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Spouse of Georgia Power employee takes first place at Food Network’s Cookie Challenge

For the past seven years, ahead of the holiday season, the Food Network has gathered the best bakers from across the country to compete in the Christmas Cookie Challenge --- because there’s nothing like a sweet treat to put you in the holiday spirit! 

But this year’s competition was unique in the fact that all competitors were previous winners of the contest, including Nicole Silva, wife of Georgia Power Engineer, Kimani Silva. Nicole won the top prize during the Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2017 and was invited to compete in the recent ‘all-star’ season.

In the final episode of the latest season, the bakers were challenged to create a stadium at least two feet long made entirely of cookies and incorporate apple cider flavor into their masterpiece. Nicole rose to the occasion creating an Olympic inspired design featuring ‘reindeer games’ and took home bragging rights as the 2023 Christmas Cookie Challenge champion.

Nicole’s husband, Kimani Silva, describes all his wife’s desserts as amazing, but says his favorite treat is her cheesecake, which is available in over 30 flavors throughout the year at her bakery, Crumbles in Locust Grove, Georgia.

Even though most of us may not be professional bakers like Nicole, there’s still something special about spending time with loved ones in the kitchen during the holiday season. Whether you plan to whip up a batch of delicious gingerbread cookies or a sweet pecan pie for the entire family to enjoy, here are a few energy efficient baking tips to make the most of your time in the kitchen:

  • Bake intentionally – If you plan to bake multiple batches of sweet treats try to bake them back-to-back so you only preheat your oven once instead of powering it up multiple times. A little planning can go a long way in saving energy!
  • Don’t peek – Even though it may be tempting to open the oven door to check on your baked treats, resist the urge and keep the oven closed. Even quickly opening the oven door can let out hot air and drop the internal temperature by about 25 degrees.
  • Turn off your oven as soon as you’re done – It’s easy to get sidetracked once you pull your food out of the oven, but remember to hit that ‘off’ button as soon as the hot baking dish hits the counter.
  • Keep it clean – Buildup of grease and grime can prevent your oven from effectively heating leading to extended preheat times and even cause your food to bake unevenly. Cleaning your oven just once a month can make a world of difference.

For additional energy efficiency tips to help you save energy this winter, click here.