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Local Baker Takes On Food Network’s ‘Christmas Cookie Challenge’

Beth Hennington, of Madison, started a specialty cookie company called The Vanillian. Hennington specializes in creating highly detailed, decorated cookies for any occasion. A fan of the Food Network’s popular show, Christmas Cookie Challenge, Hennington convinced her husband several years ago to make an audition video to submit.

“The video was so cheesy. It was so bad,” laughed Hennington. “Captain Cookie is what I call my husband. dressed up like Santa, rolled out of our chimney to tell his top elf, me, of course, that I was selected to make cookies in the North Pole.”

Hennington sent in her audition tape three years ago! Thinking that the Food Network had passed on her video, she kept perfecting her skills, growing her business, and tuning in to each cookie challenge season.

“One night about seven o’clock,” shared Hennington. “The phone rang, and it was a producer for the Food Network. He said he didn’t know how this gem fell through the cracks but wanted me to be a part of season six.”

Next, Hennington went through an extensive interview process lasting nearly a year before flying out to the studio to film the show. Hennington filmed season six of the Christmas Cookie Challenge back in March 2022.

“I am a terrible secret keeper,” shared Hennington. “This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to keep to myself.”

Hennington finally let the cookie out of the bag on her social media platform.

“Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to compete on the Christmas Cookie Challenge on @foodnetwork … Y’all, I must have been really good this year! Am I dreaming?!?” she wrote on social media. “Santa has granted my wish, and I couldn’t be more excited, anxious, nervous, and just downright giddy ….”

Reed Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, and Eddie Jackson will host the sixth season of the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge. Five cookie makers will take on a challenge each episode, widdling it down to each week. One talented cookie maker will take home $10,000 and the title of “Christmas Cookie Champion.”

Hennington is tight-lipped on any details of the show. You’ll have to tune in to the Food Network Sunday, November 20, at 7 p.m. central to watch her episode. But when asked what she will spend the $10,000 on if she becomes Christmas Cookie Champion, “My credit card company will be mighty happy,” laughed Hennington.



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