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Puttin' on The Mitts: Goodest Goodies of all - 1st- and 2nd-place winners announced

Eileen Pohlkamp of Pierz was the first-place winner of the Puttin' on The Mitts Goodest Goodie Contest. She submitted her recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Balls (or Bars). Photo by Jennifer Stockinger/Brainerd Dispatch.1 / 3
Reese's Peanut Butter Bars2 / 3
Coconut Swirls3 / 3

We melted. We shaped. We rolled. They ate. And voted!

We received a bunch of great no-bake goodie recipes for The Mitts' Goodest Goodies Contest. With so many delicious-sounding treats, we had a hard time narrowing it down to three—so we ended up making five different goodies recipes!

Our co-workers got the best end of that decision, enjoying our creations at the Brainerd Dispatch/Echo Journal Christmas party recently at the Brainerd American Legion. They served as our voting panel as well.

We're pleased to announce our first-place winner, Eileen Pohlkamp of Pierz, and our second-place winner, Sherri DeLaHunt of Nisswa.

Thank you to everyone who shared their Goodest Goodies with us—we love when we have the chance to show off what our talented readers are up to in their own kitchens.

There's still time to give these impressive and delicious goodies a chance to join your own holiday spread. Merry Christmas from The Mitts!

First place: Peanut butter balls (or bars)

We received this recipe from Eileen Pohlkamp of Pierz. While the employees of the Brainerd Dispatch and Echo Publishing were thrilled with all of their choices of no-bake goodies at the company Christmas party, these bars were the clear winner.

Since we were baking for the masses, we chose to make these in bar form, rather than the more labor-intensive balls. It worked like a charm, but if you wanted to roll the balls we're sure that would be delightful as well.

For us, one pan yielded about 50 pieces. They're rich enough that you don't need much more than a few bites.

Eileen said she wasn't sure where she got the original recipe, but she "revised it so it wasn't quite so sweet, cutting down on the powdered sugar and adding more graham crackers." Eileen said this recipe is always a big hit with the kids and it's easy and quick to make.

We have to agree on all accounts because these were a definite hit at our party.

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS (OR BARS)

• 1 cup butter

• 2 cups peanut butter

• 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

• 2 cups crushed graham crackers

• 1-12 ounce bag of chocolate chips

Melt butter and peanut butter over low heat.

Add powdered sugar and graham crackers.

Either roll balls or pat in a 9x13 pan.

Chill.

Melt chocolate chips.

Roll balls in melted chocolate and put on wax paper or spread over dough in pan.

Let set.

Second place: Coconut swirls

Sherri DeLaHunt of Nisswa submitted this recipe for coconut swirls.

"The recipe came from my mother, Delores Finden, and was always made at Christmastime," DeLaHunt wrote. "They were my late husband Bo DeLaHunt's favorite Christmas cookie."

We think this recipe could become a favorite for many people, especially those who are fans of coconut. But honestly, it was liked even by those skeptical of the coconut—which appeared to be many of our taste-testers. These were so delectable, however, what some may describe as a disadvantage of being coconut-based did not prevent these goodies from rising almost to the top of the vote-getters.

Again, we ended up with about 50 goodies from this recipe (we actually doubled it to ensure all our party guests got a taste!).

COCONUT SWIRLS

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 3 tablespoons water

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1/2 cup powdered/instant milk

• 2 cups powdered sugar

• 3 cups coconut

• 1-6 ounce bag chocolate chips

Melt better in 2-quart saucepan.

Take from heat and add water and vanilla.

Add powdered milk to powdered sugar.

Add milk/sugar mixture to butter mixture one-half cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in coconut.

Drop by teaspoonful on waxed paper.

Let stand about 10 minutes.

Melt a 6-ounce bag of chocolate chips and drop a dollop on each swirl.

Chill.

Variations: Use semi-sweet chocolate chips for a Mounds Bar-like cookie, or milk chocolate chips with an almond on top for an Almond Joy-like cookie. Use coconut-flavored almonds for added coconut flavor.

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