Beaver Creek Village Experience, Cookie Time

Last season, Breckenridge resident Teri Sweetin spent most of her November swept up in Beaver Creek’s cookie madness. Judges had selected her recipe as one of the five finalists, requiring her to bake 1,000 cookies to prepare for the 13th Annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition. On competition day, she stood at her table waiting for the sweet rush, while hundreds of people waited in line for over an hour to test-taste, and vote, for the winning recipe. Once the floodgate opened, visitors consumed 5,000 cookies in about 20 minutes and chose Sweetin’s as the best.

“It was so fun,” Sweetin says. “It’s just like a scramble.”

Beginning of a Tradition

Beaver Creek’s annual Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition began in 2003, a natural addition to the ongoing après ski Cookie Time started in 1985. Originally, the freshly baked treat wasn’t a daily event; chefs only broke out the cookies during the resort’s 35 busiest mornings — though guests could score some if a lift stopped operating, or they ran into any other inconvenient snag.

Now, the aroma of warm chocolate chip cookies wafts through Beaver Creek’s base area every day at 3 p.m. during ski season. Skiers and riders of all ages swarm Cookie Time chefs as they serve up the gooey softness on silver platters, often sporting toques. They even surprise guests with morning cookies on peak winter days.

“Warm chocolate chip cookies are very welcoming and remind people of home,” says Sally Gunter, senior manager of communications at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Making the Cut

Every mid-October, Beaver Creek begins accepting potential signature recipes from bakers of all ages throughout the nation. Sweetin estimates it took her six to 12 different variations of Nestlé’s Toll House’s original recipe to create a mixture that made friends and family rave about her cookies. In fact, their praise, and urging from her daughter, who worked for Beaver Creek, led her to enter last season’s competition.

Judges base their ultimate decision on texture, taste, appearance and creativity of cookies.

“Every year, the winning cookie has its own unique taste,” Gunter says. “Everyone is encouraged to stay true to their cookie roots and bake from the heart. Judges can usually taste the love and effort.”

As Sweetin experimented with flour, sugar and liquid measurements, she aimed for just the right consistency — not too soft and not too crispy. She also blended chocolate chunks with chips for an extra dose of delight.

In addition to bragging rights, Sweetin won $1,000 in prize money. Contrary to popular belief, the resort doesn’t serve the winning cookie throughout the season. Rather, Beaver Creek maintains consistency year after year with its own “secret” recipe. But for the season, that year’s winner gets to claim the title of the best cookie, as well as have their recipe posted on www.beavercreek.com.

Free cookies are served to resort guests daily during the ski season at 3 p.m. at the base of the mountain. - Jon Resnick, Vail Resorts

This story was originally printed in the Beaver Creek Song Of Summer magazine and was written by Kimberly Nicoletti.