What does it take to win a cookie contest at a conference of home economists? Passion, creativity and determination of course! Second year Food and Nutrition student from Ryerson, Katie Brunke possesses all three traits; but it was her recipe for combining flavours reminiscent of one’s childhood, that secured her Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich Cookies in first place.
22 other home economists entered the Canola Growers Cookie Contest at the Ontario Home Economics Association conference recently. Proof of the contest’s success was in the cookies. Katie won first place, and there were not one, but TWO runner-ups!
Katie’s goals include finishing her 4 year BA in Food and Nutrition at Ryerson, complete an internship with a hospital and then begin working as a Dietician. Writing cookbooks is also an aspiration. Judging from her winning recipe, she is well on her way.
When Katie heard about the contest, she knew she wanted to make a sandwich cookie. She says her mom was kind enough to spend a Sunday afternoon testing recipes with her. She recalls it took four batches to come up with the perfect cookie. But why peanut butter and bananas? “Peanut butter and banana is such a great combo and I wanted to incorporate it,” she says. Her first concept involved banana oatmeal cookies on the outside with peanut butter icing. “After the first batch came out I took a bite and knew they weren’t winners,” she laughs. That changed the outcome of her final recipe. “They were far too crumbly so we flipped the concept and made peanut butter cookies with banana cream cheese frosting on the inside,” she explains. She loved the outcome and was really happy with the final product. Clearly, so did the judges.
” I was very surprised and proud that my cookies were chosen,” she beams. “I was thrilled when Mairlyn announced that I won!
A well deserved win. Her love for the kitchen shines through in her cookies so I ask her 5 Questions to find out more about what sparks her passion.
Q. 1 – When did you realize you were passionate about food and nutrition?
I originally went to school for fashion design but I realized I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought. My love for cooking grew throughout the years, and my passion for food and healthy eating has grown ever since.
Q. 2 – What’s the one meal that always makes your family or friends smile?
I am constantly cooking new things. So at work when I pull out my lunch, my coworkers perk up and want to try my latest creation because they enjoy my cooking. I’d also have to say I make good curries.
Q. 3 – If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I travelled to South America for three weeks in 2008. I visited a few different countries and I would love to go back and explore their cuisine a bit more. At the time I wasn’t a vegetarian but I am now. I would also like to explore Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.
Q. 4 – What is your favourite kind of cuisine?
I love Ethiopian food for a few reasons. I like that it is really healthy; it includes a lot of vegetarian dishes, beans, lentils and other pulses. I also love the fact you get to use your hands to eat, it puts you closer to the food and you often share big plates with the people you’re with. I find eating Ethiopian food to be very interactive and social, making for a different experience altogether .
Q. 5 – What’s your biggest culinary blunder?
I bought okra on a whim once and decided to throw it into a stew I was making. It turned out bad, I was grossed out by its texture and couldn’t even eat the stew. I’ve steered clear from okra ever since.