Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Fun Judging Cookies with the Ft. Myers News-Press

Me, Drew Sterwald, Norman Love
I was so excited to be asked by Drew Sterwald of our local Ft. Myers News Press to judge a Holiday Cookie Contest on December 8th.  There were so many great cookies to taste and I had such a great time.  There were 72 entries and each judge was sat at a table with 12 different cookies.  That table of 3 judges tasted each of the 12 cookies and choose the best of the 12.  Then the top cookies were placed on a different table and all of the 18 judges tasted those top 6.  Talk about a sugar was amazing!!  I found out that there are some awesome cooks among us here in Ft. Myers.  I am giving you a link to the article so you can see the cookies for yourself and the top three recipes are also on the link.  Yummy!!  I suggest you try them out.  I saw many people I knew there but was asked to sit at the table with the Food Editor of the News Press, Drew Sterwald who is a wonderful journalist and a really nice guy.  The other member at our table was Norman Love.  You might know him from the Food Network and from his famous business, Norman Love Confections.  You can find out more about him at his web site 

Norman Love and Me

He is amazing chocolatier and such a nice man. Here are some fun photos of the day.  Hope you enjoy them.  I must say, it was fun being on the other side of the judging this time.  Much less stressful!!!  Check out the article in the News Press at  This article was written by Drew Sterwald and there is a photo gallery if you want to see the cookies also.  The photographs were taken by Lindsay Terry of the News Press.  The photo gallery is at



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Strawberry Heaven

“The “Debbie” recipe – the recipe that is authentically me.
My absolute favorite dessert recipe.”
All I ever talk about loving is strawberries. I am to strawberries as Paula Deen is to potatoes and butter.
When thinking about my absolute favorite dessert, it had to combine cheesecake, strawberries, and chocolate. Chocolate covered strawberries to be exact!!! So I developed a pie that features all my weaknesses. I love a regular pie crust instead of graham cracker so I have used pie crust, topped with a luscious layer of Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling, followed by 1 pound of ripe, juicy strawberries enveloped in strawberry glaze topped with creamy, dreamy Cool Whip, and followed by 6 GIANT chocolate covered strawberries. This pie would be a strawberry lovers’ most decadent dream. It is mine…now you know what I dream about.

Strawberry Heaven
Prep time: 50 minutes Cook time: 9 minutes
Serves 6 - 8
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 ½ c. Kraft Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling
2 lbs. of strawberries
14 oz. strawberry pie glaze
8 oz Cool Whip
¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pie crust in pie pan and flute edges. Bake at 450 degrees for 9 minutes.
3. Cool pie crust at room temperature for 10 minutes and follow in freezer for 10 minutes to cool quickly.
4. While pie crust is cooking and cooling, prepare other ingredients beginning with strawberries. Wash strawberries, core, and slice in half. Save 6 LARGE strawberries for top of pie. Eat a few and enjoy them while you are working so hard. Save enough for the pie.
5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for approximately 1 minute stirring every 20 seconds. Dip 6 large strawberries in chocolate about ¾ of the way up the strawberry. Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate and cool the strawberries on the paper in the freezer.
6. After the pie crust comes out of the freezer, spread the cheesecake filling directly on top of crust.
7. Place strawberries directly on top of cheesecake and pour strawberry glaze over strawberries.
8. Pipe Cool Whip over strawberries and glaze and top with chocolate covered strawberries. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Strawberry Heaven

Strawberry Heaven
This pie is for the true Strawbery ADDICT and lover.

Mounds of Joy Whipped Pie

Using My Blog

This blog is intended to show you some wonderful recipes and highlight what is happening in the food world. In order to see the recipe demonstrated that is pictured. Click on the photo and you will get to see just how you can make this in your own kitchen.

Cinco de Mayo Layered Black Bean Dip