Top of the (Holiday Cookie) Swap

By: Cooking Channel

And we have a winner! We are pleased to announce that after testing and trying the top ten finalists in our Holiday Cookie Swap, we've determined whose cookie was Top of the Swap (drumroll, please...):

Congratulations to Maksimilian Tomov! His Graham Cookies Recipe and story was selected as our winner. He'll be soaking up some sun when he travels to Florida for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

We want to thank everyone who entered and voted in our Holiday Cookie Swap. With your participation, we had over 300 entries and over 3,000 votes (who doesn't love cookies?). Be sure to give Maksimilian's cookie recipe a try yourself.

Maksimilian’s Graham Cookies

Makes about 25 cookies

One of the things I remember as a child is going to lots of weddings and eating a lot of delicious cookies. My mother was never very good at baking, so I always made sure I had enough cookies to keep me happy until the next event.

The weddings were a sort of a show-off and a silent contest for the best cookies. Nothing could make a woman happier than her empty tray! I liked most of the cookies, but it was the "Biscuit Balls" (that's what they were called) that I just could not stop eating!

I decided to recreate this recipe by memory, trying to remember the sensation from the taste I experienced every time I popped one in my mouth. Trying to authentically reproduce this recipe was a little hard since the last time I tried them was about 25 years ago, I was a child and this all happened in Bulgaria (Eastern Europe).

While I wanted to keep the flavor of the cookies I deliberately changes few things. I swapped the original coating of the cookies, which was powder sugar ( I have never been a huge fan of it), for chocolate coating with coconut flakes. I thought that also gave the cookies more contemporary look!

- 5oz Tea Biscuits (finely ground)
- 4oz Graham Crackers (finely ground)
- 5oz Butter (room temperature)
- 4oz Walnuts (finely chopped)
- 2oz Crystal Sugar
- 3 Tbsp Whole Milk
- 1 tsp Baking Cocoa Powder
- 7oz Nutella (melted in water bath)
- Coconut Flakes

In a bowl (or stand mixer) mix in the finely ground Tea biscuits and Graham crackers. Add softened butter.

Continue mixing while adding the walnuts, sugar and cocoa powder.

Mix in the last three very well. Start adding whole milk spoon by spoon. The mixture is ready when the sugar

crystals have dissolved.

Make small balls 1 - 1.25 inch in diameter. Put the balls in the fridge for 1 hour. Melt Nutella (in water bath) and

dip the balls into the chocolate first, and then the Coconut flakes. Do not make a very thick chocolate coat in

order to keep the biscuits flavor. Quickly return to fridge for another 1 hour before serving.

*Update: In response to your questions, we wanted to take a moment to explain how the winner was selected. The ten (10) eligible recipes that receive the highest number of total votes became finalists which were then tested and evaluated. The winner was selected:: (a) 25% based on taste; (b) 25% based on creativity; (c) 25% based on appearance; and (d) 25% based on practicality (per the rules).  Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

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