Kids compete in second Itty Bitty Bakers Christmas Cookie Bake Off

Published 10:29 am Monday, January 3, 2022

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By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer 

HOOVER – Nearly 40 children competed for top honors in a local baking school’s second annual holiday event.

At the 2021 Itty Bitty Bakers Kids Christmas Cookie Bake Off on Sunday, Dec. 19, young competitors brought their homemade cookies to a panel of judges, who were tasked with naming winners in the categories of Best All-Around Cookie, Most Festive Cookie, Best Tasting Cookie and Most Unique Cookie.

The judging took place outside of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce office on the indoor patio overlooking the Riverchase Galleria food court.

Once again, the competitors impressed the judges with their creativity and mastery of concepts in cookie baking and decorating.

“In 2020, we had our first-ever Christmas Cookie Bake Off, and it was so much fun,” Itty Bitty Bakers founder Jessica Hamby said. “Many parents told us it was the highlight of Christmas for their kiddos.”

The 2021 winners were:

  • Best All-Around Cookie (Wooden Spoon Award) – Emma Cooley, Emma’s Deck the Doodles
  • Most Festive Cookie – Ruthie McKinney, The Peppermint Party Cookie
  • Best Tasting Cookie – Charlotte Guess, Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies
  • Most Unique Cookie – Desi McCain, Snow Cookies

The runners-up in each category were:

  • Best All-Around Cookie – Ruthie McKinney, first runner-up for The Peppermint Party Cookie, and Desi McCain, second runner-up for Snow Cookies
  • Most Festive Cookie – Vincent Chiu, first runner-up for Melted Snowman Cookies; Evie Schrock, second runner-up for Cookies for Santa; and Ellie Harris, third runner-up for Santa Madeleine Cookies
  • Best Tasting Cookie – Camellia Bradford, first runner-up for Peppermint Blast Cookies; Desi McCain, second runner-up for White Chocolate Chip Snow Cookies; and Emma Cooley, third runner-up for Snickerdoodle Cookies with Royal Icing/Emma’s Deck the Doodles
  • Most Unique Cookie – Charlotte Guess, first runner-up for Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies; Oliver Mims, second runner-up for Hot Cocoa in the Snow; and Abby Harris, third runner-up for Oatmeal Cream Pie Christmas Tree Cookies

The idea of the bakeoff is for children to pull out old cookbooks, check out cookbooks from the library and talk to older family members about their favorite cookie recipes.

Kids are also encouraged to work with parents on shopping for ingredients and the kitchen cleanup process.

At the event, each child had an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills as they presented their cookies to the judges.

After all cookies were presented, the judges completed a taste-testing before determining the winners.

This year’s judges included:

  • Ramsey Nuss (Pursell) of Good Neighbor Baking. A self-taught baker, Nuss started her home-based baking business at the start of 2019 and is mostly known for her miniature cookie sandwiches and detailed cookie cakes.
  • Ashley Brown of Ashley’s Famous Cookies. Brown started baking cookies as a way to satisfy her sweet tooth after having her first son in 2016. Ashley’s Famous Cookies formed in 2018 and has grown substantially as an online cookie company since then.
  • Adam Hickman of Foxhound Bee Company. Prior to running his Birmingham beekeeping supply company full-time, Hickman was a recipe developer for many of the nation’s largest food brands.

Each winner received a $50 Itty Bitty Bakers credit to be used on any class, camp or merchandise.

For more information about Itty Bitty Bakers, visit