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December 21, 2010

'Tis The Season To Eat Cupcakes

HSUS holiday dessert contest

by Catherine Hess

Sampling a smorgasbord of homemade desserts before lunch would seem a pleasant task.

But the judges in HSUS' holiday dessert contest struggled to identify only three favorites among the embarrassment of rich offerings.

Cupcakes were popular with both the bakers and the judges. Cookies, pies, a winter-themed fruit medley, and a spectacular coffee cake did not fail to please, either.

Decisions, decisions

The judges resorted to assigning numerical scores to their favorites and adding them up to determine the finalists.

Sniffing around to report on the contest, I was not able to vote, but I can unofficially assert that the gingerbread-lemon cupcakes rang my dinner bell, and the chocolate-peanut butter pillows made me dreamy.

Clearly, should my coworkers ever tire of helping animals—not damn likely—there is enough culinary talent among us that we could start a catering business.

Selecting fewer than a dozen desserts to put on the menu, however, would present quite a quandary.

You be the judge

Check out the recipes below, preheat the oven, and decide for yourself which dessert is the best.

Jelly donut cupcakes (first prize)
Naughty but nice chocolate mini-cupcakes (second prize)
Nog cheesecake (third prize)
Cinnamon-walnut coffee cake
Chocolate candy cane cupcakes
Chestnut-persimmon medley
Chocolate chip cookies
Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon frosting
Chocolate mousse pie
Peanut butter pillows
Cookies 'n' cream cupcakes
Swedish gingerbread cookies 

Catherine Hess is a web editor at The Humane Society of the United States.

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