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Cooking up sweet treats in the Pahrump community

The 2019 annual Christmas Cookie and Candy Making Contest attracted a healthy field of contestants this holiday season with nearly two dozen entries of sweet treats being dropped off for judging in mid-November at the Pahrump Valley Times headquarters.

The top winner in the field of 23 entries for the Times’ high-competitive event was Pahrump resident Marshelle Rush, with her Pretzel Caramel Cookie Bars. Rush took home the top prize, a $50 gift card and the No. 1 title for 2019.

Rush said it had been a few years since she entered the contest and didn’t place in the top spots the last time she entered with the same treat. But she decided to give it another try this year.

Rush, who has lived in Pahrump for about 11 years, may have found her secret to success this time around.

“For some reason, I just felt like I should do it again; but this time, I got smarter, I brought it in fresh,” she said.

Rush said the last time around she made her treat a couple of days before bringing it in for judging.

Rush was the No. 1 pick by a panel of judges, which included some of the Times staff and individuals from area businesses such as Valley Electric Association, on Nov. 18. The Times office at 1570 E. Highway 372 was filled with plates full of treats before the judging got underway.

The treats were chosen based on appearance, availability of ingredients, ease of preparation, taste and shelf life.

This year brought out 23 entries, where 2018 brought out only 19.

The winners of the 2019 contest were notified on Nov. 19, and the recipes for all the top winners were printed in the Times Holiday and Entertainment Guide, an insert in the Nov. 27 edition of the Times print edition.

Rush was No. 1, with Donna Crooks coming in second with her Turtle Peanut Butter Cookies. Martha Pavlick came in third with her popcorn balls entry. Crooks received a $30 gift card and Pavlick got a $20 gift card for third place.

Crooks also won second in the Times’ 2018 Christmas Cookie and Candy Making Contest and received a $30 gift card. Crooks entered her Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies in 2018.

Employees of the Pahrump Valley Times and Las Vegas Review-Journal Inc., and their family members were not eligible to enter.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @MeehanLv

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