I hope you have your dentist on speed dial.
Seriously. It was painful (literally) trying to ignore the two cavities I’ve been neglecting. At The Bell House in Gowanus on Saturday, December 7th and again on Sunday the 8th, Matt Timms presented the “Cookie Takedown,” the quintessential dessert competition. So simple, yet so good! But classic the vast offerings were not: from 2:00-4:00PM on both days, $15 tickets allowed attendees unlimited samplings of the diverse, imaginative treats that over sixty local chefs dreamed into reality.
I only attended the Takedown on Saturday, but this December, I definitely plan to return for the second round. Trying just about thirty cookies was not satisfying enough when I knew that there were thirty new ones I’d miss out on tasting the following day. I had never been to the venue before, as I had regrettably missed the “Ice Cream Takedown” the previous July (I’m counting down the days until this year’s event on July 27). The Bell House was a cool space, very roomy and perfect for this event, filling up without overcrowding. There were plenty of places to sit and leisurely enjoy the sweets, whether on small chairs and couches or at either of the two bars. The photo booth was an added bonus—I obviously seized the opportunity to photograph myself and my best friend eating cookies to preserve our happy memories and full stomachs forever!
As for the cookies themselves, I was extremely impressed by the creativity and execution of several. My favorite was of the white-chocolate-chip-pistachio variety, even though they were on the smaller side. To my delight, the friendly chef at this station (Jason Rawlins) did not judge me for returning for three or four more of his “Grinch’s Revenge!” I tried to replicate this recipe at home a few days later with some success since I loved the flavor combination.
Others that ranked among my top bites included a “Chocolate Chip Nutella” by Marianne Ways and “Cinnamon Roll Cookie” by Mary Reed. I had never seen anything like a rosewater shortbread cookie before, so I give Amanda Bruchock props for incorporating a unique flavor. I loved the name “Fat Elvis” for Nina Allen’s creation, too. Several cookies had bacon, there was naturally a lot of chocolate used, and even one gluten-free option! Attendees voted the “Almond Linzer Torte” (Elizabeth Drann) number one, followed by “Butter Scotchy Scotch” (Chrissy Schewn). The official panel of judges, comprised of various professionals in the food industry, selected “Chocolate Chip Nutella” (Marianne Ways) as their winner, followed by “Gingersnap” (Kira McGinnis).
To wash it all down, The Bell House provided a complimentary Maker’s Mark eggnog. While neither of the key ingredients in this festive concoction is really my jam, I tried a few sips before deciding to stick with water. Other drinks were available for purchase at the bar for those interested. The atmosphere was lively yet relaxed, and two hours quickly flew by. If all my teeth fall out, I’d like to think it was well worth it.
By: Emily Giove