Putting together our fifth annual holiday cookie contest proved to be a real numbers game. We received 262 wonderful submissions, including what appeared to be an entire classroom from Cambridge (Minn.) Middle School.

After careful sifting, we compiled a list of 22 recipes that made it into the testing phase. The 17 judges got busy baking and gathered, milk glasses in hand, around a table covered with cookies and began tasting and talking until we had selected a winner and five finalists.

Thanks to all who sent submissions, and remember: There are only 336 baking days until our next contest deadline.

<p class="contact">Rick Nelson &#149; <a href='mailto:rdnelson@startribune.com'>rdnelson@startribune.com</a>