Eagle Eye staff judges (l-r) Emma Hoover, Haydn Loudenslager, Grace LeGars, and Ava Focht eating and grading entries on the first day of the cookie contest. (Todd Cammarata)
Eagle Eye staff judges (l-r) Emma Hoover, Haydn Loudenslager, Grace LeGars, and Ava Focht eating and grading entries on the first day of the cookie contest.

Todd Cammarata

Results of the Eagle Eye Christmas Cookie Contest

December 21, 2018

The first Christmas Cookie Contest at Tyrone has come to a close. The scores have been tallied, and the winners have been chosen.

The cookies were judged by Eagle Eye staffers Emma Hoover, Grace LeGars, Ava Focht, Haydn Loudenslager and a special guest judge, former Tyrone High School nurse and local expert baker Julie Patton.

Patton was impressed by all ten of this year’s entries.

“I enjoyed all of the cookies. Great flavor, and they were soft and chewy which is my personal preference in cookies,” said Patton, who has been baking cookies and cakes for friends and customers for many years.

Julie Patton judging cookies

Emma Hoover
Celebrity guest judge Julie Patton was impressed with the quality of the entries.

“I mostly learned to bake from my mom, who was also my 4-H leader when I was in elementary school. My grandmother and great grandmother lived next door and were also great bakers. I started to decorate cakes and cookies at age 13 when a friend of my mom taught be some techniques,” said Patton.

All the entries were delicious, and every baker should be proud of their cookies.

However, only one baker can win.

That baker is interim ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Karissa Budny.

Budny won over the judges’ taste buds with a her version of the classic chocolate chip cookie.

“They had large chocolate chips that blended really well with the flavor of the dough,” said judge Ava Focht.

The second place winners are senior Kolby Cowher and sophomore Kylin Hoover. Together they baked beatifically decorated gingerbread cookies that wowed the judges.

Third place was awarded to our very own Eagle Eye adviser Mr. Cammarata, for his chocolate chip cookies.

Guest judge Mrs. Patton had some advice for anyone new to baking.

“Beginners need to follow recipes closely. As you gain experience, then you can change things up and have more fun with ingredients,” said Patton.

The Eagle Eye would like to thank everyone who contest. Prizes for the winners will be presented after Christmas break.

The winners and their cookie recipes are posted below, and everyone is welcome to try these great cookies for themselves.

Merry Christmas Tyrone!

First Place: Mrs. Karissa Budny – Chocolate Chip Cookies


photo courtesy of Karissa Budney

Mrs. Budney's daughter Kynlee, who is nine, loves to bake, and helped her mom make the first place cookies.

Our first place winner got her start as a baker at a very young age with the help of her grandmother.

“My grandmother was an amazing baker,” said Budny.”We used to make the best apple pies together when I was a child.”

Budny must have inherited her grandmother’s skills because the judges all agreed that her chocolate chip cookies were delicious.

But why chocolate chip? Why not snicker doodle or decorated sugar cookies? Budny explains her reasoning.

“We are constantly looking for something new and better when really chocolate chip cookies rock!” said Budny. “And everyone knows chocolate chip cookie dough is the best raw.”

Christmas baking is a tradition for many families. It’s the perfect way for families to come together and get in the mood for the holiday season. With this, everyone has to have a favorite memory or thing about Christmas baking and Mrs. Budny is no different.

“My daughter, Kynlee, who is nine, loves to bake,” said Budny. “It is an awesome way for us to spend quality time together and create something that others can enjoy, as well.”

The judges loved her cookies because they were “soft, chocolaty, and all around amazing.”

The recipe, which Budny found on Pintrest, is as follows:


8 tablespoons of salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar (I like to use raw cane sugar with a coarser texture)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (more as needed – see video)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (but I always add a little extra)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use a combination of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Microwave the butter for about 40 seconds to just barely melt it. It shouldn’t be hot – but it should be almost entirely in liquid form.

Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated – 10-15 seconds or so (if you beat the egg for too long, the cookies will be stiff).

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to handle (right at the stage between “wet” dough and “dry” dough). Add the chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands.

Roll the dough into 12 large balls (or 9 for HUGELY awesome cookies) and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look puffy and dry and just barely golden.Warning, friends: DO NOT OVERBAKE. This advice is probably written on every cookie recipe everywhere, but this is essential for keeping the cookies soft. Take them out even if they look like they’re not done yet (see picture in the post). They’ll be pale and puffy.

Let them cool on the pan for a good 30 minutes or so (I mean, okay, eat four or five but then let the rest of them cool). They will sink down and turn into these dense, buttery, soft cookies that are the best in all the land. These should stay soft for many days if kept in an airtight container. I also like to freeze them.


The three most important things about this recipe are 1) melting the butter, 2) adding enough flour, and 3) not baking for too long.


About the Contributors
Photo of Grace LeGars
Grace LeGars, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Grace LeGars and I am a junior for the 2018-2019 school year. This is my first year being a part of the Eagle Eye staff. I am a varsity...

Photo of Haydn Loudenslager
Haydn Loudenslager, Staff Writer

Hello my name is Haydn. I am a junior who wears five watches for no reason at all. I spend most of my time at home playing video games, listening to music...

Photo of Emma Hoover
Emma Hoover, Features Editor

Hi, my name is Emma Hoover, and I am a Senior at TAHS.  This summer I was a Lifeguard at Delgrosso's Amusement Park.  During the school year, I’m a...

Photo of Ava Focht
Ava Focht, Staff Writer

Hi, my name is Ava Focht. This is my first year of Eagle Eye and I am a senior here at Tyrone. I am a four year veteran in POPS Extension and Drama Club....

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