Liz Meissner's Santa on his Way Cupcakes won Best Presentation at the 2012 Holliday Dessert Bake-Off. Recipes are due Friday for this year's baking contest.

John F. Russell/file

Liz Meissner's Santa on his Way Cupcakes won Best Presentation at the 2012 Holliday Dessert Bake-Off. Recipes are due Friday for this year's baking contest.

Holiday Dessert Bake-Off deadline Friday, community tasting Monday

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— There’s encouraging news for aspiring entrants in this year’s Holiday Dessert Bake-Off hosted by the Steamboat Pilot & Today: Meghan McNamara — winner of back-to-back Community Choice Awards in 2011 and 2012 (as well as the Best Cake Award in 2010) — won’t defend her titles.

Past Event

Holiday Dessert Bake-Off

  • Monday, November 18, 2013, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Olympian Hall, Howelsen Hill, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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McNamara said Thursday that she had just returned from vacation and hasn’t had time to think about topping last year’s winning recipe for Miss Paula’s Italian Creme Cake.

However, Megan Jonathans, of Finders Keepers, who took the miscellaneous category last year with her apple crumble cheesecake, is prepared to throw down with a more formal version of the classic cheesecake.

“Last year, I did cheesecake bars, they were really simple,” Jonathans said. “This year, I’m making a Cheery Cherry Cheesecake from scratch. It’s a homemade crust and a homemade topping.”

To register, visit ExploreSteamboat.com, click on the Holiday Dessert Bake-Off link and fill out the registration form, or stop by the newspaper office at 1901 Curve Plaza. You must submit your recipe by Friday.

The public is welcome to sample the baked goods and to vote on their favorite from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday at the Colorado Mountain College auditorium. The dessert with the most votes will result in a new Community Choice Award winner this year.

Pilot & Today Local Sales Manager Laura Tamucci predicted another big turnout.

“It’s a fun way to kick off the holiday season,” she said.

Tamucci grew up in Napa Valley, Calif., where her mother often baked a lemon meringue pie for the holidays using fresh Meyer lemons.

Last year’s best cookie winner, Robin Stone, won’t repeat the molasses sugar cookies of 2012, but at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, she was at the super market shopping for ingredients to bake, she’s just not sure what.

“I don’t know what I’m making,” Stone confessed. “I baked something for the kids last week, and they said it was awful.”

Then, she dropped a hint, saying she might dial down the sugar this year and enter a savory cookie (think herbal).

“I don’t know how the judges do it,” Stone said. “If I had to taste every cookie, oh-h-h-h!”

Other returning award winners this year include John Wither, who entered his first baking contest of his life last year and claimed the Best Cake award with his fresh apple cake.

As a child, his mother, Frances Wither, didn’t involve him as she baked date pinwheels and walnut crescents, but Frances would be proud this year as her son attempts to double up with a carrot cake. He tried it out just last week, and he’s optimistic about his chances.

Contestants and their desserts will be photographed. Participants can submit one entry per category, including pies, cakes, cookies and miscellaneous desserts.

A panel of community judges will determine the winners. Gift certificates will be awarded to the winners of Best Pie, Best Cake, Best Cookies, Best Miscellaneous Dessert, Best Presentation and Community Choice. Winners will be featured in the Steamboat Holiday Guide available Nov. 29.

This year's event is sponsored by Moxie, Steamboat Ace Hardware, Homesteader, Mountain Brew, CMC and KEZZ. 

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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