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Heritage center picks 3 winning recipes in cookie contest
Cookies 025
From left, Eebie Cheshire Impeached Sand Tarts, Patti Petit’s Almond Slices and Linda Lloyd’s gluten-free Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookie were the winners in the cookie contest sponsored by the Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts in Helen. - photo by Photos by BRANDEE A. THOMAS

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Typically, art filling the gallery at the Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts is meant to be admired indefinitely.

But a recent contest brought a wave of less permanent pieces.

As a way to draw more visitors into the artists’ studio and gallery, the Helen art center hosted a cookie contest.

"We’re always looking for ways to bring more visitors in," said Jaymi Hampton, gallery artist.

"And this was a fun way to do it."

Although the contest was open to the public, in the end it would be area artists who stepped up to the plate to participate.

The winners of the competition were selected by gallery visitors, who after tasting the entries, cast their ballots for their favorite "gluten free," "crunchie munchie delicious" and "too pretty to eat, but we will anyway" cookies.

Linda Lloyd’s Chocolate-Chip Surprise Cookies took home first place in the gluten-free category.

"I learned how to make gluten-free (desserts) because I have friends with celiac disease. They can’t eat cake because of the gluten, but they can eat cookies and brownies," said Lloyd, a Clarkesville resident.

For her entry, Lloyd says she basically replaced the regular flour in a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe with a gluten-free version. She also added a few extras.

"I like to throw in dried cranberries for a contrast in texture," Lloyd said.

Patti Petit, who also tweaked a traditional recipe, was named winner of the crunchie munchie delicious category with her Almond Slices.

"For this contest, I used a variation of a recipe that received an honorable mention in a Domino’s Sugar baking contest about 30 years ago," said Petit, of Cleveland.

"Then I used chopped almonds, but for this cookie, I wanted a different texture, so I used almond flour. Since I changed the flour, I had to change up the other proportions in the recipe too."

For her Impeached Sand Tarts, Eebie Cheshire focused not only on the texture of her cookie, but also the look.

"The recipe itself is tried and true, but since I was entering them into the ‘too pretty to eat’ category, I knew I had to come up with an interesting presentation," said Cheshire, of Fairhope, Ala.

To boost the visual appeal of her cookies, Cheshire decided to mold her cookies in to the shape of a peach.

"I used a chow mein noodle for the stem," she said.

"I wanted to add color, but the peach (flavored) Jello was white, so I ended up using apricot Jello. I dusted them with confectioner’s sugar to make them fuzzy like real peaches."

Overall, there were about a dozen entries in the art center’s contest.

The center is a nonprofit, with the goal of promoting and supporting Georgia artists and their works. It is currently open Thursday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to purchasing completed artwork, gallery visitors can also observe daily demonstrations as the artists work on new pieces.

For more information, call 706-892-1033.