Cook Off!

With potlucks abound during the holiday season, the following finalists made it to the office and a friend’s place. The pork stir fry, thrown together at the last minute for us, the cooks, stayed home. The pork was of course from pasture raised Vermonter pigs.

Fudge Brownies

These brownies are incredible! The recipe is from King Arthur Flour, also a Vermonter.


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe was adapted from a JIF recipe.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16-ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces


  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  • Cream together sugars, Jif and butter or margarine; beat in eggs.
  • Stir together flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture.
  • Beat just till well mixed. Stir in chocolate pieces.

  • Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake in 325ºF oven about 15 minutes or till lightly browned.
  • Cool slightly before removing from pan to cooling rack.
  • Makes 6 dozen cookies

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