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Christmas Cookie Challenge

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The second episode's bakers were third string, at best.  I couldn't believe the quality drop off between episode one and two!  Who is screechy woman who won?  I know I've seen her before.  Is she someone who does the rounds of various food network contests?

Ree, Ree, Ree.  White facial make up is NOT your friend. 

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8 minutes ago, Frost said:

The second episode's bakers were third string, at best.  I couldn't believe the quality drop off between episode one and two!  Who is screechy woman who won?  I know I've seen her before.  Is she someone who does the rounds of various food network contests?

 

I googled the the woman who won (while only halfway through the episode) and saw comments that she had a heavily followed instagram thing. I followed it (I'm not really an IG person) and she (IMHO) overdoes the posting. Her stuff is pretty, but I don't need to see 5 a day. Actually I think those kind of cookies are prettier than they are tasty.

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I saw the first episode and enjoyed it well enough. I was about to watch the second one but saw Damiano was one of the judges so I turned it right off. I guess I'll have to try again next week.

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2 hours ago, Frost said:

Ree, Ree, Ree.  White facial make up is NOT your friend. 

Omigosh yes.  Ree has that very pale skin a lot of redheads have and the makeup, orange hair dye and heavy black eyeliner make her look like a corpse.  That and her awful voice always have me wondering why she's so popular although I do think she seems like a nice person.

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I agree about the quality drop off in the second show. The winner in the first episode was very talented. I remember Damiano being very mean and disinterested in a previous Halloween Baking Contest. He seems nicer here. Maybe Food Network had a talk with him.

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2 hours ago, Winter Rose said:

I saw the first episode and enjoyed it well enough. I was about to watch the second one but saw Damiano was one of the judges so I turned it right off. I guess I'll have to try again next week.

Damiano was amazingly pleasant and gave good, constructive criticism.  I was skeptical too but he won me over this time.  Ree is a sweetheart but OMG her makeup and hair color/hair style do her no favors.

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I think Damiano must have taken the criticism he got as a judge on the baking contests to heart.  He was much more pleasant and didn’t coma in tha Americans cookies are too sweet this time.

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Ugh the return of Damiano.  I thought we were done with him.

These people were not so good.  Am I the only one that can just watch about 1/2 the show and then watch the other 1/2 later?  I mean these people are hard to watch and very not likable, which I guess doesn't matter if you're a baker but does matter if you are going to bake on TeeVee.  These cookie people seem like real A-Holes...lol

I make decorated cookies at Christmas and my very first were these wedding cakes for my nephew's wedding shower.  I'm convinced I could do better at this than most of the contestants I've seen so far and I'm not that good at it! lol

wedding.JPG

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Just now, kj4ever said:

Ugh the return of Damiano.  I thought we were done with him.

These people were not so good.  Am I the only one that can just watch about 1/2 the show and then watch the other 1/2 later?  I mean these people are hard to watch and very not likable, which I guess doesn't matter if you're a baker but does matter if you are going to bake on TeeVee.  These cookie people seem like real A-Holes...lol

I make decorated cookies at Christmas and my very first were these wedding cakes for my nephew's wedding shower.  I'm convinced I could do better at this than most of the contestants I've seen so far and I'm not that good at it! lol

wedding.JPG

Those are precious and I am sure the fact that you made them for nephew and his bride meant the world to them. Well done! In fact, you could have given the bakers on episode two a run for their money!

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1 hour ago, Spunkygal said:

Those are precious and I am sure the fact that you made them for nephew and his bride meant the world to them. Well done! In fact, you could have given the bakers on episode two a run for their money!

Thanks!  I got better after those....Here's a tree and Santa I made.  I kept thinking they could have done the branches like this on the Star cookies turned into trees and it would have looked a lot better!

The Santa cookie cutter would be a challenge to figure out something completely different to do.  I kept thinking it could be a ghost but that's not exactly Christmas....lol

 

cookies.JPG

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16 hours ago, Frost said:

The second episode's bakers were third string, at best.  I couldn't believe the quality drop off between episode one and two!  Who is screechy woman who won?  I know I've seen her before.  Is she someone who does the rounds of various food network contests?

I was sure I had seen her on another show. I don't do IG so I know that's not where I know her from...

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She (Nicole Silva) looked familiar to me too. Here's why:

The Hampton resident is no stranger to competitive kitchen work, having appeared on ABC-TV’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show” at Christmastime 2015.

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19 minutes ago, dleighg said:

She (Nicole Silva) looked familiar to me too. Here's why:

The Hampton resident is no stranger to competitive kitchen work, having appeared on ABC-TV’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show” at Christmastime 2015.

Oh thank you it was driving me crazy!  I knew I knew her from somewhere!

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3 hours ago, dleighg said:

The Hampton resident is no stranger to competitive kitchen work, having appeared on ABC-TV’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show” at Christmastime 2015.

Thank you!  I thought she looked familiar too but I watch so many cooking competitions that I've started to think everyone looks familiar and has at least been on Chopped.  :)  

I liked her but I thought the young man's tree was more attractive.  

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29 minutes ago, mlp said:

I liked her but I thought the young man's tree was more attractive.  

I actually liked the sort of crazy sloppy tree best. I thought the winning tree looked amateurish, except for the "ornaments"

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kj4ever, your cookies look amazing!  You should be on this show!  Would you tell me, please, where did you find gold icing for those beautiful trees?

BTW, I wanted the recipe for the one woman's butter pecan cookies.  I think I looked everywhere on the FN site but never found it or any other recipes from this show.  Has anyone seen any?  Thank you.

Edited by Lura
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On one of the other shows he judged, his comment was, "I don't like gingerbread." That was it; nothing constructive at all. So, when he got gingerbread this time and exclaimed that if he was going to make gingerbread cookies, he wanted them to taste like those ones, I was surprised and a bit pleased. 

I didn't care for him a quarter as much as Giada did, but didn't expect him to be the dead weight he ended up being as a judge. He took the criticisms to heart, it seems, and that isn't always easy to do, so good job Damiano.

Ree's voice is absolutely awful on my television. There are some women's voices that sound terrible and screechy, and she is one of them. I've actually tried to adjust it to no avail. Her voice is annoying on my son's television, but it's nails-on-the-chalkboard on mine. She's hard to tolerate so I mute her, but fortunately, they spend more time on the cookie makers then the judges.

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I want to like this show. I like Eddie, Damiano, and Ree (agree about her voice though. Its why I can't watch her show.), and I can't imagine how difficult the challenges are to complete in a short time, but the end results do not look like professional bakers made them. On the last episode, a Christmas tree that looked like an elmentary school student's incomplete project won over a better looking Christmas tree. The whole show seems rushed and more like a local production than a Food Channel production.

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Damiano didn't bother me much as a judge here. He seems to have learned from his criticisms. 

I know I'm not good enough to be on one of this baking shows, primarily because of the ridiculous time limitations and extra challenges, but seeing @kj4ever's cookies makes me have to acknowledge that I'm not creative or artistic, either. I typically lie to myself about that so I can snark and criticize the bakers more. : )

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15 hours ago, Lura said:

kj4ever, your cookies look amazing!  You should be on this show!  Would you tell me, please, where did you find gold icing for those beautiful trees?

BTW, I wanted the recipe for the one woman's butter pecan cookies.  I think I looked everywhere on the FN site but never found it or any other recipes from this show.  Has anyone seen any?  Thank you.

Thanks!  I just used white royal icing and after it was dry I mixed luster dust with a small amount of clear vanilla extract until it was a "painting" consistency and then with a little small brush I painted them.

Yes, it's a tedious as it sounds but it looks so beautiful!  People always ask how much they are and there is no way I could make them for a living...lol  I just do it at Christmas time for presents for neighbors, family, etc.  I'm convinced I get the best mail/garbage service in my town because of my cookies :)

I was pretty shocked that all of those were the final cookies.  None of them really wowed and I thought Nicole's white tree was a hot mess.  Here's hoping that next week's episode is better!

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I haven't been impressed with any of the contestants, & is it just me, or does anyone else dislike cookies with an inch of icing on them? I think it's just too much, I want to taste cookie, not pure sugar.

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On 11/15/2017 at 10:57 AM, dleighg said:

She (Nicole Silva) looked familiar to me too. Here's why:

The Hampton resident is no stranger to competitive kitchen work, having appeared on ABC-TV’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show” at Christmastime 2015.

Thank you! It's interesting how the same people go on multiple shows.

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9 hours ago, Christina said:

I know I'm not good enough to be on one of this baking shows, primarily because of the ridiculous time limitations and extra challenges, but seeing @kj4ever's cookies makes me have to acknowledge that I'm not creative or artistic, either. I typically lie to myself about that so I can snark and criticize the bakers more. : )

Christina, don't put yourself down.  We all have to start somewhere.  I'm just beginning!  All my mom ever taught me was to sprinkle the cookie with some colored sugar. Kj4ever, thank you for the tip.

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2 hours ago, Lura said:

Christina, don't put yourself down.  We all have to start somewhere.  I'm just beginning!  All my mom ever taught me was to sprinkle the cookie with some colored sugar. Kj4ever, thank you for the tip.

Same here. I bought a pastry bag and I'm struggling to learn how to use it. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said about gardening: "But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."

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On 11/16/2017 at 5:20 PM, peacheslatour said:

Same here. I bought a pastry bag and I'm struggling to learn how to use it. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said about gardening: "But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."

I learned from Craftsy... two years ago I had no clue what I was doing and learned to help my nephew because they wanted like $5 each for those wedding cake cookies! It just takes practice after you learn a few techniques!

I agree with to much icing some of the cookies on this show had waaay to much!

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Damiano was much more improved, calm, cool, and collective on this show then he was on the other shows.

I hate to say this but I will have to be in the same house with you guys about Ree Drummond's voice. I know it grates!

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So what is the deal with this show? My DVR picked up an episode on Saturday afternoon with a totally different host and judges as well as a different format (3 rounds). There seems to be no continuity. But the show had the same title and my guide showed it as a new episode, S1, Ep 3. So confusing!

Edited by Jillybean

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I'm confused too.  I didn't see the show on Saturday but they're showing a rerun of last week's cookie challenge right now.  

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9 hours ago, Jillybean said:

So what is the deal with this show?

From the press release, Food Network changed the format to a series this year.

Quote

In Christmas Cookie Challenge, premiering Monday, November 6th at 10pm ET/PT, host Eddie Jackson challenges festive and talented cookie makers in this seasonal seven-episode competition.  In each episode, five daring cookie makers must prove their holiday skills through two rounds, as lead judge Ree Drummond, joined by a rotating panel of guest judges, including Kimberly Bailey, James Briscione, Damiano Carrara, Dan Langan, Jamika Pessoa, Jordan Pilarski, Aarti Sequeira and Joy Wilson, determine which baker will have the best Christmas ever, walking away with a $10,000 prize.

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Well, in the episode that aired on Saturday, Justin Willman was the host (not Eddie Jackson) and Duff was one of the judges (I didn't recognize the other two). The inconsistent format (Saturday's ep had three rounds, the first two episodes had two rounds), host, judges, and time slot make this all very strange.

Edited by Jillybean

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1 minute ago, Jillybean said:

Well, in the episode that aired on Saturday, Justin Willman was the host (not Eddie Jackson) and Duff was one of the judges (I didn't recognize the other two). The inconsistent format (Saturday's ep had three rounds, the first two episodes had two rounds), host, judges, and time slot make this all very strange.

That episode was apparently from 2015 and lists Jonathan Bennett as the host. I did see some of it when I checked to see what was on FN at the time. IMDB says Ali Sweeney hosted the one from 2016.

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Thanks for clearing that up. My beloved TiVo said it was a new episode from 2017 so I was confused too. I enjoyed watching it though.

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2 hours ago, Jaded said:

That episode was apparently from 2015 and lists Jonathan Bennett as the host. I did see some of it when I checked to see what was on FN at the time. IMDB says Ali Sweeney hosted the one from 2016.

Good to know and yes, I was wrong about the host. My DVR also picked it up as a new episode and it was listed as such in my guide.  I will say the cookies were much better than this year's! 

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I thought the 3 finalists in this episode—Peter, Andrea and Tanya—were all massively talented.  Peter, so young (own bake shop at 21!!); Andrea, bakes gorgeous cookies out of her home; Tanya, Russian and only been in America for 2 years.  I would’ve chosen Andrea to win with her cookie taste being much better than Tanya’s dry cookies in both rounds. 

Tanya in the sky high heels, mini skirt and tights did not seem dressed for baking but proved my theory wrong, I guess. 

The two eliminated in the first round were way overmatched by the three finalists.  Very nice folks but just a huge step down  in abilities from what I saw.  

Ree’s hair and makeup were so much better. I liked Kimberly as a judge and Damiano is trying very hard.  Enjoyed this episode. 

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I'm watching the newest episode & during the decorating challenge, one of the contestants uses a toothbrush to create texture on her cookie.  I can't stop wondering where the toothbrush came from. Did she bring it with her? Was it part of the equipment? Did she get it from someone on the crew? it really bothers me LOL

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I really wanted Peter to win. His cookies looked (and, from the judges' comments, tasted) the best. It really bugged me that Eddie kept calling him "Cookie Howser." He's 26, not 16!

I don't know how dry gingerbread was the winner.

Edited by Jillybean
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I thought Peter should have won too.  I thought he did the best overall, especially his tableau.  Tanya's matryoshka doll cookie was beautiful but, apparently, dry and I didn't care for her other creations much.  (not sure I spelled "matryoshka" right but I've seen it spelled so many ways that I feel safe without looking it up LOL)  

I remember seeing Peter before on some other show but I don't remember where.

Ree looked a lot better this week.

Edited by mlp
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The lacework was awesome but the purple palette looked awful to me. I hate to go all Nancy Fuller on y'all but purple isn't Christmas-y.

Peter totally should have won and all I could think was that the producers were short one brunette woman baking her heritage or one over on young guys.

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Tanya winning was a case of presentation beating out taste (dry in both rounds).  I disagree with that decision (have had many beautiful cookies and breathtaking wedding cakes that disappointingly did not taste good so that's a NO for me).  I suspect that her Russian doll and gingerbread house were truly beautiful "in person".  Certainly unique and kudos on her artistic ability, but I don't think she should have won.

Edited by MerBearHou
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42 minutes ago, MerBearHou said:

Tanya winning was a case of presentation beating out taste (dry in both rounds).  I disagree with that decision (have had many beautiful cookies and breathtaking wedding cakes that disappointingly did not taste good so that's a NO for me).  I suspect that her Russian doll and gingerbread house were truly beautiful "in person".  Certainly unique and kudos on her artistic ability, but I don't think she should have won.

I so agree! I used to buy beautifully decorated individually-wrapped and over priced cookies from an upscale grocery store for the next door kids. Then one day I was at lunch at a cafe that also had its own bakery and bought some of their decorated and wrapped cookies for the kids. When the kids opened the cookies from cafe and took a bite out of these, one of the kids said "Now THESE are good!" I knew then that the grocery store ones were tough and tasteless...just on sale for show. Kids are so honest! So, yes, taste and texture over decoration.

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I know we "eat with our eyes" first but I hate it that the judges had to chug water after eating her food yet she still won.

I was glad to see the talent was much, much better on this episode.  It makes you wonder if last week made the producers cringe because nothing they made looked decent at all.

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On 11/19/2017 at 1:26 PM, Simon47 said:

Damiano was much more improved, calm, cool, and collective on this show then he was on the other shows.

I hate to say this but I will have to be in the same house with you guys about Ree Drummond's voice. I know it grates!

You know I had his season of Spring Baking Championship on my Amazon Prime and watched a few of them the other day.  His speech wasn't nearly as exaggerated (see Paula Deen and her Sooooooonnnny Booooeeeey routine) and he could be almost downright humble and playful.

I'm starting to think he was a victim of the FN Caricature Machine for awhile there and someone knocked some sense into him.

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