A delicious chocolate chip cookie with a hint of sea salt has won the Southern Living Showcase Home’s search for The Ultimate Southern Cookie. Recipes were submitted from all over Tennessee with cooking expert Miss Daisy King declaring the four finalists.  The winning entry was selected at a Southern Living Showcase Home’s sneak preview for the Social Media Club Nashville prior to opening of the tour on October 21.

Club members judged the four entries and selected Nashvillian Mary Carter’s delicious mix of chocolate, pecan and a smidge of sea salt as the winner of the newly released KitchenAid 7-quart mixer now being featured in the gourmet kitchen of the Southern Living Showcase Home built by Castle Homes.

Alan Looney, builder and host of the Southern Living Showcase Home, presents Mary Carter with her newly released KitchenAid 7-Quart Mixer with Jon Pugh, Williams-Sonoma’s Green Hills store, on hand. The showcase home kitchen features the mixer and other incredible Williams-Sonoma products.

Here is the event info, winning recipes and the other finalists’ delightful entries.

Capturing the charm and beauty of Southern Living magazine, the mid-state’s top interior designers have teamed with Castle Homes and LP Building Products in presenting the Southern Living Showcase Home with the latest ideas in home design, green innovation and new building products with Ronald McDonald House Nashville as the benefiting charity. The fully furnished home, located off Granny White Pike near Old Hickory Boulevard intersection, features two adorable kid’s rooms and is packed with clever ideas from new paint and wall treatments to kitchen and bath products as well as outdoor living and game room features. The premiere home tour is open Thursdays through Sundays until November 6 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. In advance, tickets are $10 at www.castlehomes.com or available at the gate for $14.00. Children 12 and under are free.

Ultimate Southern Cookie Winner: Southern Pecan Mixed Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt by Mary Carter, Nashville, TN

1/2  cup butter
1/2  cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon best quality vanilla
21/2 -3 cups self rising flour
1 cup best quality milk chocolate chunks, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup best quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. In mixer, combine butter, shortening and sugars until well blended.  Add eggs, salt, vanilla.  Mix until just blended. Stir in 1 cup flour.  Add another cup and combine by hand.  Stir in additional 1/2-1 cup flour until it is no longer sticky. It should be smooth like well-kneaded bread dough.  At this point, mix in 1 cup of each chocolate by hand. Using a number ten ice cream scoop, measure 12 heaping scoops onto an air bake pan.  Dot each with pecans, several of each type of chocolate chip and a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Be sure NOT to over bake.  Remove from oven when pecans turn golden, and cookie dough is still soft.  Cookies should be only slightly golden. Repeat. Yield 2 dozen.

Double Ginger Crackles by Airin Kemp, Brentwood, TN

10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2-3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer (a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand-held) on medium-high speed until well blended. Add the egg, molasses, and crystallized ginger; beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended. Pour the remaining 1/3 cup sugar into a shallow bowl. Using a 1-Tbs. cookie scoop, a small ice cream scoop, or two tablespoons, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat. Set the balls 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are puffed and the bottoms are lightly browned, 12 to 14 min. If you touch a cookie, it should feel dry on the surface but soft inside. The surface cracks will look a bit wet. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 5 min. and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. When cool, store in airtight containers.

Jack O’Lit-ern Pumpkin Chip Cookies created especially for the contest by Angela Fox, Franklin, TN

1 cup butter (2 sticks – no substitutes)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (15 ounce) canned pure pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Liqueur
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspooon salt
2 cups (12 ounce package) milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter until smooth. Slowly beat in the white and brown sugars, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mix in vanilla, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Liqueur, and pumpkin. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in quick oats. Slowly beat the flour/oats mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the milk chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate chips take away from the pumpkin flavoring) Scoop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Cranberry-Pecan Orange Cookies by Valarie Hooten, Culleoka, TN

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375*. Cream together the sugars and the butter.  Add the egg and orange juice.  Combine the flour, powder, soda and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Stir in the cranberries & pecans.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool.