New York, New York – February 10, 2015 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced Barnes & Noble customer Kathryn Forcey from San Jose, CA, who created the Triple Ginger Spice Crinkles cookie, as the winner of the first annual ‘Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off!’ Barnes & Noble received thousands of unique cookie recipe submissions from across the country for this contest, and the three lucky finalists presented their cookies for judging to a panel of celebrity chefs at an exciting event at Barnes & Noble Union Square on Monday night. After much deliberation from the panel, which included notable chefs and personalities Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Sharon Vanegas (The Red Cat) and more, Kathryn Forcey was crowned as the winner and received the $2,500 prize. She will have her Triple Ginger Spice Crinkles, a refreshingly delicious cookie made with fresh, candied and ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and nutmeg, produced and sold at Barnes & Noble Cafés during the 2015 holiday season.
“My sister is a Barnes & Noble Member and she got a notification about the Bake-Off and said I should enter my Triple Ginger Spice Crinkles. I did it on a whim and when Barnes & Noble called me I couldn’t believe it,” said Kathryn Forcey, winner of the first annual Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off! “It was really exciting to come to New York City and have the judges pick my cookie, and also to know that it will be on sale at Barnes & Noble stores across the country this holiday season.”
“We’re thrilled to announce Kathryn Forcey as the winner of the first annual Cookie Bake-Off! and to have the support of a fantastic panel of celebrity chefs in putting together a fun event and judging the cookies,” said Jason Giagrande, Vice President of Café Operations at Barnes & Noble. “Congratulations to Kathryn on creating an unforgettable Triple Ginger Spice Crinkles cookie that will be on sale at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide this holiday season and to the other two finalists who baked wonderful cookies that will be featured along with the top 75 recipes in the upcoming Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off Book from Sterling Publishing.”
The first annual ‘Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off!’ was a unique contest where customers across the country had the opportunity to submit their cookie recipes at Barnes & Noble Cafés nationwide, and online at BN.com, between December 4, 2014, and January 1, 2015, for a chance to win. All of the thousands of submissions were reviewed by a culinary team and narrowed down; first to the top 75, then the top 10 and finally the top three finalists.
The top three finalists, Sandra Arevalo from Crystal Lake, IL, Rebecca Schenck from Cypress, TX, and the winner, Kathryn Forcey, were flown to New York City for the finals where they made their cookies with a chef at a private kitchen. Sandra Arevalo created the OMG Cookie – a chocolate chip delight with extra homemade toffee, snack size pretzels and salted caramel, while Rebecca Schenck created the Coffee Break – a tasty treat for coffee lovers with Kahlua, espresso powder, chocolate chips and more.
They then presented the cookies for judging to a panel of renowned chefs and food writers, including Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl), Jonathan Waxman and Heather Miller (Barbuto), Johnny Iuzzini (author of Dessert FourPlay and Sugar Rush), Jimmy Bradley and Sharon Vanegas (The Red Cat) and Sandy Solmon (CEO and Founder of Sweet Street Desserts), along with food experience writers Gennaro Pecchia and Alan Watts from Men Who Dine, before one was named the winner.
Here’s what the judges had to say about the contest, the three finalists and the winner:
- Joey Campanaro: “All three cookies exceeded my expectations. I thought that the ginger cookie was the winner because it was a very unique cookie. Actually, it was a very misleading cookie because it’s the kind of cookie you could eat all day long. Kathryn was able to achieve that by finding the perfect use of coriander and ginger.”
- Jonathan Waxman: “All of the finalists really nailed it. Sometimes the problem with home bakers on a stage like this is that they can get nervous and tend to undercook them – but all of the finalists baked their cookies perfectly. And they all came up with unique recipes like using pretzel pieces or mixing in coffee flavors or ginger spices.”
- Heather Miller: “Overall the cookies were really great and I was very impressed. It’s fantastic to think that people are making creative recipes like this at home in their kitchens.”
- Johnny Iuzzini: “I think the three cookies went across the spectrum of what a cookie should be. We had chewy, cakey and crunchy and I was very impressed by the technique and the use of light and fresh ingredients. When you describe a cookie with a certain flavor you have to make sure that flavor pops, and the ginger cookie really didn’t let us down.”
- Sharon Vanegas: “The finalists put a lot of thought and creativity into their recipes. The winner was fantastic – she had a very different approach to a spicy cookie.”
- Jimmy Bradley: “I thought it was really great to have these women come to New York and they all did well. The three finalists created great cookies and the fact that the winner was able to use ginger three different ways in her recipe was remarkable.”
- Sandy Solmon: “These cookies actually beat my expectations and I was surprised by them all. I love the idea of someone at home perfecting their recipes over the years and I thought it was exceptional how Kathryn nailed the spices in the Triple Ginger Spice Crinkles – that’s really difficult to do.”
- Gennaro Pecchia: “All three cookies felt like a loving hug in the morning! The OMG cookies would get me to church on time!”
- Alan Watts: “These finalists brought it, they really created exceptional cookies and I would eat any of them all day long.”
The three finalists also received a new Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK®. In addition, the top 75 recipes submitted to the contest will be featured in The Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off Book, coming in 2015 from Sterling Publishing.
To view pictures and videos from the finals, follow Barnes & Noble on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, or like Barnes & Noble on Facebook, and search the hashtag #BNCookieBakeOff. For more information on the Barnes & Noble Cookie Bake-Off! and all of the great offerings at the Barnes & Noble Café, customers can visit BN.com/Café. At the Barnes & Noble Café, customers can relax and enjoy delicious food and drinks in a welcoming Café setting, including Starbucks beverages, desserts from the Cheesecake Factory Bakery, fresh-baked cookies and scones, soup, sandwiches, pizza, quiche and more.