Our Holiday Cookie Contest: and the winners are... charities nationwide.

The theme of our annual King Arthur Flour holiday cookie decorating contest this year is snow people and ginger people.

And the big winners? People in need – all over the world.

This year, in addition to the usual King Arthur gift certificate prizes for the winning cookie decorators, we decided to really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. The five prize winners each received a $100 gift certificate – but more importantly, we invited each winner to specify a food-related charity of their choice, to which we’d make a donation.

The result? King Arthur Flour is donating $7,000 to five charities, ranging from a food bank in Vermont to a community gardening program in Kentucky.

So, how did it all work? Avid cookie bakers, working in either snowman or ginger person motif, chose one of five categories to enter: standout execution; celebrity lookalike; fun/humorous; kids (10 and under), and most creative.

Contestants decorated cookies, and posted their photos to an online voting site, where anyone could vote for their favorites.


The leading vote-getters in each category were then reviewed by King Arthur’s panel of judges, who selected five category winners; a grand prize winner from that group; and a personal favorite (judges’ pick).

The grand prize winner’s charity will receive $5,000; the other four finalists’ charities will each receive a $500 donation.

Without further ado, here are our contest winners.


  • Grand Prize Winner  
  • Winner, Standout Execution
  • Nancy Cross
  • Title: Hand-Painted Snowmen Cookies
  • Charity: Iron Gate Food Pantry, Tulsa, OK

“If we can feed everyone who comes through our gates hungry today, we consider ourselves successful,” says Iron Gate’s Web site. In addition, the site notes the pantry’s primary mission is food – a basic need. The soup kitchen provides a hot and nutritious meal every day. The food pantry distributes grocery bags every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And the kids’ pantry distributes kid’s packs along with regular groceries to families with children.


King Arthur Flour will donate $5,000 to Iron Gate Food Pantry. Congratulations, Nancy!


  • Winner, Celebrity Lookalike
  • Cathy Rehmeyer
  • Title: Olaf, from the movie “Frozen” (Cathy notes that Olaf is gluten-free!)
  • Charity: Grow Appalachia, Berea, KY

Grow Appalachia is planting the seeds for a sustainable future. Despite a rich agricultural history, family farming and gardening have become less popular and less profitable in Appalachia, limiting access to healthy, affordable food. Grow Appalachia seeks to solve pervasive food insecurity issues by restoring the relationship between the people and the land.

King Arthur Flour will donate $500 to Grow Appalachia. Congratulations, Cathy!


  • Winner, Fun/Humorous
  • Iris Lauber
  • Title: Soylent Green is People!
  • Charity: Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, Toledo, OH

The Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank partners with 300 member agencies in eight counties every year to fight hunger in northwest Ohio.

King Arthur Flour will donate $500 to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. Congratulations, Iris!


  • Winner, Kids (10 and under)
  • Bradford (VT) Elementary School 2nd Grade
  • Title: Potato Harvest from School Gardens Donated to Bradford Food Shelf
  • Charity: Bradford Food Shelf

The Bradford Food Shelf is a local food pantry feeding those in need in Bradford, VT, a rural town on the Connecticut River. Bradford Elementary School students regularly plant and tend a garden, then donate its bounty to the Food Shelf.

Said one contest voter, “The Bradford Elementary School Community does so much to give back to our town and our residents. It is not shocking that the children wanted to pay something forward and win a prize that would benefit so many families in our community that are struggling to make ends meet. These kids are the future leaders of our nation, and I for one know that the education in humanity and empathy that they are receiving is what is going to help them to be great men and women someday. Congrats kids, and thanks to the BES staff and teachers who go above and beyond in teaching our children to be better human beings.”


King Arthur Flour will donate $500 to the Bradford Food Shelf. Congratulations, Bradford 2nd graders!


  • Winner, Most Creative
  • Melissa O’Regan
  • Title: A Warm Heart
  • Charity: Hand of Hope, Fenton, MO

Hand of Hope, headquartered in Fenton, MO, feeds hungry people in the U.S., as well as in England, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Russia, and South Africa. The program  “serves hundreds of thousands of meals yearly through our feeding programs.”

King Arthur Flour will donate $500 to Hand of Hope. Congratulations, Melissa!


Considering all the stunning entries, it was really difficult to choose finalists. Our judges decided they’d each like to choose their own favorites. Each judge’s favorite will receive a $20 King Arthur Flour gift card.


  • June Glidden
  • Title: Plain and Simple
  • Judge: Brook Stewart, visual merchandiser

“I’m going to go with June’s Primitive snowman. It’s a unique design and very well done. I like the non-traditional use of royal icing. Plus, it looks like a lot of votes were from her customers who buy cakes and cookies from her adorable bakeshop in New Braintree, MA – and they say they are sooo tasty!  So, even though it may look like a wooden decoration, I bet it tastes great. : ) A true work of art.”


  • Michelle Dukes
  • Title: Snowball Fight!
  • Judge: MaryJane Robbins, baker/blogger

“They look like they’re headed off to be naughty. I like that in a snowman. : )”


  • Jacqueline Long
  • Title: Classic Snowman
  • Judge: Rebekah Phelps, graphic designer

“My favorite had to be Jacqueline’s Classic Snowman because it is just that, a classic snowman! I appreciate the simplicity of it and the way she used the icing to make it look like a nice plump snowman. Well done!”


  • Peggy Higgins
  • Title: Front View Snowman
  • Judge: Kristen Fenn, King Arthur Flour Bakery

“Classic elegance and clean details.”

Thanks, one and all, for decorating cookies, entering our contest, soliciting votes from your friends and family and, ultimately, helping to feed the hungry.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Charlotte Darwish

    I have no idea why you had people vote on the cookies they like. with the way the winners were picked its obvious you didn’t pick the winner according to the number of votes the cookie had. I think the whole thing is very unfair to the people who participated in the contest who made the cookies as well as the people who took their time to vote!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hello Charlotte! All of the cookies judged by our judges were ranked in the top of their category by the votes of our Facebook friends. The final decision did come down to the judges, but again they would not have had the selection to pick from if it had not been for everyone’s votes and of course the efforts made by all of the cookie contestants. Jon@KAF

  2. janet

    So many wonderful entries. I like that each judge’s choice is different from the others.’ Good reminder for all this time of year that differences should be celebrated! Kudos to KAF for supporting the contestant’s choice of charities.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Absolutely, Janet! We were happy to donate and hopefully we will be able to again for future contests. Jon@KAF

  3. Dawn

    Thanks for doing this. Your ompany is generous to do so. My one suggestion is to consider the message vs just the “pretty” decorations, especially given the topic. A pretty cookie is appealing, but its a little contrary to the message-the reality of those millions who don’t have pretty cookies to eat…
    Great that the selected charities benefit either way, so still a great big PLUS! Thanks again.

  4. Elizabeth VG

    Win or Lose my son really enjoyed decorating his first ever Gingerbread people, garnering votes for his charity and he’s already planning his next baking project. Thank you for the fun time!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I am glad to hear it, Elizabeth! Please feel free to post his next project when it is done. Jon@KAF

  5. Cathy Rehmeyer

    Thank you for sponsoring this contest and for giving to so many deserving charities! The submissions were so beautiful and inspiring. I especially enjoyed the Bradford Elementary School submission, not just for its creativity and teamwork, but because I learned about the wonderful work these kids are doing in their community. Have a joyous holiday season!

  6. Rachel

    The cookies are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures. It is great to share with others and allow all that would enjoy participating to be a part of making someone’s holiday better. I think that the donations are a wonderful idea. Everyone, but especially the children who participated, received a good life lesson that we can give of ourselves without always having to get something back. Thank you King Arthur Flour! That’s one of the reasons that I continue to do business with you guys.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I believe each entry used their own recipes; so I don’t believe we can get them. However, you can certainly use your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie recipes! We also have several on our recipe page. Jon@KAF

  7. June Glidden

    You folks at KAF did such a wonderful, fair job, with this contest! What great and generous gifts you gave to all those charities!! Good for you and good for them!!! Merry Christmas to all .. What SPIRIT!! june

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      And congratulations, June – love your “primitive” snowman. I’m up in Braintree all the time (my in-laws are there), I’ll have to stop by your bakeshop sometime! PJH

  8. Molly Stone

    I would be glad to share the gingerbread recipe that Bradford Elementary School used. The recipe belongs to the artist Tasha Tudor. It’s printed in a book about her entitled “Forever Christmas”. I make a few substitutions, however, to increase the nutritional content. Don’t be afraid to eat these cookies for breakfast! I have, and so have my kids. I like to share the nutritional wealth with other kids whenever I can, so I made this same recipe for the KAF decorating contest. The second graders got to eat their whole grain creations after lunch that day and I heard not one complaint. I encourage you to try it out. Don’t be afraid of using just whole wheat flour. I promise, it turns out delicious…even without frosting! Here’s exactly how I made the Bradford Elementary dough:

    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar (in the raw. It gives them a neat texture)
    3 backyard chicken eggs, well beaten
    1 1/2 cups Organic fair trade black strap molasses (Lot’s of good iron in BS Molasses!)
    6 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour (I don’t bother to blend with white flour)
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    2 1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp cinnamon (I use a generous spoonful. By generous I mean 2 tsp! Spice it up!)

    Cream the butter and add the sugar, eggs, and molasses. Sift the remaining ingredients into the mixture. Chill, roll out, and cut into shapes. Bake on sheets at 350 until dry not crisp ( I baked the cookies for 13 minutes). Decorate with frosting.

    My frosting is simply powdered sugar and water. A sprinkle of cinnamon in the frosting gives it a pleasant off-white color.

    Thank you King Arthur Flour. Your generous gift will benefit many people in our town. The kids were psyched to hear that they won during their Christmas assembly today. What a great lesson for them as well.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Molly, congratulations to your class, and thanks so much for sharing – your recipe here, your knowledge and generosity with the kids, and the bounty of the school’s gardens with the Food Shelf. VERY much appreciated! PJH

  9. Melissa O'Regan

    Oh my goodness! What a very fun contest with the most generous gifts to so many charities to feed the hungry. It really blesses me to have my cookies selected as one of the winners. It just makes my heart smile…so big! Thank you King Arthur Flour!!!

  10. Cathy Holtz

    Thank you King Arthur Flour for the opportunity to enter the Cookie Contest. Next year, I am going to choose The Red Cross for the Charity. Merry Christmas!

  11. Virginia Kristiansen

    This is delightful and inspiring to read. You are a wonderful and thoughtful company to have this contest and to donate to all these needy organizations and people. This is the true Christmas spirit. My favorite part of this season has always been baking.


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