All the cookies were good. It took some debate - weighing the merits of taste and texture, holiday spirit and creativity - to come up with the top three of 2017.

The Lake Sun had several entrants into this year’s Holiday Cookie Contest. We thank everyone who participated and shared their recipes. All the cookies were good. It took some debate - weighing the merits of taste and texture, holiday spirit and creativity - to come up with the top three of 2017.

First place: Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Gay Craig of Camdenton is a repeat competitor in our contest and has made past appearances in our top three, winning second place in 2015 with her Chocolate Crinkles. This year, she has the honor of taking the top slot. Her chocolate kiss cookies was just about everything we could dream of in a Christmas cookies.

These cookies dazzled with holiday sparkle and creativity from the brightly-color nonpareils and chocolate kisses that gave them a look reminiscent of Christmas lights. But best of all was the first bite - deep chocolate flavor with a fudge-like texture. Mmmm. Let’s just say the whole plateful of cookies were gone in the wink of Santa’s eye.

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup sugar

2 T. vanilla extract

Chocolate Kiss candies

Mix first three ingredients well.

Cream the butter and mix in egg, sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Add in flour mixture and blend until well mixed.

Roll into balls and roll into 3/4 cup nonpareils. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees F 10 to 12 minutes.

Press chocolate kiss into cookie.

Makes 25 cookies.

Second place: White Chocolate Cranberry Chews

Anna Gebhardt of Camdenton came in with a strong second thanks to great flavor and texture combined with the spirited add-ins of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. These cookies would be great any time of year whether you’re keeping the jar full for grandkids or dishing them up at a bake sale fundraiser.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cup (7 oz.), Julienne Cooking & Baking Cranberries

1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

Third place: Christmas Dinner Cookies

The most unusual cookie we sampled earned the third place nod. From the kitchen of Jackie Newton (aka Sparky Da Clown) of Camdenton, these treats had a fruitcake quality with a similar texture along with dried cherries and fresh cranberries, but what really knocked our socks off was the bacon!

This cookie caused some of the most heated debate among our tasters - some being turned off by bacon in their dessert and some saying, bring home the bacon! Either way, we finally agreed that the creativity and holiday spirit had to make this one of our winners.

Fry up 1 pound of classic-cut bacon to a very crispy level.

2 sticks salted butter

2 T. maple syrup, plus more for drizzling on top

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 extra-large egg or 2 small/medium eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

6 strips crispy cooked bacon, plus more for topper

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 cup walnuts

1/2 firm, fresh cranberries, cut in half

Beat butter, sugars, syrup together until fluffy, add egg and continue to mix in. Add flour, baking soda and salt until dough is mixed well. I add the fruit and nuts directly to my dough with my mixer until all is mixed well. Crumple about 6 crisp bacon strips and add to the fruit and nut dough.

Put large tablespoons of dough about two inches apart (the maple syrup will attach the cookies together if they are too close) on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Press the dough balls to flatten just a little. Drizzle about a half-teaspoon of maple syrup over the flattened dough balls.

Place a quarter piece of crispy bacon on top and you can strategically place cranberry halves on top for a Christmas look! Bake at 350 degree F until fluffy golden brown and set in the middle. Enjoy these cookies that taste like Christmas dinner.