Cool Whip Gift Basket Winner Revealed!

After a long, drawn-out process, we finally have a winner for the free Cool Whip gift basket. I whittled down the entries to five contenders, made four, and offered up three to a judging panel of eight people. Together we all sampled the goods, and after some discussion and debate, we decided upon one pie to rule them all. Results after the jump… Continue reading

PIE FINALIST #4: Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie

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Last but not least in the Cool Whip gift basket contest (sorry, the margarita pie didn’t make the cut) is Penny’s Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie. The name alone was enough to get my stomach growling. I had never actually made an apple pie before; the closest being a run of apple cake/tart tatins last fall and an apple crisp I had made just two weeks ago in New York. Clearly I was very excited to take on the classic American apple pie. And no, there were no plans to violate it afterwards in honor of Jason Biggs.

Anyway, this crunchy caramel apple pie seemed quite alluring. Not only was it an apple pie, but it had pecans, caramel sauce, and the stuff that goes atop an apple crisp. All the elements for an awesome culinary experience were there. It all came down to me executing it. Would I be able to tame the fickle apple beast? Pics after the jump…

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PIE FINALIST #3: Chocolate Amaretto Crunch Pie

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The third pie in the Cool Whip gift basket contest seemed to be the most promising of the bunch. It’s the recipe that my friends and I gravitated to most: LynnB’s Chocolate Amaretto Crunch Pie. Made with chocolate, Amaretto, Amaretti cookies, and almonds, it looked to be the decadent and sophisticated pie that I knew I would love; the sort of thing I could recommend to Ina Garten or Martha Stewart (because I clearly will have that opportunity) without feeling a twinge of embarrassment.

However, just because something piques my interest doesn’t mean that it’ll actually turn out well. See the Chocolate Chili Meringue Pie disaster. Surely this recipe would fare better though. Nothing is ever a sure thing though…

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PIE FINALIST #2: Chocolate Chili Meringue Pie

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The second pie I made for the Cool Whip gift basket contest was a recipe that the readers en mass implored me to make: the chocolate meringue pie. Of all the pies, this was certainly one of the most intriguing, what with its spicy, savory elements adding a bit of surprise to the proceedings. The question, of course, was whether or not it would actually be any good. Needless to say, I can assure you that there was plenty of drama with this bad boy…

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PIE FINALIST #1: Turtle Pie

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The contest for the Cool Whip gift basket continues to move forward. Last week, I narrowed the field down to five semi-finalists, and of those five, I selected four finalists (I know, not a major whittling down of contenders). I then spent Thursday and Friday baking pie, culminating in an eight-person tasting Friday night. The race was close, and I can assure you that the final selection was not easy.

Before we get to that though, each pie gets its moment in the spotlight. The first recipe I attempted was Daner’s Turtle Pie. With only a handful of ingredients and three simple steps, it seemed like an ideal way to dip my toes into the proverbial pie waters. Pictures after the jump…

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Here Are Your Semi-Finalists For The Great Pie Contest

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About two weeks ago, I introduced a contest wherein readers could suggest pie recipes for me to make. Whoever submitted that piqued my interest the most would win an impressive gift basket from Cool Whip that features everything from Williams-Sonoma cookware to marshmallow fluff. Needless to say, the entries flooded in. There were more submissions than I could have ever expected, and the task of singling out just one pie recipe seemed difficult at the best. Plus, there was nothing fun about it for me. Sure, it would be easy for me to simply spend twenty minutes poring through the recipes and whittling the choices down to one, but where’s the joy in that? I knew I’d have to make more than one of these pies. That’s why I’ve decided to change things up a bit: I will now select three finalists, bake all three pies, and then have a tasting.

But of course, limiting to just three pies is a very difficult task. So difficult that I’ve only been able to winnow the group down to five recipes. However, I’m not sure I’m up to making five pies. I must now deliberate whether to take on an extensive pie process or simply cut down the list further. While I do that, check out the semi-finalists after the jump as well as their various pros and cons.

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Win An Enormous Gift Basket of Baking Goodies, Courtesy of Cool Whip!

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I’ve received a lot of cool swag from this blog, but the gift basket that Cool Whip sent me this week is easily one of the best things to show up at my doorstep. It came loaded with all sorts of baking goodies, and here’s the best part: they want to give an identical basket to one of my readers too. Yes, people, this is my Oprah moment. “You get a basket and you get a basket and you get a basket!!!” Except, um, they’re only giving away one; so it’s more like “YOU GET A BASKET AND YOU GET NOTHING AND YOU GET NOTHING AND YOU GET NOTHING!”

Anyway, if you want to win your very own basket of fun, check out the details after the jump…

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