Out of 400 recipes submitted a Langley woman’s was selected the winner of a Cranberries BC Culinary Contest for her cranberry walnut cheese ball.
Maryalice Wood, 71, was awarded “a year’s worth” of Craisins, and a harvest tour courtesy of Hopcott Farms in October for her winning recipe in a contest organized by the BC Cranberries Marketing Commission, the body that represents cranberry growers in the province.
“I actually saw the contest on a Black Press [Media] website… and so I entered,” the Willoughby resident recalled about first learning of the competition.
“And you were to make-up a recipe… using cranberries, either dried ones like Craisins, or fresh ones,” she explained.
There were several contest categories and Wood said she submitted a creation for each.
“I’m making recipes all the time,” she laughed. “I enjoy it.”
And Wood is no stranger to winning contests, in 2016 she won $10,000 for her cheese soufflé through a magazine recipe challenge.
“I’ve just always enjoyed cooking and baking; My husband says that’s how I nabbed him, really,” Wood laughed.
The mother of six calls cooking and baking a hobby and said she’s never had any formal training.
“I was one of 10 children and I really enjoyed cooking for lots of people,” she said, calling herself a registered nurse by “vocation.”
So what advice would Wood share with novice bakers?
“Just follow your instincts… and just experiment,” she said.
Maryalice’s cranberry walnut cheese ball recipe:
1 – 250 gram package cream cheese, softened
1 – tablespoon sugar or honey
1 – tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, divided
Place cream cheese, sugar, and vinegar in mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy. Add cranberries and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Beat slowly until well blended.Put cheese mixture onto plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
When ready to serve, put remaining chopped walnuts on a plate. Unwrap cheese ball and roll in walnuts to coat outside of ball. Serve with pear and apple slices or crackers of your choice. Serves 8.
Note: Alternatively, instead of making a ball, roll into walnut-size balls. Then coat each ball in remaining chopped walnuts, place on parchment covered tray, and refrigerate. Stick a toothpick in each ball and serve with fruit slices and/or crackers.