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Decisions, decisions...

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A food blogger's work is never done. For a group of Houston writers in particular, the search for the city's best chocolate chip cookie (last September's Cookie (C)rumble) led to an inevitable sequel: last weekend's Holiday Cookie (C)rumble. 'Tis the season for holiday cookies and it was our duty to find out who's serving up the best one in the city

As before, samples were taken from 15 of Houston's top restaurants and bakeries in order to crown the best holiday cookie in Houston. This competition had us dividing the varieties into groups including classic sugar, frosted, gingerbread and cookie sandwiches. Like last time, the judging panel, made up of professional food bloggers and chefs, took the job very seriously.

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Crave Cupcakes took top honors in the gingerbread category.

An Elvis Christmas station played as each cookie was given careful attention, with each of us evaluating its overall look, taste and texture. The aroma of warm gingerbread was a treat as we bit into smiling faces and frosted arms. It wasn't as easy as it sounds—each gingerbread man was distinct and unique in its own way. We pondered which spices were used and enjoyed each restaurant's take on the traditional holiday cookie.

As judging moved on to sugar and frosted varieties, our job became tougher. Snowmen, Christmas trees, ornaments with licorice strings—the cookies were delightfully decorated. However, opinions differed when it came to tasting. Whether it was crunchy versus soft, or sweet as opposed to subtle, everyone had their favorites.

Finally, score cards were tallied and results were in—some surprising and some expected. Listed below are the top three in each category, along with all of the fantastic restaurants and bakeries that participated. 

Here's how the cookie crumbled:

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Paulie's festive sugar cookies are a feast for the eyes and belly. 

Image: Megha Tejpal

Gingerbread Men

1. Crave Cupcakes

2. Michael's Cookie Jar

3. Moeller's

Sugar Cookies

1. Tudor House Cookies

2. Crave Cupcakes

3. Butter Sugar Bake

Sandwich Cookies

1. Last Course Gourmet

2. Rustika Cafe & Bakery (jam cookie)

3. Rustika Cafe & Bakery (pizette)

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Winner of most festive arrangement: every bakery who participated.

Image: Megha Tejpal

Petit Fours

1. Moeller's

2. Dessert Gallery

3. The Village Bakery

Grandma's Holiday Cookie

1. Ooh La La Dessert Boutique

2. Pondicheri

3. Michael's Cookie Jar

Participating restaurants and bakeries: Three Brothers Bakery, Dacapo's, Dessert Gallery, Michael's Cookie Jar, Moeller's, Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, Paulie's, Pondicheri, Red Dessert Dive, Rustika Cafe & Bakery, The Village Bakery, Sugar Butter Bake, Tudor House Cookies, Yalla Sweets, Last Course Gourmet

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