Dudders Submitted by Missy Sorg


    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 cup cocoa
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup butter
    8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
    3 eggs (slightly beaten)
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup milk
    1 cup milk chocolate chips
    1 cup white chocolate chips
    24 Special Dark Hershey Kisses


    Preheat oven to 350
    In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and brown sugar. Set aside.
    In a double boiler, melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate until smooth and combined. (Be careful not to burn the chocolate.) Add slightly beaten eggs to flour mixture.
    Add melted chocolate to flour mixture.
    Add vanilla.
    Mix well, adding milk as needed to moisten batter to droppable/ballable consistency. (May not need to use full cup of milk.) Add milk chocolate and white chocolate chips. Mix well.
    Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
    Scoop batter onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2" balls approximately 1" apart.
    Using a lightly greased fork, criss-cross press the top of the cookies (as you would do with peanut butter cookies.) Bake approximately 8-10 minutes until cookies are no longer "gooey" looking on the outside. (Cookies will look underdone in general, but they are not.) Allow to sit approximately 10 minutes, and transfer to cooling racks.
    Top each cookie with a Special Dark Hershey Kiss.
    Optional - May drizzle a bit of white chocolate over the top of the entire finished cookie for a different look and flavor.
    Yield = Approximately 2 dozen

    Note: Named after a friend of mine who asked me to make a chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate cookie. This is a decadent cookie recipe perfect for chocolate lovers!

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    Pittsburgh's Best Christmas Cookie Winners