Today: Jun 17, 2024

Renee Pettway wins the title of Queen of Cookies

Kendra BakerStaff Writer

Eight students and six faculty and staff members each baked 144 homemade cookies in a competition to earn the title of 2006 Cookie King or Queen in the Multicultural Center’s first ever Holiday Cookie Bake-Off.

“The objective of the bake-off was to bring people together and the best way to do that is by finding commons likes, and everyone likes cookies,” said Aaron Washington, assistant dean of Student Affairs, who came up with the idea of the cookie bake-off six years ago when he was the director of Multicultural Affairs.

Dian Brown-Albert, coordinator of multicultural student activities, said the cookie bake-off became a signature program for the Multicultural Center.

“[The first bake-off] was a very positive event for the campus,” said Brown-Albert. “It gave people an opportunity to meet other people from the campus and also enjoy cookies.”

The Multicultural Center decided not to host the annual bake-off event last year, but intended to continue the annual program this year. However, this year’s Holiday Cookie Bake-Off—which was scheduled to take place on Nov. 28 in the pre-function area of the Adanti Student Center ballroom—was cancelled due to lack of contestant participation.

Photo Courtesy | cheryls.com
Photo Courtesy | cheryls.com

Renee Pettway, freshman mathematics major, was the only contestant out of the 13 who signed up to actually submit cookies into the competition, and thus won the bake-off by default.

Pettway, who baked German chocolate cookies for the event, said after being notified that she won by default, she felt relieved to find out the event was cancelled.

“I would’ve felt weird with the whole event centered around just me, [although] I was looking forward to dressing up [in an] apron and hat for a picture and meeting everyone,” said Pettway. “I wonder what kind of cookies everyone else intended to make.”

Brown-Albert said this was the first time that so many people who signed up for the bake-off didn’t follow through.

“In previous years, the event has been well-received and the turnout is usually pretty good,” said Brown-Albert. “The bake-off has normally been held during the first week of December, but the school year calendar changed, so finals are right around the corner—we think that might have had an effect on the 13 people who originally signed up.”

Brown-Albert said she looked forward to tasting the cookies as well as learning about the cookies, since contestants are required every year to bake cookies using original or customized recipes.

“At the bake-offs, you get to taste all kinds of unique cookies and often get a little history about the recipes,” said Brown-Albert, who added that in previous years, contestants have used cookie recipes that have been passed down in their families for centuries.

“Not only are the stories behind the cookies really interesting, but so are some of the recipes themselves—you wouldn’t even think to put some of the ingredients that some contestants use in their recipes.”

Pettway said she came up with the idea to bake German chocolate cookies after she baked German chocolate cakes and decided she wanted to try to make it into a cookie, so she modified a chocolate cookie recipe she found online.

When Pettway went to sign up for the bake-off, she said she promised Brown-Albert she wouldn’t drop out of the competition.

“She [Brown-Albert] sort of gave me that extra push, and although 144 cookies [was] a lot to bake, I managed to do it,” said Pettway, who not only received the title of Cookie Queen, but also won $150. “Winning by default isn’t the worst—it showed me how determination and perseverance can pay off.”

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