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L.A. Times' Holiday Cookie Bake-Off: 2011 results

Many hands help make holiday cookies. That's true when you're gathered with family and friends and vats of colored icing. It's true when you're running a contest for cookie recipes, when it takes thousands of readers, dozens of cooking school students and five hungry judges to choose the best. And, it turns out, that's even true if you're one of the winners.

This year's Holiday Cookie Bake-Off attracted nearly 200 recipe entries. More than 7,000 votes were cast by readers on our Facebook page. We took the top 50 vote-getters to the folks at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, and students and faculty there baked them all off.

  • 2011 L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off winners

    2011 L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off winners

    The bake-off winners are, from left, Zaira Angelo, Tene Harris, Nicole Cleghorn, Kim Nykanen, Kristen Johnson, Vicki Wawerchak, Cheryl Margolin (in front, in white pants), Kim Gerber, Monika Csaszni and Ronna Ballister.

  • Recipe: Hungarian Isler cookies

    Recipe: Hungarian Isler cookies

    "When I was a little girl, during the holidays we would go to my grandparents' house in the countryside. I fondly recall the magical memories of my family and the holidays that this cookie is responsible for. I can still picture my grandma in the kitchen making the cookie dough, my sister was in...

  • Recipe: Granny's sugar cookies

    Recipe: Granny's sugar cookies

    "When we traveled to visit my grandparents, we were 99% guaranteed that we would go home with a couple of coffee cans full of her baked delights. The challenge was waiting until we left to see and taste what she created. When my family was ready to leave, a paper bag filled with coffee cans mysteriously...

  • Recipe: Ambrosia macaroons

    Recipe: Ambrosia macaroons

    "My dad was raised in a rural area of Texas called Garland [in Bowie County]. It was truly the country. Years ago in the 1970s, when we visited my grandfather's farm on summer vacations, there was a dirt road, no street lights and a water well. There was plenty of land with fresh vegetables and...

  • Recipe: White chocolate turtle cookies

    Recipe: White chocolate turtle cookies

    "The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love. For me, my favorite thing is to make sure that the ones I love are enjoying the sweet treats I love to bake during the month of December. This cookie recipe is a perfect combination of so many of our favorites: white chocolate, caramel,...

  • Recipe: Cranberry thumbprints

    Recipe: Cranberry thumbprints

    "As a children's nutrition advocate, I'm always looking for ways to make the food our children eat more healthful. When the holidays come around, the challenge becomes finding ways to eat more healthfully while still enjoying the festive treats of the season. Turns out, holiday cookies can be both...

  • Recipe: Sweet tart oat nut bars

    Recipe: Sweet tart oat nut bars

    "I found this recipe many years ago on the back of a bag of prunes. I tried it and I realized after the first batch that they were irresistible. But then we moved and the recipe got lost in the shuffle. I went 20 years without being able to make them. I wrote to the prune company, I searched the...

  • Recipe: Dulce de leche cookies

    Recipe: Dulce de leche cookies

    "This recipe is kind of a mash-up between my mom and me. My mom makes dulce de leche every year, the real stuff, you cook it forever and reduce it down. It's a candy that's really popular in Mexico. And I just thought, what if I didn't cook it quite as long and then used that as a filling? So she...

  • Recipe: Chocolate raspberry Linzer cookies

    Recipe: Chocolate raspberry Linzer cookies

    "I started making these six or seven years ago. I saw a recipe that was something like it and just extrapolated a little bit. I fix them mostly just for the holidays, but my beautiful daughters do love them, and I go with what they love. When you find something that works, you stick with it." —Cheryl...

  • Recipe: Almond candy cane cookies

    Recipe: Almond candy cane cookies

    "My mother, Wendy Johnson, had me brainwashed as a child. Chocolate cake with almond frosting for my birthday? Yes! Sugar cookies with almond flavoring? Delicious. It wasn't until I was in college and I made my roommate the homemade chocolate cake with almond frosting that I quickly learned my...

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