November 18, 2013 at 1:00 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food (competitions): Aunt Bev's Pillsbury Bake-Off cookies, and what are your food competition stories or recipes?

Aunt Bev's Pillsbury Bake-Off contenders, the On The Go Breakfast Cookie. (Maureen Tisdale / The Detroit News)

After entering the Pillsbury Bake-Off every year since 1976, my husbands Aunt Bev was finally selected to be in the final 100 this year. (You remember Aunt Bev shes the family baking expert Ive consulted for breakfast bar ideas for my husband.)

Anyway, last week, Aunt Bev went to Vegas for the big Pillsbury event. Alas, she didnt take home one of the big prizes; as she said, with her typically upbeat attitude, she tied for fourth, along with 96 others. But when my husband and I made and brought some of her cookies to day care and especially church as Jedi mind tricks to lure extra votes, back when she was in the online-voting phase they were such a hit Im planning to whip up another batch to share with my family Thanksgiving week.

Aunt Bev described her cookies, which mix healthy flax seed, craisins, nuts, oats and unsweetened coconut with two Pillsbury products (a requirement of the bake-off, a brilliant promotion if ever Ive heard one), as No dazzle, but plain Jane goodness! Let me just tell you, though, that curmudgeony fellow at church I mentioned in the cookbook giveaway last week who likes to bake? He loved them and asked for the recipe as soon as he tried them, as did several others at church.

Even my husband, who was sure he wouldnt like them based on the coconut involved, found them tasty (were still working on something slightly more healthy for his everyday bar, though; Aunt Bev did her best to cram nutrients in these for example, the walnuts and flax seed give them those essential omega 3 fatty acids but with the Pillsbury cookie dough and frosting in the mix, our quest for a daily bar lives on...). And Aunt Bev reported that her son-in-law, a firefighter, took them to work and 24 cookies were gone in 3 minutes.

Pillsbury isnt the only contest going, of course; one of Lets Talk Foods faithful readers/contributers, Cathy from Lansing, recently entered two recipes into the Martha White Muffin Mix Challenge, and our food writer Kate a former Pillsbury judge herself told me weve had lots of local contenders in contests.

Naturally, Id love to hear your stories and share Aunt Bevs recipe with you, as well. Bringing On the Go Breakfast Cookies to Thanksgiving definitely will be overkill you should see the crazy list of food we Tisdales are emailing around in the planning phase but I have a feeling there wont be any left, anyway.

Do you have any food competition recipes or memories, past or present, to share? Wed love to hear about them in the comments below the recipe. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but theyre easy to sign up for, and free. Over the next few days, Detroit News Food Editor Maureen Tisdale will respond to comments or questions. You also can follow her on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!

Aunt Bev's On the Go Breakfast Cookies

1 package Pillsbury Big Deluxe Refrigerated Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 16 oz (12 ct)

1/2 cup Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Coconut Pecan Frosting

1/2 cup Quick Oats

1/4 cup flax seeds

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons craisins

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

Open the package of cookies. Let set until you can mix in with the rest of the ingredients with the paddle attachment on your mixer. In the meantime, put the rest of the ingredients listed into the mixing bowl.

Just mix until incorporated on a low speed. Scoop out unto a Silpat lined (or a nonstick) cookie pan by heaping tablespoon (or a cookie scoop, if you have one). Leave an inch space between the cookies.

Bake in a 350 oven on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes, until theyre dry looking and just golden. Cool on rack. Makes 24 servings.

A few notes from Aunt Bev, in her words:

■You can bag them up by 2 or 3 & keep in freezer for a quick, everyday, out-the-door wholesome breakfast.

■They are tasty warm or cold.

■They do have to set on the pan about 1 minute before going to the rack to cool completely.

■ It took me less than 15 minutes to mix them up.