I've missed writing on Tidbits. But, I had orders that needed attention. And, I had to organize our tax information. Yucky taxes. I promised myself that as soon as I got the tax stuff done, I'd reward myself with a little coffee and blogging time. I feel so happy right now.

I have made a few cool cookie donations over the last few months and I wanted to show you those projects. I was happy to make the cookies and help out a few great organizations. My favorite project is the last one...so read to the end if you want to know the super secret ingredient at the Penn State "Iron Chef" Competition.
 
A few monts ago, I was contacted by a representative from the Ringtown Senior Center. They do a program with their seniors called 'Taste and See'. They invited me in to share cookies with their members and to talk about starting my business. Well, a trip to Ringtown didn't fit into my schedule, but my cookies were happy to make the trip!  I sent them two boxes of my colorful Easter cookies. 

   

Here's the sweet note I received in return...

Hi Anne
J
ust picked up the box of cookies at the post office....I felt like it was Christmas morning....I was just so excited to open the box to see the cookies.  All I can say is Thank You....they are so beautiful....I can't wait to share them.  I never really checked out your total website until now.   Be assured that I will definitely promote your website....I can not believe how great it is.  Keep up the great business.

All my blessings
Sincerely,
Bev

Thanks, Bev. I think you're great, too! Keep up your great volunteering work with those seniors. I'm sure they love you!

Then I got a request from my previous employer, the Builders Association of Central Pennsylvania. I worked as their Executive Officer for almost 5 years and then left to start my family. They were wonderful to me and I made some really great friends through the organization. They host the Children's Building Contest at their Annual Home Show. They needed almost 100 cookies to share with the little kids that would be building projects out of Legos and Lincoln Logs. 

Since the contest was only a few days before the first day of Spring, I donated 96 Spring Chicks in Pink, Blue and Yellow.



Here's what was posted on The Flour Box Bakery facebook page after the contest...

Jessica: 
Had one of your yummy cookies yesterday at the home show. It was so cute, I barely had the heart to bite the head off - but I did!
March 15 at 2:08pm 
Flour Box Bakery
Flour Box Bakery 
So funny! Glad you liked the spring chick! I had fun making those!
March 15 at 3:25pm · 
Abbie: 
YES! And then I went to give away an extra cookie to a Little Sister of a Builder and had to tell her to NOT take the cookie with the HEAD bitten off! Hahaha. They were awesome, Anne, thank you so much!

The chicks kept me busy, especially since the donation fell during the same week as St. Patrick's Day orders. I managed fine, of course. But I was up to my ears in cookies that week!

Just last week I donated a gift certificate for a free cookie gift and a 1/2 dozen cookies to A Women's Concern, a State College pregnancy crisis center. The director of AWC is a friend of mine. She was organizing a big dinner for 340 donors and they were also hosting a silent auction with the event. 

I made cute pink and white onesies with the AWC logo on it. Didn't grab a picture, but the onesies looked a lot like this...



This was a recent donation, so I haven't had a chance to chat with my friend about the cookies. I did hear through the grapevine that the entire event was a big success. Great Job, Jenny!

Okay, it's time to reveal the secret ingredient used during the Penn State "Iron Chef" competition. I'm a big fan of the Food Network's Iron Chef program. So when I got this call and found out that the event benefits the State College Food Bank, I was all in!

The secret ingredient was...APPLES!!



I was given the secret ingredient a week before the competition. I had to keep it a secret because the contestants did not find out until a few minutes before the contest started. I was told they would be given a variety of apples...so I decided to make red and golden delicious apples. (in case you were wondering, I believe the apples used during the contest were donated by Way Fruit Farm.)

I wanted to make these cookies super special because they were going to be included in the winner's prize baskets. I decided to make an apple, a bushel of apples, and a chef hat.

The apple was easy. I had made those for Back to School last year and I already had the cookie cutter.



But, the bushel...not so easy. I didn't have a cookie cutter for that and I couldn't find one either. So I looked online and found this image:



So I had to hand-cut ALL the bushel cookies ...



... and I came up with this...

  

I also wanted to make the chef hat and didn't have a cutter for that either.

So I hand-cut more cookies...



And came up with these Chef Hat Cookies. [For any Cake Wrecks readers...I was asked by my Penn State rep to put "Iron Chef" in quotes so that they weren't infringing on the Food Network Iron Chef title. I did as requested.]



Here is one last group photo.


Here is the thank you note I received from the donation..

Hi Anne,
I'm happy to report that we had a successful event, in part, thanks to you! Your cookies were a hit! I can't tell you how many times I walked by the prize table displayed with your cookies and wanted to swipe one! They looked so adorable and smelled so delicious!!! I was super tempted to only award each team 5 cookies each. ( :

Please check out the following links for press coverage. $3429 was raised both from team entry fees and from prize raffles. The Nutrition Graduate Student Association and the State College Area Food Bank thanks you for your support.

http://www.centredaily.com/2010/03/28/1879955/iron-chef-contest-helps-food-bank.html

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2010/03/29/cooking_contest_benefits_food.aspx

Much success to you,

Pao Ying Hsiao

Thanks, Pao. I'm happy to help! I really believe in the Food Bank's mission and I have supported them through personal efforts as well.

I will have more donations coming in the future. I budget for a certain amount each month, and I am already booked through the summer! 

I am just happy that I can say I am changing the world one cookie at a time.

Have a sweet day,
Anne