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Family recipe wins first place in cookie contest

The holiday season just wouldn’t be complete for Kristy Gildner and her family if she didn’t make pecan balls.

“It’s not an option not to make them every year. It’s non-negotiable in our house for the holidays,” she said.

The treasured family recipe captured first place in the Boulder City Review’s 2019 Christmas Cookie and Candy Contest.

“It’s my dad’s mom’s recipe — Noni’s recipe,” she said. “She made them every year when Dad was growing up and made them every year when I was growing up.”

Today, the Boulder City resident is passing on the tradition, making the pecan balls with her children, Parker, 6, and Dallas, 3.

“I like that the kids get to be in the kitchen with me,” she said. “Sundays are family days in the kitchen.”

Baking is a fundamental part of Gildner’s life. She said she made chocolate chip cookies or brownies every Friday after school when she was growing up. It’s a love she is passing along to her children.

“The kids like to make cookies, so we do that a lot,” she said.

It’s also a family tradition to make and decorate sugar cookies for friends and family the first week of December.

She said she is known among her friends for her baking and they constantly suggest she “open a place.” Gildner, however, insists her baking is just for fun.

Her love for baking is evident in the results. Last year, Gildner won first and third place in the paper’s contest with her turtle and hot chocolate cookies, respectively.

“I honestly didn’t expect it (to win),” she said. “I just like to do it; it’s a passion of mine.”

Despite her humble attitude, Gildner said she and her mother, Nancy Gildner, are already thinking about recipes to enter in next year’s contest.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Pecan Balls

1 cup butter softened

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 cup pecans, chopped

2 scant cups flour

Extra powdered sugar for rolling the cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and powdered sugar.

Mix in flour.

Mix in pecans.

Take 1 tablespoon dough and roll into balls and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 10-11 minutes (do not overbake) until light golden brown on the bottom.

Roll in powdered sugar once you take them out of the oven. Then let them cool on wax paper.

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