home-chef-challenge

Home Chef winner shares her baking secrets

Feb. 13, 2012 at 5:28 PM ET

Courtesy of Aimee Shugarman /

Meet the latest winner of TODAY's Home Chef Challenge, Aimee Shugarman. This resourceful mom is known for her delicious treats, and now, you can make them too! Get Aimee's winning recipe for pumpkin cupcakes with maple and toffee frosting, and learn more about her below.

Age: 38

Hometown: Liberty Township, Ohio

How does it feel to win TODAY's Home Chef Challenge?

I'm so excited to win this challenge! It was fun getting emails from friends wondering if I knew that one of my recipes was being voted on! I never participated in something like this and I was thrilled just to be a part of it.

How long have you been cooking?

Having been married now for nearly 17 years, one of us has to be the cook in the family! Over the past five years I've really enjoyed exploring my culinary side and creating new recipes. I'm getting a reputation for being the mom that brings the homemade treats everywhere! In the last year I even started my own food blog so I could have a place to share some of my favorite recipes.

Share your favorite cooking tip

One of my favorite things to do is bake cookies. There is nothing more satisfying than having cookies fresh out of the oven, with the aroma spreading through the house to let guests think I've been slaving all day to make something special just for them. When I make the dough, I almost always double my recipes. I scoop balls of dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze the dough balls for about one hour. Then I put them in a freezer-safe container and label it with the type of dough and baking directions. When a guest comes to visit (or right before the kids get home from school), I can pull out a bag of cookie dough balls and bake some fresh cookies to serve warm out of the oven. Because I made them individually sized, I can pull out only as many as needed with no thawing necessary (just add a little extra bake time to the directions).

What's your ideal last meal?

I absolutely love seafood. Sadly, I am not nearly as talented as I would like to be in cooking a perfect seafood meal! My meal would include crab cakes, blackened salmon, wild rice, a big salad and of course a decadent chocolate dessert!

Are you up for the challenge? Enter your recipe here, and vote for next week's winner.

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