I've always been a fan of cooking shows and competitions, but let me tell you, when it comes to those specialty holiday baking and decorating comps - I am downright OBSESSED.

Gingerbread Showdowns - Absolutely, but how do they manage to get these 7 story completely edible skyscraper communities to stand? I can't even get one of the pre-made ones to stick together with icing or glue.

Christmas Cookie Challenge - Incredible, even with the insanely obscure special must have ingredients they throw at them with seconds to spare.  Why yes, I just so happen to have a recipe that incorporates paprika and celery root into my snickerdoodles - how do they do it?

Holiday Baking Championship - My complete guilty pleasure...even when i've already watched the episode I find myself stopping whatever i'm doing to see if Shelia is going to pull off the drop lines on her masterpiece in time - she always does, too.

I've even created a tiny monster out of my daughter, who now asks for "kids cooking" when we're flipping through the channels - I can't help but smile and have confidence that at least i'm doing something right in my parenting.  Who knows, maybe she'll end up on one of the kids comps one day - I can dream, right?

Over the weekend I was doing some baking and found myself thinking "what would the judges say about these cookies?  Did I use enough salt?  Does it have the perfect crunch on the exterior yet a soft interior? Did my royal icing dry properly?"

I can't be the only one, right?  Please tell me I have fellow Hudson Valley holiday baking competition companions! Hands up bakers (if you're with me)!

If you aren't a big fan of watching the shows, but do love eating Christmas cookies, check out the list HERE of the area's top cookie picks!

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